The Mother in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Psychoanalysis, Photography, Deconstruction

By Elissa Marder | Go to book overview

THREE
The Sexual Animal and the Primal Scene of Birth

THE WOLF MAN’S AFTERLIFE AND THE PRIMAL SCENE OF BIRTH

If the case history popularly referred to by the animal nickname of his most famous patient, “the Wolf Man,” remains Freud’s most notorious clinical case, it is in part because it has never been closed.1 On the contrary: not only has this case resolutely resisted all forms of closure (clinical, theoretical, textual), but “the Wolf Man” also continues to thrive in what can only be described as an unprecedented clinical and textual afterlife. Since Freud first prematurely declared his patient “cured” in 1914, Wolf Man has both been the object of numerous clinical and theoretical papers in psychoanalysis (by Freud himself as well as by numerous others) and provided influential material for work in a wide variety of disciplines other than psychoanalysis, including philosophy, literary theory, literary criticism, art history, and studies in gender and sexuality.2 In his many returns, Wolf Man has continued to spawn new clinical approaches to psychoanalysis, new

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