Dangerous Women, Deadly Words: Phallic Fantasy and Modernity in Three Japanese Writers

By Nina Cornyetz | Go to book overview

NOTES

Introduction
1.
Although I use the words author and writer, I do not ascribe to the notion of the author as a creator with full authority over his or her text. Not only is the meaning of the text historically and culturally particular, and produced in an interaction between the reader and the material text, but it is further divorced from authorial intent by virtue of the author's and readers' unconscious. Better phrases, but for their unwieldiness in actual usage, might be "author-function" or "writing-subject."
2.
After Gayle Rubin and Donna Haraway, I use ovarian to replace seminal. Thanks to Mark Driscoll for the suggestion.
3.
Following Jacques Lacan, I use the word Symbolic (capitalized) to refer to the realm of the subject that is differentiated through, and subordinated to, a system of symbols, or signifiers, that accrue significance only in relation to other signifiers. Developmentally, entry into the Symbolic realm is heralded by the emergence of language, taboo (incest prohibition), the repression of desire, and the perception of lack (the phallus). See Lacan, Four Fundamental Concepts. In directing critical attention toward the signifying process, Julia Kristeva valorized what she called "the semiotic," which replaces the Imaginary in the Lacanian structure. For Kristeva, entry into the Symbolic realm requires a partial repression of the semiotic (pre-Oedipal, symbiotic, primary process realm), which remains as a sort of pulsational pressure in language. "Poetic language," for Kristeva, is the polyglot language of the novel and tends to subvert the Symbolic (by signaling the plural nature of signification and the contradictions of the unconscious). Regarding Kristeva "poetic language," see her Revolution in Poetic Language and Desire in Language.
4.
Apparently the German philosophic tradition has a long history of intellectual interaction with East Asian philosophic inquiry. See Graham Parkes introduction to his translation of May Heidegger's Hidden Sources.
5.
Regarding the problematic assumptions inherent in the phrase "Western theory," see Sakai, "Return to the West." On the topic of what he calls "the culturalist scheme of questioning, which tends to reduce philosophical problems raised by Japanese or any foreign intellectuals to the matter of cultural difference" (238), he writes,

-235-

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