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The great, trans-diciplinary movements in the humanities of the last thirty or so years—the feminist, postcolonial, multicultural and queer movements, among others—have all used this strategy to Faulkner women sex institutional and intellectual advantage, and the sophistication of their knowledge, methods and analytic tools seems to increase without limit.

Scholarship also owes its ethical and political address to such negations of the individual and of society, and in particular, cultural theory needs to examine the relationship between experiences of violence and practices of representation. How can we tell about the end of telling? What can we say about the absences of what we know and who we are? In the following essay, I discuss psychoanalytic and psychoanalytically-derived theories that begin to grapple with this problem, but I also supplement this work in two ways.

I turn, on the one hand, to feminist and queer analyses of sexuality that will adjust psychoanalytic theories of trauma away from certain unstated tendencies towards normalization. Thus, in its examination of the limits of identity, the novel serves as a principle of articulation among disparate of identity, including sex, sexuality, race, and American national identity, in a synthesis that will be of interest to many areas of cultural studies. The repetition compulsion is of great interest because in no case is the experience repeated a pleasurable one, and in no case does the repetition lead to resolution, to re-membering experience such that it can be understood.

Regarding his case studies, Freud speculated that experiences of extreme anxiety and violent excitation overwhelmed the capacity of the psyche to assimilate them, a capacity that he understood to be physical in nature. The repetition compulsion, therefore, does not just challenge particular Faulkner women sex conclusions, but forces us to consider the possibility of a limit to psychic life itself, a boundary on what we can represent and understand of and to ourselves. Such stories compel others besides the compulsive repeater, and indeed it is the apparent exteriority of repetition to the individual psyche that renders it interesting.

We are much more impressed by cases where the subject appears to have a passiveexperience…in which he meets with a repetition of the same fatality. There is the case, for instance, of the woman who married three successive husbands each of whom fell ill soon afterwards and had to be nursed by her on their death-beds. The most moving picture of a fate such as this is given by Tasso in his romantic epic Gerusalemme Liberata.

Its hero, Tancred, unwittingly kills his beloved Clorinda…After her burial he makes his way into a strange magic forest…He slashes with his sword at a tall tree; but blood streams from the cut and the voice of Clorinda, whose soul is imprisoned in the tree, is heard complaining that he has wounded his beloved once again. Furthermore, in seamlessly uniting these clinical cases with the literary instance, Freud postulates the fundamental identity of this fascination with the process of reading literature.

Literature, in other words, does not describe but inscribes trauma. Insofar as academic literary study is definable as professional rereading, Caruth aims not merely to influence some sector of the profession, but to reframeall professional literary-scholarly activity in terms of psychoanalytic and historical s of trauma. From this point of view, reading and criticism, though based in deep knowledge, are also an encounter, at once ethical and epistemological, with that which we cannot describe or know.

In translation, too, incomprehension is repetitive, and irrecuperable loss of meaning coexists with the imperative to transmit and theorize. Trauma theory itself cannot simply be transferred to another milieu; it must be translated. The dream, therefore, bespoke both the necessity of awakening to put out the fire and the desire to sleep to speak once again to his lost child Faulkner women sex and first Freud, then Lacan, and finally Caruth, use it to examine the possibly traumatic nature of consciousness itself.

It had not departed, fallen, burned, awakened, or been otherwise impinged upon. Her discussions assume that the traumas of history are like the occupation of France, or the atomic bombing of Japan: singular, extreme, confined to a short period of time, and readily identifiable as radically destructive of moral norms and assumptions.

The violences of enslavement and racism in American literature and history were and are quotidian, peace-time practices, fully integrated with public and private morality. The excessive, unstoppable, compulsive repetitions of a trauma beyond ordinary experience are, in practice, reduced to the quotidian work of acceding to the psychic violence of castration. There is a certain sameness across Faulkner women sex of her readings. Such are the violences, as Hortense Spillers has elegantly written, of the slave regime, and of the increasing racism and racial violence against African-Americans that followed the end of Reconstruction.

In order for us to proceed, then, not only trauma studies, but the psychoanalytic method itself, and especially its reliance on Oedipality, have to be read as traumatized. These irregular moments, when psychoanalysis imagines a body crisscrossed with physical differences and power differentials that go beyond accepted psychoanalytic principles of intelligibility, have about them the air of a missed opportunity, or even of an institutionalized repression.

It is as if treating perceived and fantasized racial difference as potentially constitutive of psychic development would have been too threatening to the integrity of the psychoanalytic project—suggesting that this integrity was, after all, based on its unacknowledged racial whiteness, by which I mean the whiteness of both its analysts and objects of study. Temple Drake, the white, Southern anti- heroine ofSanctuary, negotiates a socially-approved, even socially mandated, sexual assault on her body through the figuration of racial and sexual difference, and specifically through manipulations of the highly particular, hyper-sexualized American racial denigration of African-Americans.

Faulkner carves out a paradoxical, anti-anatomical, unsustainable and atemporal position for a white woman as participant in, and subverter of, the racialized scene of heterosexuality.

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It is impossible, in other words, to make absence—the absence of meaning, the wounding absence in the body—go away. Though it might seem far removed from the scene of trauma—a figure of uncanny presence, rather than uncanny lack, taken from an expansive, rather than a self-limiting critical project—the lesbian phallus offers an elegant means for addressing the relationship between bodily difference and psychic trauma.

The phallus thus conceptualized is still arbitrarily masculine, but the formulation maintains the possibility that some other organ besides the penis can be uncomfortably excited, and Faulkner women sex further notes that the association of pain with pleasure maintains an ambivalence, rather than a sexist triumphalism, about the power of that organ to compel the psyche.

That ambivalence is tied to trauma; the repetitions of a pain or a wound come to be the same thing as the repeated blows to the sexual organ that invest the body with libido. The possessor of a lesbian phallus is on her own, both in the sense of having an unusual power of psychic self-determination, and in the sense of having no safety in the world.

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I was thinking about if I just was a boy and then I tried to make myself into one by thinking. You know how you do things like that. Like when you know one problem in class and when they came to that you look at him and think right hard, Call on me.

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Call on me. I actually did. The fantasy of gaining a penis, in other words, is opposed in affective substance as well as in form to the fantasy of castration. It comes out as ish fantasy of normal accomplishment. Temple describes staving off her continual anticipation of rape by imagining strategies for making a penis appear thinking hard, kissing her elbow, counting to a hundred, holding her breath, replacing it with a spiked chastity belt for some time. Though her imagined penis is not material, not an organ literally engorged with pain and thereby erotically invested, the continual doubt in which it exists is like enough to pain, for Temple and for the reader.

Not the transformation itself, but its deferred im possibility, is traumatic. The penis has become not merely the token of sexual difference on the body, but the body itself, and the trauma of sexual difference as bar to transformation of Faulkner women sex body, at once. Insofar as the lesbian phallus is a name for trauma, and insofar as the psychic structure of trauma repetition and irresolution is like the structure of academic literary criticism endless rereadingthe lesbian phallus is not an artificial or exterior concept to either Americanist literary study or to Freudian trauma, but in fact the principle of articulation between the two.

American literature and the Freudian text meet at the crisis-points of representations of sexual difference. I had iron-gray hair and spectacles and I was all big up here like women get. I had on a gray tailored suit, and I never could wear gray.

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Then I said That wont do. I ought to be a man. So I was an old man, with a long white beard, and then the little black man got littler and littler and I was saying Now. You see now. Then I thought about being a man and as soon as I thought it, it happened. It made a kind of plopping sound, like blowing a little rubber tube wrong-side outward Confronted with her actual attacker, Temple responds not with violent resistance, but with further fantasizing, apparently an almost total withdrawal into her own mind. Thus, the articulation of Freudian trauma with an American fictional theory of trauma is not merely a matter of fitting two complex analyses of sexuality together, but also entails the recognition of racial difference as an integral term of the analysis.

Psychotic, believing that she really has created herself a physically present penis, abjected and excited by pain, she seemingly failed to engineer any material change at all. She did not move. She began to say Ah-ah-ah-ah in an expiring voice, her body arching slowly backward as though faced by an exquisite torture.

When he touched her she sprang like a bow, hurling herself upon him, her mouth gaped and ugly like that of a dying fish as she writhed her loins against him. The innocent man, Goodwin—also white, also ironically named—is therefore sacrificed too, both metaphorically and literally, by being burned alive in a lynching. This corncob is darkened with her blood, and thus literally hers, literally created as part of her body at the same moment as it violates it, and at the same moment at which it is darkened, replacing her vagina even as the latter is both penetrated and wounded.

That which is used to rape Temple can only be called a phallus. And indeed, Temple has made this mistake, recognizing and reassembling herself in a spectacular phallus that can only fail her in the end. This means that any phallus, including a lesbian phallus, has a necessary, rather than an incidental connection to such a myth. The phallus will thus always operate as both veil and confession, a deflection from an erotogenicity that includes and exceeds the phallus, an exposure of a desire which attests to a morphological transgression and, hence, to the instability of the imaginary boundaries of sex.

Genders Main menu Home. Search Enter the terms you wish to search for. Other ways to search: Events Calendar Campus Map. Traumas of Race, Traumas to Theory [16] Both psychoanalysis generally and its theorizations of trauma in particular have specific engagements Faulkner women sex racial difference, which are themselves often entwined with the limit-cases of sexuality.

The end of the phallus? Works Cited Bataille, Georges. Theory of Religion. Robert Hurley. NY: Zone Books, Butler, Judith. NY: Routledge, Brooks, Cleanth. In Richard H. Brodhead, ed. Caruth, Cathy. Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, Derrida, Jacques. Alan Bass. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Dore, Faulkner women sex. Du Bois, W. The Souls of Black Folk. Norton Critical Edition, ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. NY: W. Faulkner, William.

NY: Vintage, Felman, Shoshana. Ithaca: Cornell, What Does a Woman Want? Reading and Sexual Difference. Felman, Shoshana, and Dori Laub. Fiedler, Leslie. Love and Death in the American Novel.

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NY: Stein and Day, Publishers, Freud, Sigmund. James Strachey. London: The Hogarth Press, Introduction Peter Gay. Norton and Co. In Freud, Standard Edition, vol. Beyond the Pleasure Principle. James Strachey, Introduction Peter Gay. Karl, Frederick. NY: Ballantine,

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Chapter 11 - The cage of gender