Friday, October 16, 2009


For she too was without pity, if not without mercy, in the end, for both Nietzsche and Freud, whom she knew and whose bodies of work she had read inside and out. Like no one else in this century, I dare say. She loved them pitilessly, and was implacable towards them (not to mention a few others) at the very moment when, giving them without mercy all that she could, and all that she had, she was inheriting from them and was keeping watch over what they had—what they still have—to tell us, especially regarding art and laughter.
- Jacques Derrida, The Work of Mourning

In the section of this volume titled “With Respect to Women,” she explores how Freud and Kant dealt with the “radical otherness of woman.” She mocks both thinkers, but she does so with an attentiveness that is anything but dismissive. She shows that Freud’s obsession with “penis envy” was a wobbly rock on which to construct a theory, but she also underscores the importance of his puzzled concern over the “difference” in woman, over her sexuality. In the end, she knows that the remedy offered women by psychoanalysis is also a poison: “The psychoanalytic solution restores speech to woman only the better to rob her of it, the better to subordinate it to that of the master.” michael roth from artforum jan/feb '08

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