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The article takes a curious but fascinating detour to the collection of classical art that adorned the walls of Freud's study, and arrives at Ingre's print of Oedipus and the Sphinx, iconographic proof of Freud's obsession with the Oedipus myth.Pollock challenges the centrality of this myth in psychoanalysis which only offers the feminine as a monstrous archaic potential.The idea was facilitated by an impetus to find a colony of Amazons in accordance with Spanish Queen Isabella's wishes; the concept has its genesis, however, in ancient constructions of the Other which situate the feminine and bizarre at the edges of the world.
Iliad 6.356) as a subversive critique not only of a war fought for a woman but of any war fought for any reason.
Gregory Staley's excellent contribution, "Beyond Glorious Ocean: Feminism, Myth and America," builds on Cixous' characterization of woman as "the dark continent" to consider the conceptualization of America as feminine.
This collection of fifteen essays plus one short piece of fiction combines both these intellectual enterprises in a unique and well-timed volume that presents feminist scholars from other disciplines alongside Classicists whose work has been informed by feminist theory.
The project takes its title from the "The Laugh of Medusa," the foundational 1975 essay by feminist poststructuralist Helene Cixous.
"Beyond Oedipus: Feminist Thought, Psychoanalysis, and Mythical Figurations of the Feminine" begins by considering how Cambridge ritual theorist Jane Harrison's reconfiguration of the feminine in classical mythology provided a new intellectual template for modernist novelist Virginia Wolff.
Pollock investigates Freud's analogies of historical periodization with the development of the human psyche, and Harrison's intervention in the construction of such periodization.Part IV, "Myth and Science" starts off with a fine essay by Duncan Kennedy, "Atoms, Individuals, and Myths," that draws parallels between the reductionism of sociobiology's claim that human behavior is a product of our genes, and the atomistic theories of Lucretius; both are examples of hierarchical thinking that can be challenged by feminism.Allison Sharrock continues along this line by exploring how Lucretius' De Rerum Naturae creates a tension between a scientific surface text -- hard and real -- and a feminine mythical subtext, which uses female personifications of abstractions.How can feminist historical revision deal with such exclusions?O'Gorman approaches this question by considering how historical narratives can use women as causes of war; the most obvious -- and arguably the most complicated -- example is that of Helen.The volume is divided into five sections in addition to a good introduction outlining the history of previous scholarship informing the project, a bibliography and general index.The first three essays, grouped under the title "Myth and Psychoanalysis," critique Freud's use of mythology in his theorization of ego formation.Antigone is central to post-Freudian psychoanalysis, particularly the conflict between Jacques Lacan and Luce Irigaray whose own rebellion against the patriarchal hegemony of psychoanalysis is a cornerstone of contemporary feminist theory.The section begins with Miriam Leonard ("Lacan, Irigaray, and Beyond: Antigones and the Politics of Psychoanalysis") who continues Pollock's musings on the possibilities that Antigone (rather than Oedipus) offers for psychoanalysis.The final piece in this triad by Genevieve Liveley ("Science Fictions and Cyber Myths: or Do Cyborgs Dream of Dolly the Sheep?") employs one of the most popular tools of recent feminist analysis.