An Essay in Defence of the Female Sex; In Which Are Inserted by Mary Astell, Judith, fl. Drake, A. Roper, E. Wilkinson, R.

By Mary Astell, Judith, fl. Drake, A. Roper, E. Wilkinson, R. Clavel

Identify: An Essay in Defence of the feminine intercourse. : during which Are Inserted the Characters of a Pedant, a Squire, a Beau, a Vertuoso, a Poetaster, a City-Critick,

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Extra resources for An Essay in Defence of the Female Sex; In Which Are Inserted the Characters of a Pedant, a Squire, a Beau, a Vertuoso, a Poetaster

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On the enigmatic level, envy carries not only destructiveness and hatred, but also longings, particularly those so often occluded in mother–daughter bodily love (Harris, 1997). Behind the envy, then, might hide women’s fear of sexual stimulation and desire—heterosexual desire when the object of envy is a penis, in Torok’s (1970) view, or homosexual desire when the object of envy is a woman or part of a woman (for example, her shoes). I envy Ella, and by recognizing my longing I hold not only my own desire, but also her dissociated pieces of longing for her mother’s body.

The infant’s mind then is invaded by the unconscious of the other, and those messages he receives are enigmatic. The enigmatic message, which according to Laplanche is packed with sexual significance, is in itself a seduction and a central part of the intersubjective dimension of communication, a mystifying implicit communication that is unconsciously transmitted from adult to child (Laplanche, 1992, 1995). Stein (1998a) has further elaborated how the enigmatic message generates the poignancy of sex and how the excessive takes us beyond representation into an experience of otherness and mystery, which are part of the origin of sexual experience.

Here I suggest that lust is a state of consciousness that integrates different levels of existence and experience, where the known physical body is the agent for the inaccessible unknown pieces, both in infancy and in adult sexual life. Since the body functions as the instrument by which all knowledge and information is received, our body and the mother’s body are meaningful aspects of the connection to that which we cannot grasp, the unreachable parts of the mother, ourselves, and the world. The mother’s body then serves as a container for the Enigmatic elements, and the early connection to the mother serves as a bridge to other levels of existence.

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