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Androgeny and the Denial of Difference By Kari Weil

Androgeny and the Denial of Difference by Kari Weil

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Traces the history of the androgyne and provides close readings of relevant literary works. Weil analyzes the theories of Freud and Lacan, and suggests their conception of the androgyne to have been derived from, and to support, a masculine model of sexuality.

Androgeny and the Denial of Difference Summary

Androgeny and the Denial of Difference by Kari Weil

This book traces the long and complex history of the androgyne throughout Western aesthetics, philosophy, mythology and literature, from Plato to contemporary feminist theory, with particular attention given to the Romantic period. It notes that from the classical vision of the androgyne as a symbol of primordial totality and oneness created out of a union of opposed forces to Freud's theory of the libido, the figure has functioned as a conservative, even a misogynistic, ideal. Kari Weil shows that, rather than being a synthesis of male and female, the androgyne has been a construction of patriarchal ideology that has served to establish sexual, aesthetic and racial hierarchies. In close contextualised readings of literary works that centre round the figure of the androgyne, Weil explores the social and historical factors that enter into specific representations of this figure. Employing feminist and deconstructionist theories of textual and sexual differences, she examines the use of the androgyne in the works of such authors as Plato, Ovid, Schlegal, Woolf and, particularly, Balzac and Gautier, and illuminates the link between notions of androgeny and problems of language and representation. Weil also analyses the theories of Freud and Lacan, who used the figure of the androgyne to theorise about the nature and meaning of sexuality. She suggests that their theories were derived from, and supported, a masculine model of sexuality. In addition, the author stresses that language is always sexually marked in the masculine and that this prescribes notions of androgyny and, ultimately, notions of sexuality that repress or exclude women. By focusing on this repressed feminine, Weil displaces the androgynous paradigm of sexual opposition that has supported the creation and perpetuation of patriarchal hierarchies, revealing instead what she calls a figure of hermaphroditic difference. Weil aims to defamiliarise the myth of androgyny and, at the same time, breaks down boundaries between feminist and deconstructionist thought.

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Androgeny and the Denial of Difference by Kari Weil
Used - Good
University of Virginia Press
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

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