By Lawrence Kramer
This elegantly written booklet is a daring try and reinterpret the character of sexual violence and to visualize the potential of overcoming it. Lawrence Kramer lines modern day sexual identities to their nineteenth-century assets, drawing at the tune, literature, and regarded the interval to teach how common identification either promotes and rationalizes violence opposed to women.To make his case, Kramer makes use of operatic lovedeaths, Beethoven's "Kreutzer Sonata" and the Tolstoy novella named after it; the writings of Walt Whitman and Alfred Lord Tennyson, psychoanalysis, and the good judgment of desires. In formal and casual reflections, he explores the self-contradictions of masculinity, the moving alignments of femininity, authority, and wish, and the interdependency of heterosexual- and homosexuality. whilst, he imagines choices that can permit gender to be free of the present procedure of polarities that unavoidably advertise sexual violence.Kramer's writing avoids the traditional gown of highbrow authority and strikes among track and literature in a mode that's either intimate and potent. He combines educated scholarship with candid own utterance and makes transparent what's at stake during this the most important debate. After the Lovedeath could have a profound effect on somebody drawn to new how one can take into consideration gender.
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Extra resources for After the Lovedeath: Sexual Violence and the Making of Culture
108 ― Aural Sex Music spellbindingly performed is the great medium of gender synergy. That is what Tolstoy hated and feared in music, and also what Tennyson and Whitman loved in it. "Under the influence of music," writes Tolstoy as Pozdnyshev, "it seems to me that I feel what I do not really feel, that I understand what I do not understand, that I can do what I cannot do . . Music carries me immediately and directly into the mental condition [of the man who] composed it. My soul merges with his and together with him I pass from one condition into another, but why this happens I don't know" (410-11).
And in this appearance, we (those addressed, the male spectators) find the illusion of a mastery without violence, without violation. In the awkwardness of the singer, her untidy hair, her self-conscious homeliness, we see—we almost hear—her eagerness to please. In the silence of the singer we hear—we almost see—the voice that would please us. Repository of the bliss she cannot keep, released from that open mouth, this voice-phallus is his who views it. He can even seem to grasp it, running his gaze up along the thyrsus of the conductor's baton that, doubling the painter's brush, is held by an anonymous masculine hand at, or into, the bottom left margin of the image.
But what is this famous center, the loss of which, dreaded or celebrated, is supposed to be a cardinal fact of our postmodern condition? One way to think of the center is as what Freud called the ego ideal, the imaginary person one wishes to be. The pleasure of self-esteem is the pleasure of fusion with this person. In Oedipal culture that fusion would coincide with the perfect unbroken articulation of gender polarity. By contrast the pleasure of gender synergy would consist in the practical everyday deconstruction of the ego ideal, its continual unveiling as a cluster of many, perhaps innumerable persons one wishes to be—sometimes.