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Speaking of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mother: A Critique of Freud’s Notion of Identification

Soreanu, Raluca (2018) 'Speaking of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mother: A Critique of Freud’s Notion of Identification.' Studies in the Maternal, 10 (1). 1 - 22. ISSN 1759-0434

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In this paper, I discuss some blind spots in Freud’s conception of identification, starting from his 1910 text, Leonardo Da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood. By analysing the way Freud construes Leonardo’s mother, Caterina, we gain important insights into Freud’s oscillations between anatomical, symbolic and ontological considerations, when speaking of women and of identification. I show how Freud ‘oedipalises’ Leonardo’s story. Oedipus becomes central by assembling a pre-oedipal seductive mother; and by crafting a pre-oedipal and post-oedipal condition of fatherlessness. Drawing on Jessica Benjamin’s overinclusive view of development, I ask what we gain by reimagining Leonardo’s mother in terms of arriving at a non-oedipalised solution to the problems of sameness and difference – the inseparable facets of identification.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2019 16:29
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2019 17:15

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