Download Shelley's Goddess: Maternity, Language, Subjectivity by Barbara Charlesworth Gelpi PDF

By Barbara Charlesworth Gelpi

The topic of Gelpi's new ebook is the significance of the mother-infant dating in Percy Bysshe Shelly's poetry and lifestyles. even though, her booklet additionally makes use of Shelley as a touchstone in which to envision the wealthy historic and theoretical matters appropriate to motherhood within the Romantic interval. Gelpi bargains a close account of the old upward push in consciousness paid to mothering, the altering cultural attitudes in the direction of the function of the mum, and the ensuing impact at the nature of kinfolk lifestyles. She additional discusses the psychoanalytic, Marxist, and developmental ways to the mother/infant dating, quite to the relationship each one makes among that courting and the purchase of language. by way of combining psychoanalytic, poststructuralist and feminist concept with broad biographical fabric on Shelley and data at the place of moms in England after 1790, Gelpi bargains a tremendous reassessment of Shelley's avowed feminism and the failure of his utopian vision.

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Additional info for Shelley's Goddess: Maternity, Language, Subjectivity

Sample text

Vygotsky, therefore, posits that at its inception speech is "for others" and that Piaget's "egocentric speech" is actually a way station toward "speech for oneself," the quick interior verbalizations with which the adult thinks (235). Vygotsky reiterates again and again the complex and necessary association—though not identification—between all speech, including this "inner speech," and thought: "The relation of thought to word is not a thing but a process, a continual movement back and forth from thought to word and from word to thought.

The infancy narrative told by Daniel Stern, especially in its emphasis on synesthesia, more adequately captures Shelley's positive understanding of the link between the experience of being mothered and the acquisition of language than does the Freudian version. Both narratives, even though they differ in marked ways, are applicable to Shelley's own thinking because, while he shows at times an extraordinary prescience about Freudian concepts, he was speculating on these matters before the infant psyche had been mapped by Freud or infant behavior had been observed by developmentalists.

In the next section of this chapter I turn to a psychological description of the interactions between infants and their caretakers that might offer a material base on which to construct a different philosophical understanding of the speaking subject. And though Shelley's thinking in this area is mythic and poetic rather than rationally philosophical, the impulse behind Prometheus Unbound has a similar exploratory purpose. My analysis so far has given the word "abyss" as Shelley uses it in "On Life" a negative valence, but that "multistability" of language that Stephen Behrendt rightly finds so noticeable in Shelley's writings operates in this instance as well.

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