By Barbara Weir Huber
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Extra resources for Transforming Psyche
Tiresias's response, "If he does not get to know himself," introduces the complicating factors of identity and self-knowledge. " Echo, "still a body, not a voice," falls in love with Narcissus, but he rejects her and will not allow himself to be touched by her: "Hands off, do not embrace me. " As a result, she grows thin, wastes, shrivels until "only ... '" The young man's prayer is granted by Rhamnusia [Nemesis]. " Authorially the poem warns: "What you are looking at is a shadow, a reflected image.
Repetition and Aesthetics In Western tradition, a process that is repetitive, like Echo's repeating of words, has little or no aesthetic value; yet repetition in the form of repeated images like that of Narcissus - an object - does. Thus, repetition has been employed to distinguish art from craft and thereby to establish a hierarchy of aesthetic values. In an essay that explores this double standard in aesthetic criticism, Judith Barry and Sandy Flitterman-Lewis quote Lucy Lippard. Although Lippard is discussing 34 Transforming Psyche the work of a particular woman artist, the observations she makes about repetition as process have a general validity.
Freudian theory, to explain the transfer of the adolescent male's affection to "the girls they love," at the same time encodes narcissism, an overvaluation of self, as a cultural norm. Linking this traumatic discovery occasioned in the male child to an examination of vision and difference in her book of the same name, Griselda Pollock explains how disavowal and fetishism are linked to anxiety and are acknowledged by the male child, but only by displacement to another object. As she sees it, this "form of fetishism, which involves not just displacement but fetishistic conversion, also takes the form of reshaping the whole of the female form into a fetish, a substitute for what appears to be lacking on the maternal body, the 4O Transforming Psyche phallus" (139).