The Ontogeny of Love

Sudhir Kakar and John Munder Ross

in Tales of Love, Sex, and Danger

Second edition

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780198072560
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199082124 | DOI:
The Ontogeny of Love

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The origins of erotic love can be traced back to the essential union of infant and mother. This chapter follows love’s evolution, meandering through sensuous detours to discover the beloved’s unfolding and often unexpected forms, the diversity betraying some basic unity or at least continuity in multiplicity. Psychoanalysts note the similarities in the infinite variety of vital pleasures with terms such as the ‘the primary object’, ‘libido’, and the ‘interdependence of representations of self and other’. Although these unifying drives, objects, and images have been with us all our lives, we continue to uncover or discover their power again and again, continually taking us by surprise. For the Russian-American writer Vladimir Nabokov, life is love that haunts our sensibilities from cradle to grave. Nabokov has given us a narrative and a body of words which make the ontogeny of love come to brilliant life. This chapter deals with the ontogeny of love, sexual passion, Oedipus complex, and incest, focusing on Nabokov's works Lolita, Speak Memory, and Ada.

Keywords: love; incest; Oedipus complex; Lolita; Ada; Speak Memory; erotic love; sexual passion

Chapter.  8018 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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