Introduction: Pandora's Legacy

Elissa Marder

in The Mother in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780823240555
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823240593 | DOI:
Introduction: Pandora's Legacy

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The first section of this chapter presents the main claims of the book regarding the uncanny, technological status of the maternal function, and describes the book's three parts: The chapters in Part I examine how the maternal function troubles Freud's meta-psychological accounts of the psyche; the chapters in Part II interrogate how the maternal function serves as an unacknowledged reference point for modern technologies of reproduction such as photography and the telephone; and the chapters in Part III explore how the maternal function becomes a productive literary figure. The second section of “Pandora's Legacy” is devoted to a reading of Hesiod's treatment of Pandora and, making use of scholarship by classicists Jean-Pierre Vernant, Nicole Loraux, and Froma Zeitlin, argues that Pandora, the first woman, who was made and not born, paradoxically establishes a “matrix” for the technological dimension underlying the concept of human birth, even though she is neither born from a mother nor can even be considered strictly human herself.

Keywords: Pandora; Elpis; Hesiod; prosthesis; birth; work; replicant; bios; human; anxiety

Chapter.  6493 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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