Ventriloquizing Hysteria: Fetishism, Trauma, and Sexual Difference

in Sensible Ecstasy

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780226349510
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226349466 | DOI:
Ventriloquizing Hysteria: Fetishism, Trauma, and Sexual Difference

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This chapter explains the later Middle Ages and the era's explicit association of the body and its mortality, fragility, and limitations with women and femininity. In the hagiographical and autohagiographical traditions that emerged out of the women's religious movement in the north and the Franciscan tradition in the south, women bore the weight, in and on their anguished bodies, of human mortality and of the hope for redemption. Because the body and its mortality are associated with women, men's (and women's) anxieties about disease, pain, and death are projected onto women's bodies. These bodies are the site of repressed desires and traumatic emotions although usually without lasting success. Irigaray, by maintaining the primacy of the association of the body with sexual difference, is in danger of facilitating just such a debilitating equation of sexual difference and woman with the body and death.

Keywords: mortality; autohagiographical traditions; Franciscan tradition; women; femininity

Chapter.  16371 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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