From the Reign of the Undead to the Blessings of More Life

Eric L. Santner

in On the Psychotheology of Everyday Life

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780226734873
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226734897 | DOI:
From the Reign of the Undead to the Blessings of More Life

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In a brilliant essay, Harold Bloom situates Sigmund Freud's conception of love somewhere in the interstices of Greek, Judaic, and Roman culture. Bloom suggests that Freud's misunderstanding of the nature of authority in Judaism blinds him to the thought that Jewish monotheism in some fashion removes itself from the enigmatic seductions of sovereign power and authority. This chapter focuses on where to locate the specific intervention of psychoanalysis, whether in the form of clinical, therapeutic practice or of cultural critique: Does it belong on the side of investiture and the predicaments of legitimation, or does it belong on the side of a break with the culture of legitimation and its ultimately violent cycles of foundation, preservation, and augmentation (and if so, what might a life oriented by such a break look like)? The conceptual space of this inquiry can thus be thought to span the divide between the sciences of symbolic identity and an ethics of singularity.

Keywords: Harold Bloom; Sigmund Freud; love; Judaism; authority; sovereign power; psychoanalysis; legitimation; symbolic identity; ethics of singularity

Chapter.  8324 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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