Missing the Breast
Gender, Fantasy, And the Body in the German Enlightenment
Using the tools of medicine, literary theory, psychology, psychoanalysis, and etymology, Richter probes the breast-related fantasies underlying German culture and literature in the second half of the eighteenth century. His study reveals that, whereas in England and France and in the public imagination generally, the breast has been associated with the feminine and with abundance, the inherent “logic of the breast” in German culture unexpectedly pushes the breast toward masculinity and lack. Richter’s tour de force of textual and cultural analysis brings together the work of important German poets, writers, and dramatists, as well as major psychoanalysts and their critics, and writers and artists of the English-speaking world, to explore the tension between the plenitude of the breast and the implications of its absence. His engaging study draws the reader ineluctably toward a revolutionary possibility: the breast as an “unruly and uncontainable signifier,” the equal and more of what Lacan called the phallus.
Missing the Breast will be an indispensable addition to the libraries of those interested in German textual studies, the history of sexuality, and theories of psychoanalysis. Its groundbreaking perspective will make a significant contribution to the fields of literary studies, gender studies, and women’s studies.
About the Author
"Sinuously pleasurable prose. . . . Richter's argument is plausible, thought-provoking, and intellectually stimulating. Missing the Breast will cause scholars to rethink gender and literature not only in the eighteenth-century central European tradition, but also in the West in general."—Monatshefte
"Richter convincingly brings insights from previous chapters to illuminate the dynamics and issues in these contemporary texts. Richter's writing is accessible and all quotations are in English..Recommended."—Choice
"A rich and complex book. [Richter] does nothing less than establish a ‘regime’ of the breast—-linguistic, symbolic, political, and cultural—-that stands over against, and potentially disrupts and destabilizes, what has come to be called (following Foucault and Lacan) the regime of the phallus. . . . Written with exquisite and admirable lucidity, [Missing the Breast is] a far cry from the typical dry scholarly approach."—Richard Gray, University of Washington
"This book is exciting, original, clearly written, meticulously argued, subtle, and a pleasure to read. It offers a new and exciting view of discourses of the breast that have been overlooked by previous scholarship."—Susan E. Gustafson, University of Rochester
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