From Animal Father to Animal Mother A Freudian Account of Animal Maternal Ethics Alison Suen In this paper, I investigate Freud's study of infantile zoophobias. According to Freud, in nearly all cases of infantile animal phobias, the feared animal functions as a father figure. The feared animal takes on the prohibitive role as the father substitute. The substitutability of the animal and the father is crucial for Freud, as it anchors his theory regarding the familial, social, and religious structure of a patriarchal society. In light of this standard animal-father substitution, Freud's biography of Leonardo da Vinci stands out as a provocative exception. In this psychoanalytic biography, Freud examines da Vinci's relationship with a vulture--only here the vulture is an androgynous creature that serves as a mother substitute. More significantly, unlike other accounts of infantile zoophobia, the vulture has an empowering rather than crippling effect on the infant da Vinci. With the story of the androgynous vulture, I argue that Freud's interpretation of da Vinci opens up a new way to understand our relationships with animals--a way that not even Freud himself anticipated. In short, I analyze the significance of this deviant case of animal obsession in Freud's
philoSOPHIA – State University of New York Press
Published: Dec 22, 2013
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