reviews DAVID GREVEN The ﬁ gure of the mother—her theoretical importance, even simply her human presence—has historically been suppressed in the ﬁ elds of philosophy and psychoanalysis. As a characteristic example, Lacan’s entire theory of our formation into individual subjects depends upon the rejection of the mother as we enter the “Father’s” Symbolic domain of language and law. Inhabiting a pre-verbal realm of bodies and sensations, the mother is rendered a materiality that must be transcended in order to acquire patriarchal personhood, a narrative repeated in psychoanalytic literature ranging from Freud to Lacan to Kristeva. For the most part, conscientious engagement with the role and the theoretical possibilities of the ﬁ gure of the mother have occurred in feminist theory, amplifying the silences about mothering in male intellectual endeavor. Andrew Parker’s bracing, engaging, lucid, often thrilling study The Theorist’s Mother redresses this theoretical, cultural, gendered, and emotional imbalance, putting the signiﬁ cance of the mother in the making of thought essential. His effort, as I will show, is valuable even though not fully successful; there is a way in which the mother gets lost even in Parker’s attempt to restore or at least illuminate her presence. But this book,
symploke – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Nov 28, 2018
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