Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To access “The Standard Edition” of Freud’s work…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

You can directly access Strachey’s The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud through the Books tab on the left side of the PEP-Web screen.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Umphrey, M.M. (2007). Law's Bonds: Eros and Identification in Billy Budd. Am. Imago, 64(3):413-431.

(2007). American Imago, 64(3):413-431

Law's Bonds: Eros and Identification in Billy Budd

Martha Merrill Umphrey

This essay offers an interpretation of Herman Melville's novella, Billy Budd, Sailor (an inside narrative), that contests and supplements canonical accounts in legal theory emphasizing the relation between law and violence. Melville's narrative illustrates the ways in which subjects are bound even to an unjust law not only by fear but also by love. The judgment against and execution of Billy Budd, a signal enactment of legal violence, require the repression of powerful erotic bonds between Captain Vere and Billy; and Billy's execution is legitimated by the reassertion of those bonds via a chain of homoerotic identifications at the moment of his death. Melville's novella shows the relation between subjects and the law to be constituted and maintained by an ambivalent fusion of violence and love.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.