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Malone, K.R. (1996). Circulating Genders in The Narration of Desire: A Closet Lacanian Reading. Gender and Psychoanalysis, 1(4):509-513.

(1996). Gender and Psychoanalysis, 1(4):509-513

Circulating Genders in The Narration of Desire: A Closet Lacanian Reading Related Papers

Kareen Ror Malone, Ph.D.

With The Narration of Desire, one may judge a book by its cover. The title aptly describes Harriet Wrye and Judith Welles' careful mapping of two interrelated elements of the psychoanalytic process: narrativity and the generation of desire. The issue of gender—although the explicit subject of the book's last section, “Permutations and Transformations Related to Gender”—is less axiomatic than these two entitled considerations. Despite this, one could argue that this text, even in its seemingly unrelated thematic concerns, continually dialogues with contemporary discourses on gender. In such discourses, gender appears as a mark in the narrative flow, subverted and installed through its place within a given symbolic matrix. Put otherwise, gender evokes and constructs the body while eluding any absolute identification with its terms. This sort of conceptualization obviously implicates both narration and desire.

Although gender may be a performance grounded in narrativity, it is one in which fundamental issues of one's being and desire are at stake. Even those who push gender to its narrative limits realize the power of being gendered. Gender recalls an unanswerable intimacy between a body and its inscription, e.g., a moment of loss. Wrye and Welles locate their own explorations at this cusp where the (m) Other intervenes on the body to engender desire.

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