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Fishman, G.G. (1986). American Imago. XXXVIII, 1981: Milton's Paradise Lost: Eve's Struggle for Identity. Shari A. Zimmerman. Pp. 247-268.. Psychoanal Q., 55:195.

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Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago. XXXVIII, 1981: Milton's Paradise Lost: Eve's Struggle for Identity. Shari A. Zimmerman. Pp. 247-268.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:195

American Imago. XXXVIII, 1981: Milton's Paradise Lost: Eve's Struggle for Identity. Shari A. Zimmerman. Pp. 247-268.

George G. Fishman

This article begins: "For the last three centuries Milton's Eve has been viewed largely through a male lens which sees femininity as vain and seductive, as well as infantile and dependent." The author contends that this Eve is much more complex. Extensive selections from the poem are cited to suggest that Eve was engaged in a struggle for differentiation and selfhood which could only be achieved by simultaneously struggling toward a balance of being with Adam and being without him. After all, she has fusion literally foisted upon her. She is Adam's rib, a reflection of his self. Set against this merger is the option for finding her true self. It begins with a mirroring of her appearance in the water. This episode has been interpreted as evidence of Eve's vanity. Zimmerman offers a footnote to Lichtenstein and views it as a symbol of primary narcissism. She must find herself apart from Adam. She achieves this in her separate viewing of the world. The culmination is her enticement by Satan who is none other than a projection of her autonomous desires. Once she is committed to this path of finding herself, the serpent is an inevitability. The apple of knowledge affords the cognitive structuring for an independent external reality. Eve then feels the isolation of autonomy and superiority. She co-opts Adam's innocence in order to rejoin him. But the old form of merger is no longer possible between two individuated beings.


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Article Citation

Fishman, G.G. (1986). American Imago. XXXVIII, 1981. Psychoanal. Q., 55:195

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WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the subscriber to PEP Web and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form whatsoever.