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Frosh, S. (2004). The Voice of the Dead: Commentary on Cornelia St. John's Paper. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 5(1):443-457.

(2004). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 5(1):443-457

The Voice of the Dead: Commentary on Cornelia St. John's Paper Related Papers

Stephen Frosh, Ph.D.

This commentary celebrates the evocativeness and acuity of Cornelia St. John's case study, while offering a slightly elaborated rereading. This rereading has a few major elements. First, the fragmentation of language enacted in the patient's stutter does indeed function as a “rupture” in the fabric of consciousness, but this is not as categorically gendered as St. John seems to suggest. Second the case study is framed by a melancholia that is both classical and contemporary in reflecting a state of “being in love with loss” that seems to be sweeping the culture. Third, in this particular case the melancholy is deeply abjected, having its origins in the overwhelming power of the mother's depression, a state that envelops the patient and also touches off fantasies of melancholic dissolution in his analyst. Finally, the relatively muted consideration of the patient's cultural “foreignness” is discussed.

“If I was at home lime that I would die… my heart would die… it felt heavy, sad and dark.”

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