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Sullivan, M. (2012). An “Unthought Known” of Her Own: The Aesthetics of Interruption. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 13(2):106-111.

(2012). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 13(2):106-111

An “Unthought Known” of Her Own: The Aesthetics of Interruption

Moynagh Sullivan, Ph.D.

Although Baraitser (2009) investigates interruption as a condition of maternal subjectivity, this essay concerns itself with how maternal presence itself can interrupt aesthetic practice. Reading Baraitser with and through the work of the Northern Irish poet Medbh McGuckian, I interweave the aesthetic with the philosophical and psychoanalytical possibilities of taking “maternity as the norm” that Baraitser so suggestively explores (p. 10). McGuckian's poetry, I argue, answers Baraitser's question when she asks what kind of subjectivity emerges “when we live in close proximity” to a child and “are somehow responsible for them, too” (p. 11). Also calling upon the careful and enabling work of Christopher Bollas, this essay explores through the poetry how the “unthought known” or the “maternal aesthetic” described by Bollas as “the first if not the earliest human aesthetic” (Bollas, 1987, p. 32 can also be supplemented in light of Baraitser's evocative thesis.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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