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Maroda, K.J. (2001). Making it Real: The Quest for Identity in “Homosexual Women.”. Gender and Psychoanalysis, 6(1):75-84.

(2001). Gender and Psychoanalysis, 6(1):75-84

Book Review Essays: Lesser and Schoenberg, That Obscene Object of Desire

Making it Real: The Quest for Identity in “Homosexual Women.” Related Papers

Review by:
Karen J. Maroda, Ph.D.

That Obscure Object of Desire: Freud's Female Homosexual Revisited, Edited by Ronnie Lesser and Erica Schoenberg, 1999. New York: Routledge, $75.00

Ronnie Lesser and Erica Schoenberg's edited volume, That Obscure Object of Desire (1999), brings home the painful reality of societal rejection and the resultant struggle for identity from Freud's female homosexual to today's lesbian. Their book, which presents Freud's little-discussed “The Psychogenesis of a Case of Homosexuality in a Woman” (1920), followed by a series of interdisciplinary discussions of the work, may at first glance seem a bit excessive. Yes, this case has been neglected, Freud's views on female homosexuality being illustrated endlessly instead with the case of Dora (1905). Yet does this short and obscure case really deserve its own volume of discussion? Freud doesn't even bother to give his female homosexual patient a name. But this turns out to typify what makes this case interesting. Freud is clearly threatened by this strong, wealthy young woman and this undoubtedly plays no small part in his disrespectful presentation of her. At the heart of this case is Freud's inability to accept and affirm her homosexuality, and her courageous acts of rebellion in the name of carving out and preserving her own identity.

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