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Schoenberg, E. (2001). Commentary on Discussions by Stack and Maroda of that Obscure Subject of Desire. Gender and Psychoanalysis, 6(1):97-106.

(2001). Gender and Psychoanalysis, 6(1):97-106

Commentary on Discussions by Stack and Maroda of that Obscure Subject of Desire Related Papers

Erica Schoenberg, Ph.D.

First, let me thank Jim Barron, Carolyn Stack, and Karen Maroda for turning their attention to That Obscure Subject of Desire. The book's project is to examine Freud's much overlooked paper, “The Psychogenesis of a Case of Homosexuality in a Woman” (1920), from the perspectives of both psychoanalytic and academic scholarship. Despite having been neglected until now, the case is of interest because it is unusual in ways that reveal fundamental aspects of Freud's attitudes toward the patient and her situation. For example, this is the only one of Freud's case studies in which the patient is denied a pseudonym. Further, her own words are totally excised from his account and the scanty original material he does include, a series of the patient's dreams, are derided as “false or hypocritical … intended to deceive” (Freud, 1920, cited in Lesser and Schoenberg 1999, p. 26). Freud's presentation suggests, therefore, that rather than primarily providing an opportunity to actually treat a valued patient, the case functioned more for him as a means to work out his theory of lesbian sexualtiy. My coeditor Ronnie Lesser and I thought it an excellent vehicle through which to examine the assumptions and biases central to psychoanalytic theorizing about lesbian sex. The probing of these attitudes by feminism, postmodernism, and queer theory has proved quite fruitful in illuminating its modernist, fin-de-19th-siêcle Victorian underpinnings from a postmodernist fin-de-20th-siêcle multicultural point of view.

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