Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To open articles without exiting the current webpage…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

To open articles without exiting your current search or webpage, press Ctrl + Left Mouse Button while hovering over the desired link. It will open in a new Tab in your internet browser.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Silver, C.B. (2007). Womb Envy: Loss and Grief of the Maternal Body. Psychoanal. Rev., 94(3):409-430.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Review, 94(3):409-430

Womb Envy: Loss and Grief of the Maternal Body

Catherine B. Silver, Ph.D.

At puberty a normal boy has already acquired a conscious knowledge of the vagina but what he fears in women is something uncanny, unfamiliar, and mysterious.

—Karen Horney, Dread of Women

Freud (1919) in The Uncanny discusses the uncertain boundaries between living and inanimate bodies, the figure of the double, involuntary repetition, the occult, and womb phantasies. An uncanny effect is produced when the distinction between imagination and reality is blurred, when things that we have hitherto regarded as imaginary appear before us in reality, or when a 1 symbol takes over the full functions of the thing it symbolizes. The womb as an uncanny Otherness, is a double—me and yet not me—within the self. We are attached to this double by an imagined umbilical cord where the death drive is at work through a lethal desire for fusion with the (m)other (Horney, 1923, p. 139). Using Kristeva's (1993) formulation, the womb as a form of “abjection” calls into question borders that threaten identity through the ambiguity and violence of rejection (negativity) from the (m)other s body (p. 219).

As I was reading for this essay about womb envy, I reflected upon my own life and my own body, questioning how it was that I ended up with an empty womb.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.