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Not Even PastRace, Historical Trauma, and Subjectivity in Faulkner, Larsen, and Van Vechten$
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Dorothy Stringer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780823231478

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823231478.001.0001

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Conclusion

Conclusion

Chapter:
(p.137) Conclusion
Source:
Not Even Past
Author(s):

Dorothy Stringer

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823231478.003.0007

Fantasy's involvement with authority is, of course, the major concern of “A Child Is Being Beaten,” which traces both the content, and the rhetoric, of a common masturbatory fantasy among Freud's patients. The fantasizer is fully aware of, but removed from, a scene of violence, and seems initially to be unconcerned with the author of that violence. Beating fantasies thus represent nothing so simple as a direct, amoral identification with the exercise of mastery. Rather, they exploit the overlap between psychic investments and real-world power relationships, to the immediate end of autoerotic pleasure, but also for the long-range purpose of managing the fantasizers' own complex relationship to social power and power differentials. Trauma can never be appreciated or described at a distance, or in purely formal terms. Rather, it irrupts on thought as “enigmatic, traumatizing messages,” to which we must respond.

Keywords:   fantasy, masturbatory, Freud, trauma, fantasizer, power relationships, violence

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