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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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(p.137) Conclusion
Not Even Past

Dorothy Stringer

Fordham University Press

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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