The Introduction lays out the key terms, organization, and methodology of the book. It details how Freud’s Jaw relies on psychoanalytic object relations theory—in particular theories on part-objects, attachment and dependency (anaclisis), mourning, melancholia, and fetishism. These psychoanalytic concepts are mobilized to probe the psychic life and death of human and nonhuman objects and to throw light upon how illness initiates processes of objectification. Each chapter focuses on a different type of object, which bears a relation to the psychoanalytic lost object: the prosthetic object, the “first object” (the breast), love objects, and reparative objects. Through its examination of autopathographies, including the author’s own autopathographic observations, the book fleshes out a “subjectivity of survival.” For Sigmund Freud survival entailed maintenance and adjustment of his oral prostheses; for Audre Lorde it was bound up with a politics of self-preservation; for Eve Sedgwick it was explicitly a reparative project. The chapter explains how cancer carries psychoanalytic meaning, confirming that death has always occupied the core of psychoanalysis as a tragic discourse.
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