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Freud's Jaw and Other Lost ObjectsFractured Subjectivity in the Face of Cancer$
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Lana Lin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823277711

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823277711.001.0001

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Prosthetic Objects

Prosthetic Objects

On Sigmund Freud’s Ambivalent Attachments

Chapter:
(p.27) Chapter 1 Prosthetic Objects
Source:
Freud's Jaw and Other Lost Objects
Author(s):

Lana Lin

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823277711.003.0002

This chapter examines Freud’s ambivalent attachment to his prosthetic jaw, a result of his addiction to smoking. It argues that illness highlights the technological predicament in which humans as “prosthetic gods” are bound up. Exposing the contradiction between the promise of technology and its potential to fail, the prosthesis paradoxically represents both injury and reparation. The chapter provides a close reading of Freud’s medical case alongside his theories and relevant personal narrative. The uncanny repetitions of Freud’s prosthetic adjustment rhyme with the compulsive structure embedded in his theory of the death drives. The term “not-death” is proposed to describe the persistent entanglement of the life and death drives. Simultaneously creative and destructive, Freud’s inorganic and organic prosthetic dependencies mediate the ongoing contest that cancer perpetuates between life and death.

Keywords:   cancer, death drive, Freud, prosthesis, prosthetic gods, technology, uncanny

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