On Sigmund Freud’s Ambivalent Attachments
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.
Fordham Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.