Anti-orpheus: Modern love and the myth of the artist /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Markus, David, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2016
Description:1 electronic resource (205 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Francoise Meltzer Committee members: Lauren Berlant; Maud Ellmann.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-10(E), Section: A.
Summary:This project examines how the myth of Orpheus has served as a focal point for the contestation of aesthetic and relational paradigms in late modernity. Klaus Theweleit and others have investigated Orpheus as the embodiment of an androcentric conception of artistic genius privileging isolation and ambition at the expense of love and companionship. I extend this analysis by investigating the traditional structure of the myth in relation to contemporary thinking about gender and intimacy. At the same time, I interrogate the work of a series of modern authors who have borrowed from and transformed aspects of the Orpheus narrative in an effort to "re-vision" the relationship between what Adrienne Rich terms "the energy of creation and the energy of relation."
Psychoanalytic theory figures in my project as a tool for both conceptualizing the hetero-masculine subject's conflict with intimacy and theorizing possibilities beyond normative attachment. I examine Freud's own indebtedness to the myth of Orpheus, discuss resonances between Orpheus and psychoanalytic conceptions of masculinity, and engage recent critical discourses on love in the work of Leo Bersani and Adam Phillips. I critique Kaja Silverman's positive appropriation of Freud's concept of the oceanic as well as her effort to envision a form of relationality based on the after-life reunion of Orpheus and Eurydice in Ovid's account of the myth. Drawing on Lacan's theories of love, I return emphasis to the scene of Orpheus's famous look back on the path out of Hades. Ultimately, I propose an "anti-Orphic" conception of relationality based on the relinquishment of narcissistic attachment and a commitment to what Nietzsche refers to as "patience...with what is strange."
These various matrices of thought help to guide my analyses of the three creative figures who are central to my project: Rainer Maria Rilke, H.D., and Tennessee Williams. A seemingly disparate group, these writers are connected not only by a pervasive interest in the myth of Orpheus, but by a deep concern with the obstructions posed by prevailing modes of hetero-masculinity to relational experience.