Contents Index

Is There a Woman in This Text?

Mary Jacobus

In Reading Woman: Essays in Feminist Criticism (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1986), 83-109

{[83]} Let me start with an anecdote. Readers of Stanley Fish's Is There a Text in This Class? The Authority of Interpretive Communities (1980) will recognize in my title an allusion to the anecdote which gives him his. It's also, appropriately enough, an interpreter's joke (though at whose expense is not immediately clear); and, since it involves the triangulation of two men and a woman, a joke that falls structurally into a category defined by Freud as at once seductive and aggressive. Seductive, because you'll recall that for Freud this is always the aim of the sexual joke directed at a woman; aggressive, because the presence of another man turns desire to hostility, enlisting the originally interfering third party as an ally. The function of this kind of joke is both to humiliate and to eliminate the woman, becoming a joke at the precise point when it is directed no longer at her but at the onlooker-turned-listener.1 Here, then, is Fish's anec-joke, which involves two male professors of differing critical persuasions and a female student whose theoretical innocence has already been violated by one of them:
On the first day of the new semester a colleague at Johns Hopkins University was approached by a student who, as it turned out, had just taken a course from me. She put to him what I think you would agree is a perfectly straightforward question: "Is there a text in this class?" Responding with a confidence so perfect that he was unaware of it (although in telling the story, he refers to this moment as "walking into the trap"), my colleague said, "Yes; it's the Norton Anthology of Literature, "whereupon the trap (set not by the student but by the infinite capacity of language for being appropriated) was sprung: "No, no," she said, "I mean in this class do we believe in poems and things, or is it just us?"2
{84} Despite the ritual allusion to language's infinite capacity for appropriation, it's not hard to see that the student here, rather than language, is being appropriated as two professors vie for possession of the untutored female mind. But the woman student -- described by the unnamed professor as "one of Fish's victims" -- is not simply the victim of Fishy doctrine (parodically rendered as the instability of the text and the unavailability of determinate meanings); she's also the fall doll who sets Fish's theoretical discourse in motion -- the idiot questioner disguised as dumb blonde. For one professor after another's ego, she voices a satisfyingly reductive version of Fish's critical position; but for Fish himself, she provides the opportunity to complicate it and finally cast it out in favor of a more finely tuned position (limited indeterminacy and a situational definition of meaning). By the end of the book the trap contains, not Fish's unwary colleague, still less the agile Fish, but the dumb blonde's misinterpretation.

If an anecdote tells us something the teller knows, a joke may reveal something he doesn't. Fish's anecdote tells us that he doesn't hold the absurd view ascribed to him by his opponents, that poems and things are "just us." But his joke tells us something else. Of the many constitutive meanings in this first-day-of-term encounter that Fish goes on to ponder, there is one he does not mention: the interpretive wrinkle introduced by the sexual triangle. Of course it could be argued that in most American universities, and especially at Johns Hopkins, such gender arrangements are the norm -- and so they are. But the overwhelming likelihood that in the interpretive community which concerns Fish -- the English department of a major university -- two professors at odds about critical theory will be male, and the student female, doesn't quite account for the effect. One has only to substitute a male "victim" for laughter to turn to pedagogic exasperation (can't students get anything right?). Lurking behind Fish's bonhomous opening gambit is a tinge of gender harassment -- not institutional but structural. There's no reason to think Fish himself anything but well disposed toward women students, or indeed feminist criticism, though one might justifiably take him to task for ignoring gender as a constitutive element in the interpretive community, {85} especially in the light of current feminist concern with the woman reader. Rather, we glimpse here a paradigm commonly found when professors anxiously rebut their critics or covertly compete with one another. One might speculate that the function of the female "victim" in scenarios of this kind is to provide the mute sacrifice on which theory itself may be rounded; the woman is silenced so that the theorist can make the truth come out of her mouth. Freud himself, in similar circumstances, rebuts doubts thrown on his professional competence and on the rightness of his theories with his "Dream of Irma's Injection," obliging a recalcitrant young patient to swallow the interpreter's "solution" which she has resisted in real life. If (as the dream enabled him triumphantly to prove) "when the work of interpretation has been completed, we perceive that a dream is the fulfilment of a wish," then Freud not only exonerates himself as physician and as analyst, but enacts a satisfying revenge on resistant patient and skeptical colleagues alike.3 The sickly Irma has violence done to her body -- in particular, to her remarkable oral cavity -- in order that Freud's solution to the secret of dreams may be swallowed by his readers. One might say that the wish fulfilled by this dream is that dreams should be the fulfillment of wishes.

Like Fish's anec-joke, Freud's dream can be misread as an example of the role frequently played by women in a theoretical context. It's no part of my purpose to indict "theory" as such -- on the contrary; still less to imply, as some feminist critics have tended to do, that theory is of itself "male," a dangerous abstraction which denies the specificity of female experience and serves chiefly to promote men in the academy. Instead, I want to offer some thoughts about the relation between women and theory -- about the deflection of gender harassment (aggression against the class of women) or sexual harassment (aggression against the bodies of women) onto the "body" of the text. The result might be called textual harassment, the specular appropriation of woman, or even her elimination altogether. It's not just that women figure conveniently as mirrors for acts of narcissistic self-completion on the part of some male theorists, or that the shutting up of a female "victim" can open theoretical discourse. It's also a matter of the {86} adversarial relation between rival theorists which often seems to underlie a triangle such as the one in Fish's anecdote. This triangle characteristically invokes its third (female) term only in the interests of the original rivalry and works finally to get rid of the woman, leaving theorist and theorist face to face. My first extended example of the textual relation between a woman and a theory will be Delusions and Dreams in Jensen's Gradiva (1907), Freud's reading of a fin-de-siècle novella. Painstaking yet wishful, Freud's practice is a reminder that the word theory comes from the Greek verb to look on, view, or contemplate, and that self-regard can never be far away in such a context. My second example will center on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), and especially on Frankenstein's uncreation of his female monster, while drawing on a theoretical debate which similarly has as its focus the elimination of the woman. Finally, I'll return briefly to another way of asking the question "Is there a woman in this text?" in order to relocate it within current feminist critical theory -- putting the question back where it belongs for feminist critics themselves.

Gradiva Rediviva

Then thou our fancy of itself bereaving,
Dost make us Marble with too much conceaving . . .
-- Milton, "On Shakespear"
Recognizing the violence done by Freud to the literary text in the interests of analytical "truth," Sarah Kofman writes in Quatre romans analytiques (1973) of the impossibility of analytic interpretation without countertransference; "the unconscious of the analysis, like that of everyone, can never be eliminated."4 What form does this countertransference take in the case of Freud's analysis of Jensen's "Pompeian phantasy," Gradiva (1903)? Freud himself was bound to read it in the light of his own theories, but did he also read his theories into it?5 As it happens, he was himself alert to the possibility of having found in Jensen's "phantasy" only what he wanted to find: "Is it not rather we who have slipped into this charming poetic story a {87} secret meaning very far from its author's intentions?" (SE 9:43). If so, then he is implicated in the same delusional structure as Jensen's archeologist hero -- guilty of "introducing into an innocent work of art purposes of which its creator had no notion," and demonstrating "once more how easy it is to find what one is looking for" (SE 9:91).6 Constructing an elaborate theory on the basis of his delusion, the young archeologist not only finds what he's looking for, but -- and this is his chief value for Freud -- reveals the artist-neurotic within the scientific scholar. In this sense (like Gradiva's own therapeutic dealings with the deluded hero), Freud's treatment of the novella might be said to take up the same "ground" as the delusion itself. For Kofman, in fact, the hero's "cure" at the hands of Gradiva parallels Freud's cure of the text -- a cure whereby literature is ultimately consigned to the status of delusion, becoming a mere device "for catching the carp truth: that of the literary text which must confirm that of psychoanalysis."7 Against his own better practice, Kofman argues, Freud is forced to align himself with the metaphysics of 1ogocentricity -- with "truth" as opposed to "fiction." But perhaps there is another way of looking at the analytical countertransference at work in Delusions and Dreams. Freud's reading of Jensen's "phantasy" proceeds by means of a series of important but unstated parallels between the role of Gradiva herself and that of the literary text; between the relation of a marble image to a living woman or of "fiction" to real life. Above all, the doubling of Gradiva and the text bears on another unstated parallel, between "woman" and "theory."

One might start by asking what are the resemblances between Norbert Hanold, the young archeologist, and Freud himself. Jensen's hero is at once a "scientist" and a fantasist; his archeological obsession provides the basis for a delusion at odds with rational judgment and empirical realities, so that the original instrument of repression (archeology, or "science" itself) becomes the vehicle for the return of the repressed. Defending himself against Eros, or life, Hanold becomes preoccupied with an ancient bas-relief of a young girl whom he identifies as being of Hellenic origin and names "Gradiva" or "the girl who steps along" (after the war god Mars Gradivus, "striding into battle"), an allusion to her distinctive lift of the {88} foot (figure 1!!!).8 Norbert Hanold, we're told, "took no interest in living women; the science of which he was the servant had taken that interest away from him and displaced it on to women of marble or bronze" (SE 9:45-46). His fixation on a buried past and his unconscious mourning for the lost erotic possibilities of the present are vividly symbolized by a dream of Gradiva's transformation from a living woman, stepping along with her characteristic gait, into a recumbent marble form buried by the ashes of Vesuvius. Freud's own relation to his "science" has something in common with Hanold's. "The author of The Interpretation of Dreams," he writes, "has ventured, in the face of the reproaches of strict science, to become a partisan of antiquity and superstition" (SE 9:7). Whereas "strict science" explains dreaming as a purely physiological process, the imaginative writer sides with the ancients, with the superstitious public, and with Freud himself to recognize "a whole host of things between heaven and earth of which our philosophy has not yet let us dream" (SE 9:8). The ghost of Hamlet's murdered father becomes evidence for the uncanny power of the repressed -- the unconscious itself with its challenge to a materialist outlook. For Freud too "science" becomes at once the instrument of repression and the means by which it is overcome. What returns is "life," or "Zoë" -- the Greek name given by Jensen to his flesh-and-blood Gradiva; for the sculpted girl has a living double. Like the young archeologist, who "had surrendered his interest in life in exchange for an interest in the remains of classical antiquity and who was now brought back to real life by a roundabout path which was strange but perfectly logical" (SE 9:10), a physiologically based science is revivified by what might be called the buried life of the mind.

Hence Freud's identification with his hero's growing impatience at a science unable to carry him back into the buried past of Pompeii: "What (science) taught was a lifeless, archeological way of looking at things, and what came from its mouth was a dead, philological language" (SE 9:16). Like the real life Zoë's father, Hanold has been something of an "archaeopteryx" -- a "compromise idea," Freud suggests, by which Zoë wittily satirizes both her father and her oblivious lover, identifying them with "the bird-like monstrosity which be- {90} longs to the archeology of zoology" (SE 9:33). Zoë's father, whom we see in hot pursuit of the lizard faraglionensis among the ruins of Pompeii, has preferred the taxonomy of zoology to life itself; both he and Hanold, until now, have been "absorbed by science and held apart by it from life and from Zoë" (SE 9:33). In a comically deluded moment, Hanold addresses the unlooked-for noontide apparition of Gradiva in Greek and Latin, forgetting, as he has done all along, that she is "a German girl of flesh and blood" (SE 9:18); what comes from the mouth of science is a dead philological language. Ostensibly, the incident shows that "his science was now completely in the service of his imagination" (SE 9:18). But it also raises a problem which Freud too must address in appropriate words. No less than Zoë's father, he runs the risk of becoming a taxonomist of life or, like Norbert Hanold, a strict scientist locked into a deadening technical vocabulary. As he embarks on the second, analytic phase of his reading of Jensen's novella in the light of his theories of dreams, neurosis, and therapy, we find Freud anxious to "repeat" or "reproduce" it "in correct psychological technical terms," "with the technical terminology of our science" (SE 9:47, 44). Yet he is dissatisfied with the taxonomy of mental illness available to him -- "erotomania," "fetishism," "dégeneré," and the like -- because "all such systems of nomenclature and classification of the different kinds of delusion . . . have something precarious and barren about them" (SE 9:45). The "strict psychiatrist" who would investigate Hanold's delusion in terms of heredity and degeneracy must give way to the student of the imagination, allied to artist and neurotic, and ultimately to Zoë herself since her wooing of the young archeologist from his delusion is the model for Freud's own wooing of science.

If the story of Norbert Hanold's awakening to life and love provides Freud with an analogy for the awakening of "strict psychiatry" to the existence of the unconscious, Delusions and Dreams also reveals a submerged concern with what might be called questions of mimesis; that is, with the relation between art object and observed life, the fidelity of literature to psychic laws and processes, and the status of the imagination itself in relation to Freudian theory. The central donnée of Jen- {91} sen's "Pompeian phantasy" is "the far-reaching resemblance between the sculpture and the live girl" (SE 9:42), the improbable "premiss that Zoë was in every detail a duplicate of the relief" (SE 9:70), the coincidence of there existing in antiquity a bas-relief which perfectly represents the appearance, and especially the characteristic walk, of a young girl of fin-de-siècle Germany. Another donnée, equally unlikely, is that Zoë's family name, "Bertgang," might readily suggest translation as "Gradiva"; fantastically, Freud allows himself to speculate that Zoë's family may be of ancient descent, having earned their name from their womenfolk's distinctive way of walking (SE 9:42). The peculiarity here doesn't lie in the fact of Hanold's repressed erotic feelings for his forgotten childhood playmate (for that is what she turns out to be) having settled unknowingly on her marble likeness. Rather, it lies in the uncanny priority of the representation over what it represents. This peculiarity exactly parallels the priority of Freudian theory over the literary text. As Gradiva is to Zoë, so theory is to Jensen's novella. At first sight, Freud had seemed to be arguing for the priority of literary insight over that of "science"; as he poses it initially, the question is not whether "this imaginative representation of the genesis of a delusion can hold its own before the judgment of science," since instead "it is science that cannot hold its own before the achievement of the author" (SE 9:53). But by an unexpected sleight of hand, Freud ceases to emphasize the secondary status of science, instead asserting that his own prior views support all that Jensen has written: "Does our author stand alone, then, in the face of united science? No, that is not the case (if, that is, I may count my own works as part of science), since for a number of years . . . I myself have supported all the views that I have here extracted from Jensen's Gradiva and stated in technical terms" (SE 9:53). This is the payoff for Freud's cautious but stealthily appropriative reading of Jensen's novella. Just as the marble bas-relief can figure in Jensen's "phantasy" without seeming fantastic -- indeed, seeming rather to authenticate it, since such a bas-relief actually existed -- so Freudian theory, granted independent existence, authenticates Jensen's literary insight, becoming the model for both art and life.

{92} The resemblance of a marble bas-relief to a living girl is the single unexplained and inexplicable "premiss" on which Jensen's novella and Freud's interpretation both depend. The double (Gradiva/Zoë) is also crucial to the way in which Delusions and Dreams poses the relation between theory and literary text, and in particular the relation between desire and the uncanny. Like Hanold, who sees in the sculpted figure "something 'of today'. . . as though the artist had had a glimpse in the street and captured it 'from the life'"(SE 9:11), Freud goes through the motions of testing Jensen's "phantasy" against empirical observation. Hanold takes to studying the feet of women in the street as a "scientific task," trying to discover whether Gradiva's gait has been rendered by the artist "in a life-like manner"; desire masks itself as "an ostensibly scientific problem which called for a solution" (SE 9:11-12). The increasingly bodily nature of his curiosity surfaces later, when he encounters the supposed ghost of Gradiva (actually Zoë) among the ruins of Pompeii. He longs to know "would one feel anything if one touched her hand?" (SE 9:23) and seizes an opportunity to slap it (a piece of erotic aggression not lost on Freud). The question asked by the young archeologist at this point doubles exactly with the reader's, who as yet has no means of knowing from Jensen's narrative that a flesh-and-blood Zoë exists. In the second part of his analysis Freud takes a similar tack. Is Jensen's story indeed only a "phantasy" (like Hanold's delusion) which renounces the portrayal of reality? Can his account of the construction of a delusion be verified from other sources? Does it lie within the bounds of possibility, like the sculptor's depiction of Gradiva's foot? (SE 9:41, 80). Ostensibly, Freud's answer is to assert its mimetic accuracy -- Jensen's novella is "so faithfully copied from reality that we should not object if Gradiva were described not as a phantasy but as a psychiatric study" (SE 9:41). Yet it is important to remember the earlier moment in Freud's account when the apparition of Gradiva amidst the ruins of Pompeii produces an experience of confusion and uncertainty, not only for Hanold but for the reader, forcing the conclusion that she is either "a hallucination or a midday ghost" (SE 9: 17). The unexpected discovery that -- whether rediviva or not -- she is corporeally present introduces {93} the element of the uncanny, literally marking the return of the repressed. In his retelling of the story, Freud halts us here. The pause is significant, for both Gradiva and the text are alike in being uncanny, not because they are dead but because they are alive -- living embodiments of desire. In Jensen's and Freud's texts, then, the uncanny moment occurs when what is supposed dead (Gradiva or science) comes to life again as "Zoë" or "theory."

While seeming to test Jensen's "phantasy" against reality, Freud ends by suggesting that what is uncanny about his science of the mind (as about the unconscious) is that it is something we have always known but have forgotten, just as Hanold has forgotten his childhood playmate. Ostensibly, theory turns out to be life itself. But in the context of Gradiva's apparition in the streets of Pompeii, Freud has earlier asked whether the author intends to leave us in a world "governed by the laws of science" or to transport us into an imaginary one (SE 9: 17). Though he asserts that Jensen's story obeys the laws of science, these laws have a curious provenance. Like the resemblance of Gradiva and Zoë, the coincidence of Hanold's meeting with Gradiva in Pompeii, the very place to which he has fled in his unconscious avoidance of Eros, is represented as an illustration of "the fatal truth that has laid it down that flight is precisely an instrument that delivers one over to what one is fleeing from" (SE 9:42). As for the transporting of Zoë herself from Germany to Pompeii, this is merely an instance of the author guiding his characters "towards a happy destiny, in spite of all the laws of necessity" (SE 9:69); part, as it were, of the dream -- and we know that Freud has throughout derived his "rules . . . for the solution of dreams" from his own Interpretation of Dreams (SE 9:57). Not only is there no such thing as chance, but "the laws of science" or mental life turn out to be uniquely authorized. Freud's complicity in the authorial manipulations of Jensen's text bears on an otherwise unrelated moment when he intrudes his own experience into the narrative. Recalling the uncanny resemblance between a dead woman and her sister, whose unexpected appearance in his consulting room momentarily convinced him "that the dead can come back to life" (SE 9:71), Freud not only implicates himself in the {94} delusional structure; he reveals his own residual belief in the omnipotence of thought. Having considered himself responsible for the woman's death, he sees in her apparent restoration to life a restoration of his infallibility as a doctor. The revenant doubles as his own lost ideal. Commenting on Freud's account of the narcissistic "essence of woman" who must fully correspond to male desire, Sarah Kofman writes that "men's fascination with this eternal feminine is nothing but fascination with their own double, and the feeling of uncanniness, Unheimlichkeit, that men experience is the same as what one feels in the face of any double, any ghost, in the face of the abrupt reappearance of what one thought had been overcome or lost forever."9 If Freud's experience of the uncanny in his consulting room was nothing less than a pang of gratified narcissism, then the sighting of Gradiva by the deluded Hanold, by the confused reader, and by Freud himself becomes the magical moment when the fantasists of archeology, literature, and psychoanalysis confront themselves restored to wholeness.

It is surely in this moment that we can identify the countertransferential aspect of Delusions and Dreams. Like the doll Olympia in Hoffmann's "The Sandman," who replies only "Ach, Ach" to all that Nathanael proposes, the sculptured Gradiva had been a love object posing none of the risks of forbidden or potentially castrating sexuality.10 But is the live Zoë finally very different? For all his emphasis on the accuracy of the copy -- whether Gradiva's of Zoë or Jensen's of life -- Freud implies that mimetic representation inevitably involves distortion or lack. Substituting Zoë for Gradiva, Hanold replaces his delusion "by the thing of which it could only have been a distorted and inadequate copy" (SE 9:37). Similarly, "dream-images have to be regarded as something distorted," a mere copy of the dream thoughts they (mis)"represent" (SE 9:59). The work of interpretation, then, seems to involve correcting the distortion and restoring dream thoughts to an imaginary wholeness. Despite his reductive statement that interpreting a dream (or, by analogy, a literary text) involves translating "manifest content" into "latent dream-thoughts" (SE 9:59), Freud seems actually to be proposing something more like the effect of the revenant's apparition in his consulting room. Both {95} delusion and theory become a desired supplement to the empirically observed world of the "strict psychiatrist." That Zoë herself, no less than Gradiva, is made in the image of Hanold's, Jensen's, and Freud's own desire emerges most clearly from the charming concluding scene of the "Pompeian phantasy." In a moment which Freud takes evident pleasure in rehearsing, Norbert Hanold asks Zoë Bertgang to step back once more into his dream of Gradiva and reenact for him the distinctive lift of the foot on which his delusion has centered:

The delusion had now been conquered by a beautiful reality; but before the two lovers left Pompeii it was still to be honoured once again. When they reached the Herculenean Gate, where, at the entrance to the Via Consolare, the street is crossed by some ancient stepping-stones, Norbert Hanold paused and asked the girl to go ahead of him. She understood him "and, pulling up her dress a little with her left hand, Zoë Bertgang, Gradiva rediviva, walked past, held in his eyes, which seemed to gaze as though in a dream; so, with her quietly tripping gait, she stepped through the sunlight over the stepping-stones to the other side of the street." (SE 9:39-40)
"With the triumph of love," Freud concludes, "what was beautiful and precious in the delusion found recognition as well" (SE 9:40). This, unmistakably, is the Pygmalion story, in which the coming to life of the ideal beloved, modeled on the lover's desire, figures the artist's narcissistic relation to his Galatea-like creation. Nathanael's Olympia is simply the demonic version of the same myth. In the passage Freud quotes so affectingly, we witness not only the triumph of love but the triumph of specular appropriation ("held in his eyes, which seemed to gaze as though in a dream"). Freud's proof that theory is only the life we have forgotten turns on a moment when the living Zoë gets reappropriated as an uncanny representation: Gradiva rediviva.

The Bride of Frankenstein

Many and long were the conversations between Lord Byron and Shelley, to which I was a devout but nearly silent listener. During one {96} of these, various philosophical doctrines were discussed, and among others the nature of the principle of life, and whether there was any probability of its ever being discovered and communicated.
-- Mary Shelley, "Introduction" to Frankenstein
Lacan ventriloquizes the meaning of Freud's "Dream of Irma's Injection" as a plea for forgiveness for having transgressed a limit previously uncrossed, that of curing the sick whom before no one had wished or dared to cure; "for to transgress a limit hitherto imposed on human activity is always culpable."11 The magical word of Freud's dream solution ("Trimethylamin"), linked by Freud himself to the chemistry of sexual processes, suggests that Freud's morbid fascination with Irma's deep throat figures the broken taboo -- that of looking too closely at "the immensely powerful factor of sexuality" which he believed to be the origin of the nervous disorders he aimed to cure (SE 4:116-17). In his Autobiographical Study (1925), recalling that as a boy he was moved "by a sort of curiosity" about human concerns, Freud speaks of the influence on him both of an older boy and of the theories of Darwin, which "held out hopes of an extraordinary advance in our understanding of the world" (SE 20:8). The two impulses behind his decision to become a medical student were male bonding and curiosity about the origins of life; later, his work in physiology was to focus on the central nervous system. His remark apropos of Norbert Hanold's researches into women's feet, that "the scientific motivation might be said to serve as a pretext for the unconscious erotic one" (SE 9:52), could stand as the epigraph not only to his own researches but to all scientific quests for the origins of life, whether organic or mental. Before moving on to Frankenstein Or the Modern Prometheus, whose own origins -- according to Mary Shelley herself -- lie in conversations between Byron and Shelley about "the nature of the principle of life,"12 I want to look briefly at another scientific autobiography, James Watson's The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA (1968). Watson's and Crick's pursuit of "the Rosetta Stone for unraveling the true secret of life,"13 the very basis of genetic reproduction, unexpectedly repeats the paradigm of the scientific triangle which Mary Shelley had anticipated in her gothic novel, bringing together {97} motifs of curiosity, ambition, and scientific inquiry in the context of an undercurrent of male bonding which has as its necessary victim a woman.

One might speculate that the unconscious motive of Watson's pursuit of the structures of DNA was twofold: that of engaging in intense oedipal rivalry with a distinguished older scientist, Linus Pauling, while attaching himself closely to another (younger) man, Francis Crick; or perhaps, as one scientific observer has suggested, Pauling and Crick were really interchangeable -- "The love and the competition are one and the same."14 In any event, both kinds of oedipal relation -- rivalry or love -- are profoundly misogynistic, demanding as they do the sacrifice of a living woman. As is well known, the "race" for the secret of DNA involved not only Watson and Crick in Cambridge versus Pauling at California Institute of Technology, but a London-based team consisting of Maurice Wilkins, who later received the Nobel prize along with the Cambridge pair, and a young woman named Rosalind Franklin. The competition derived some of its excitement from contrasting temperaments and styles, but above all from the radically different approaches involved. While Watson and Crick adopted the inspirational, hit-or-miss methods of theoretical model building, the London-based team used as its principal research tool the findings of X-ray diffraction -- painstakingly empirical techniques of measuring molecular cell structures. This is the context in which a misogynistic element enters, and for a while dominates, Watson's "personal account." Wilkins' co-researcher, whom Watson refers to throughout as "Rosy," as if she were a kind of scientific char-lady, had been brought in because of her expertise in X-ray diffraction technique; presumably Wilkins hoped that she would speed up his research. But "Rosy" refused to regard herself as Wilkins' assistant (which she was not) and -- worse still -- persisted in thinking that DNA was as much her problem as his. In Watson's eyes, this made her a furious feminist who ultimately posed a threat not simply to men but to science itself: "Clearly," he writes, "Rosy had to go or be put in her place. The former was obviously preferable because, given her belligerent moods, it would be very difficult for Maurice [Wilkins] to {98} maintain a dominant position that would allow him to think unhindered about DNA" (p. 20). And go she finally did, but not before she had unknowingly provided the empirical data on which Watson and Crick based their final model of the double helix.

For Norbert Hanold, science becomes a discarded, unlovely mistress, or "an old, dried up, tedious aunt, the dullest and most unwanted creature in the world" (SE 9:65). Something similar happens to "Rosy" in The Double Helix; at once virago and dowd, she is represented as the sour spinster science by which theory knows itself young and virile. Not content with stressing her lack of feminine desirability -- the absence of lipstick or attractive clothes -- Watson speculates that she is "the product of an unsatisfied mother who unduly stressed the desirability of professional careers that could save bright girls from marriages to dull men" (p. 20); how unlike Zoë. Later, giving an important talk on DNA (whose implications Watson was at that point in no position to understand), she is represented as the product of "careful, unemotional crystallographic training," and hence as hostile to the idea of using "tinker-toy-like structures" for solving theoretical problems in biology. As she calls for more refined crystallographic analysis, Watson labels her the schoolmarm "labwork": "Certainly," he recalls, "a bad way to go out into the foulness of a heavy, foggy November night was to be told by a woman to refrain from venturing an opinion about a subject for which you were not trained. It was a sure way of bringing back unpleasant memories of lower school" (p. 52). In her sympathetic biography of Rosalind Franklin, Anne Sayre was struck by one detail in Watson's recollection of this talk, his reference to "Rosy's" glasses ("momentarily I wondered how she would look if she took off her glasses"). Ms. Franklin did not wear glasses.15 For her biographer, this was the giveaway that Watson had substituted fiction for fact -- just as he failed to give "Rosy" credit for providing him with crucial data. For us, perhaps, it throws light on other, seemingly unrelated aspects of Watson's account: his allusions to what he calls "popsies"; the preoccupation with the sexual life of Cambridge au pair girls which (according to Watson) constituted Crick's main topic of conversation apart {99} from DNA; and his habit of referring to plausible theoretical solutions as "pretty." In his recent book, Life Itself (1981), Crick playfully calls RNA and DNA "the dumb blondes of the bio-molecular world."16 Like Gradiva, the model of the double helix is narcissistically invested with desire; unlike "Rosy" -- Nathanael's Klara to the Olympian DNA -- the double helix replies only "Ach, Ach" when spoken to.

Brash and unconsciously misogynistic as it is, The Double Helix offers a clear-cut view of the Girardian triangle at work. The "pretty" object of desire (whether the solution to DNA or a Nobel prize) is pursued less for itself than for being desired by another scientist. The function of the object of desire is thus to mediate relations between men; female desire is impossible except as a mimetic reflection of male desire.17 The same paradigm shapes Mary Shelley's Frankenstein -- at once a drama of Promethean scientific enquiry and of oedipal rivalry, a myth of creation that encompasses both a quest for the origins of life and the bond of love and hate between creator and creation; "Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay / To mould Me man?" (Paradise Lost, X:743-44) demands the novel's Miltonic epigraph, in Adam's words to God. Significantly, what Mary Shelley recalls at the inception of her novel are conversations between Byron and Shelley in which she took almost no part. Perhaps we should see Frankenstein not simply as a reworking of Milton's creation myth in the light of Romantic ideology but as an implicit critique of that ideology for its exclusive emphasis on oedipal politics.18 Frankenstein would thus become the novel that most accurately represents the condition of both men and women under the predominantly oedipal forms of Byronic and Shelleyan Romanticism. Read in this light, the monster's tragedy is his confinement to the destructive intensities of a one-to-one relationship with his maker, and his exclusion from other relations -- whether familial or with a female counterpart. The most striking absence in Frankenstein, after all, is Eve's. Refusing to create a female monster, Frankenstein pays the price of losing his own bride. When the primary bond of paternity unites scientist and his creation so exclusively, women who get in the way must fall victim to the struggle. Indeed, if we look in this text for a female author, we find only {100} a dismembered corpse whose successful animation would threaten the entire structure of the myth. It was more appropriate than he knew for James Whale to cast the same actress, Elsa Lanchester, as both the angelic Mary Shelley and the demonic female monster in his 1935 film sequel to the novel, The Bride of Frankenstein (figure 2!!!).19

In Mary Shelley's own version, Frankenstein's creation of the monster is immediately followed by the vivid nightmare and yet more appalling awakening which had been her own waking dream and the starting point of her novel. Frankenstein's postpartum nightmare strikingly conflates the body of his long neglected fiancée and childhood sweetheart, Elizabeth, with that of his dead mother:

I thought I saw Elizabeth, in the bloom of health, walking in the streets of Ingolstadt. Delighted and surprised, I embraced her; but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became {101} livid with the hue of death; her features appeared to change, and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms; a shroud enveloped her form, and I saw the grave-worms crawling in the folds of the flannel. I started from my sleep with horror; a cold dew covered my forehead, my teeth chattered, and every limb became convulsed; when, by the dim and yellow light of the moon, as it forced its way through the window shutters, I beheld the wretch -- the miserable monster whom I had created. (p. 58)
The composite image, mingling eroticism and the horror of corruption, transforms Frankenstein's latently incestuous brother-sister relationship with Elizabeth into the forbidden relationsbip with the mother.

The grave as well as the source of life, bringing birth, sex, and death together in one appalling place, the incestuously embraced mother figures Frankenstein's unnatural pursuit of nature's secrets in his charnel house labors. Like Irma's throat, the mother's shrouded form is unwrapped to reveal decay and deformity in the flesh itself.20 It's not just that the exclusion of woman from creation symbolically "kills" the mother, but that Frankenstein's forbidden researches give to the "facts of life" the aspect of mortality. Elizabeth in turn comes to represent not the object of desire but its death. In a bizarre pun, the monster -- "the demonical corpse to which I had so miserably given life" -- is compared to "a mummy again endued with animation" (p. 58). Exchanging a woman for a monster, Frankenstein has perhaps preferred monstrosity to this vision of corrupt female flesh. From this moment on, the narrative must move inexorably toward the elimination of both female monster and Elizabeth herself on her wedding night. Only when the two females who double one another in the novel -- the hideous travesty of a woman and her anodyne ideal -- have canceled each other out is the way clear for the scene of passionate mourning in which the monster hangs, loverlike, over Frankenstein's deathbed at the conclusion of Walton's narrative.

In Mary Shelley's novel, intense identification with an oedipal conflict exists at the expense of identification with women. At best, women are the bearers of a traditional ideology of love, nurturance, and domesticity; at worst, they are {102} passive victims. And yet, for the monster himself women become a major problem (one that Frankenstein largely avoids by immersing himself in his scientific studies). A curious thread in the plot focuses not on the image of the hostile father (Frankenstein/God) but on that of the dead mother who comes to symbolize to the monster his loveless state. Literally unmothered, he fantasizes acceptance by a series of women but founders in imagined rebuffs and ends in violence. Though it is a little boy (Frankenstein's younger brother) who provokes the monster's first murder by his rejection, the child bears the fatal image of the mother -- the same whose shroud had crawled with grave-worms in Frankenstein's nightmare:

As I fixed my eyes on the child, I saw something glittering on his breast: I took it; it was a portrait of a most lovely woman. In spite of my malignity, it softened and attracted me. For a few moments I gazed with delight on her dark eyes, fringed by deep lashes, and her lovely lips; but presently my rage returned: I remembered that I was for ever deprived of the delights that such beautiful creatures could bestow; and that she whose resemblance I contemplated would, in regarding me, have changed that air of divine benignity to one expressive of disgust and affright.

Can you wonder that such thoughts transported me with rage? (p. 143)

Immediately after the monster has his vision of this lovely but inaccessible woman, shifting in imagination from looks of benignity to disgust, he finds the Frankenstein's servant girl Justine asleep in a nearby barn: "She was young: not indeed so beautiful as her whose portrait I held; but of an agreeable aspect, and blooming in the loveliness of youth and health. Here, I thought, is one of those whose joy-imparting smiles are bestowed on all but me. And then I bent over her, and whispered, 'Awake, fairest, thy lover is near -- he who would give his life but to obtain one look of affection from thine eyes: my beloved, awake!'" (p. 143). But in this travesty of the lover's aubade, the beloved's awakening will shatter the dream, so she must sleep forever. On Justine's person the monster wreaks his revenge on all women, planting among her clothes the incriminating evidence of the mother's portrait as the supposed motive for her murder of the little boy. She is duly tried and executed, even {103} confessing to the crime -- for in the monstrous logic of the text, she is as guilty as the monster claims: "The crime had its source in her: be hers the punishment!" (p. 144).

In this bizarre parody of the Fall, Eve is to blame for having been desired. By the same monstrous logic, if woman is the cause of the monster's crimes, then the only cure is a mate, "one as horrible and deformed as myself" (p. 144). The monster's demand for a mate provides the basis for James Whale's sequel. In The Bride of Frankenstein, Frankenstein and his crazed collaborator Dr. Praetorius undertake what neither Mary Shelley nor her hero could quite bring themselves to do -- embody woman as fully monstrous. Shelley's Frankenstein gives several different reasons for dismembering the female corpse which he is on the point of animating: that she might prove even more malignant than her mate; that between them they might breed a race of monsters to prey on mankind; and that "they might even hate each other" -- he loathing her for a deformity worse than his because it "came before his eyes in the female form," while "she also might turn in disgust from him to the superior beauty of man" (p. 165). This last fear, taken up by James Whale's horror movie, is a demonic parody of the moment in Milton's creation myth when Eve prefers her own image to that of Adam -- "less fair, / Less winning soft, less amiably mild, / Than that smooth watery image" (Paradise Lost, IV:478-80). As in Renaissance representations of the Fall, where the serpent's face is hers, Eve appears in the guise of the narcissistic woman -- that self-sufficient (the more desirable because self-sufficient) adorer of her own image (figure 3!!!).21 God tells her firmly that Adam is "he / Whose image thou art" (Paradise Lost, IV:471-2), but she knows better. If it is the function of Paradise Lost to cast out female self-love, it is the function of The Bride of Frankenstein to destroy its own monstrous version of Eve's rejection of Adam. Behind this fantasy lies yet another, that of the female monster who might desire men instead of monsters. The threat to male sexuality lies not only in her hideous deformity, refusing to accommodate the image of his desire, but in the dangerous autonomy of her refusal to mate in the image in which she was made. It is as if Irma's throat had suddenly found its voice.

At this juncture it seems appropriate to return to the {105} Girardian triangle and to Sarah Kofman's reading of Freud -- in particular, to the Girard-Kofman argument over the narcissistic woman. Since the narcissistic woman has enjoyed some vogue as the point of resistance both to specular appropriation by male desire and to the phallocentric system whereby the term woman is reduced to man-minus, denying sexual difference, the argument is worth recapitulating.22 Perhaps, too, the stakes are not quite what they seem. The theory of narcissism itself -- an almost tautologous concept, given the reflexivity of looking at oneself as a love object -- finds an apt emblem in this self-involved figure, who comes to represent for Girard the illusion at the center of Freud's theory, and for Freud himself, the barely repressed possibility that all love might turn out, at bottom, to be narcissistic. In "On Narcissism: An Introduction" (1914), Freud allows himself to speculate about a female type which he calls "the purest and truest one" (SE 14:88), a type who achieves the "self-sufficiency" of loving only herself. According to Freud, such women exercise a special attraction because -- like children, cats, large beasts of prey, criminals, and "humorists" -- they seem to have kept intact an original, primary narcissism which the adult male has lost. Her fascination is that of representing a lost paradise of narcissistic completeness, while leaving the lover forever unsatisfied. For once, Freud defines woman not in terms of lack but in terms of something she has; primary narcissism replaces the missing phallus. In Kofman's reading, the narcissistic woman is important because she refutes Freud's tendency elsewhere to reduce the "enigma" of woman to categories of penis envy, castration, and veiling. But, she writes, what is frightening about such a woman is "woman's indifference to man's desire, her self-sufficiency . . . it is what makes woman enigmatic, inaccessible, impenetrable."23 And so Freud must finally redeem her, by way of pregnancy and motherhood, for the ethical superiority of object love. For Girard, however, the narcissistic woman had never been anything but a phantasmatic projection on Freud's part. Her self-sufficiency is an illusion, the strategy of a coquette aware that desire attracts desire, merely "the metaphysical transformation of the rival-model."24 Failing to recognize the mimetic essence of desire, Freud has allowed himself to be entrapped by a woman.

{106} In Kofman's eyes, Girard is responding to the intolerable idea of female self-sufficiency (as Freud himself does elsewhere) by denigrating it. But there is more at stake. Girard contends not simply that Freud is entrapped by a fantasy but that his entire theory of narcissism is a chimera. Freud's status as the theorist of desire is undermined in order to reduce narcissism to a merely mythical disguise for Girardian strife between doubles; eliminating the narcissistic woman, Girard also eliminates sexual difference, since in his scheme there is only male desire which the woman mimics. If the narcissistic woman stands, Eve-like, at the center of Freud's theory of desire, Girard's is the James Whale-like scenario of her destruction. What is left without her is the collaboration of Frankenstein and Dr. Praetorius -- or, if you like, a struggle for primacy between Freud and Girard in which Girard employs Proust as his front man, using the metaphors of À la recherche du temps perdu to prove that Proust not only understood desire better than Freud but that he demystifies the concepts which buttress the theory of narcissism. The artist knows better than the scientist, for all his technical terms. There is a familiar ring to this. Freud's own arguments -- about Jensen's Gradiva, for instance -- are marshaled by Girard to prove the superiority of literary over scientific insight; Proust, moreover, doesn't really stand alone, since in this Freud himself supports him. But if all Girard wants to do is assert the primacy of the literary text as a source of theory, why his onslaught on the narcissistic woman? To start with, she is easier to unveil than Freudian theory; her coquettish self-sufficiency can stand in for its formidable appearance of wholeness. In addition, her elimination allows the literary text (Proust's) or the critical text (Girard's) to enjoy unmediated dialogue with the psychoanalytic text. Girard's final contention is not that Freud needs the narcissistic woman but that Freud and Proust (or rather, Girard) need one another: "a dialogue between the two, a dialogue of equals that has never occurred so far." But just as the monster comes finally to dominate Frankenstein, Girard has in mind something other than equality: "After countless Freudian readings of Proust, we can propose, for a change, a Proustian reading of Freud."25 Next we will have the spectacle of the monster lamenting the {107} destruction of his maker; for to destroy the loved and hated rival is to destroy what is, for Girard himself, the very essence of desire.

In Freud's reading of Gradiva, theory steals a march on the literary text which it invokes as proof of its rightness. In Girard's reading of Freud, the literary text usurps on theory -- to reveal theory once more. The play of desire proves to be a power play; but either way, the name of the game is theoretical priority. Freud's tendency to suggest, despite himself, not that theory is life but rather that life is always theory, has some bearing on the narcissism debate. The threat posed by the narcissistic woman is that she may reveal the primacy of narcissism, undercutting object love and mimetic desire alike. Perhaps the ultimate function of both "life" (Zoë) and the narcissistic woman is to defend against formlessness; indeed, one might speculate that this is the chief function of woman as such in theoretical discourse.

Just as the threat of castration may localize an anxiety less unmanageable than that glimpsed in the abyss of Irma's throat -- the formless depths of female sexuality -- so representing theory as a woman may defend against the indeterminacy and impenetrability of theory itself. It is better to be threatened by even a female monster than to be possessed by a theory whose combined insubstantiality and self-sufficiency are those of delusion. The so-called theorist's dilemma may be one source of the difficulty: if a theory serves its purpose, it should establish relationships among observable phenomena, yet if these relationships are so established, theory can be dispensed with. The dispensability of a good theory has as its obverse Hegel's contention that the innovation of theory is to transform an ungraspable reality into something representable.26 On one hand, the unprovability of theory is what constitutes its theoretical status; on the other hand, theory makes it possible to represent what would otherwise elude understanding. If we turn from Freud and Girard to feminist critical theory, it may be possible to see that feminists are caught in the dilemma of theory itself, particularly in their current concern not simply with sexual difference but with the issue of "the {108} woman in the text," or gendered writing. If "theory" involves recourse either to the order of empirical observation (things as they are) or to delusion (things as they are not) or, on the contrary, a return to the field of representation (like patriarchal discourse, the traditional arena of women's oppression), would we do better to renounce it altogether?

And yet the question "Is there a woman in the text?" remains a central one -- perhaps the central one -- for feminist critics, and it is impossible to answer it without theory of some kind. The respective answers given by Anglo-American and French criticism are defined, in part at least, by the inherent paradox of "theory." In America the flight toward empiricism takes the form of an insistence on "woman's experience" as the ground of difference in writing. "Women's writing," "the woman reader," "female culture" occupy an almost unchallenged position of authority in feminist critical discourse of this kind. The assumption is of an unbroken continuity between "life" and "text" -- a mimetic relation whereby women's writing, reading, or culture, instead of being produced, reflect a knowable reality.27 Just as one can identify a woman biologically (the unstated argument would run), so one can with a little extra labor identify a woman's text, a woman reader, the essence of female culture. Of course the category of "women's writing" remains as strategically and politically important in classroom, curriculum, or interpretive community as the specificity of women's oppression is to the women's movement. And yet to leave the question there, with an easy recourse to the female signature or to female being, is either to beg it or to biologize it. To insist, for instance, that Frankenstein reflects Mary Shelley's experience of the trauma of parturition and postpartum depression may tell us about women's lives, but it reduces the text itself to a monstrous symptom. Equally, to see it as the product of "bibliogenesis" -- a feminist rereading of Paradise Lost that, in exposing its misogynist politics, makes the monster's fall an image of woman's fall into the hell of sexuality -- rewrites the novel in the image not of books but of female experience.28 Feminist interpretations such as these have no option but to posit the woman author as origin and her life as the primary locus of meaning.

{109} By contrast, the French insistence on écriture féminine -- on woman as a writing-effect instead of an origin -- asserts not the sexuality of the text but the textuality of sex. Gender difference, produced, not innate, becomes a matter of the structuring of a genderless libido in and through patriarchal discourse. Language itself would at once repress multiplicity and heterogeneity -- true difference -- by the tyranny of hierarchical oppositions (man/woman) and simultaneously work to overthrow that tyranny by interrogating the limits of meaning. The "feminine," in this scheme, is to be located in the gaps, the absences, the unsayable or unrepresentable of discourse and representation.29 The feminine text becomes the elusive, phantasmal inhabitant of phallocentric discourse, as Gradiva rediviva haunts Freud's Delusions and Dreams, or, for the skeptical Girard, the narcissistic woman exercises her illusory power over the theory of narcissism. And yet, in its claim that women must write the body, that only the eruption of female jouissance can revolutionize discourse and challenge the Law of the Father, écriture féminine seems -- however metaphorically -- to be reaching not so much for essentialism (as it is often accused of doing) as for the conditions of representability. The theoretical abstraction of a "marked" writing that can't be observed at the level of the sentence but only glimpsed as an alternative libidinal economy almost invariably gives rise to gender-specific images of voice, touch, anatomy; to biologistic images of milk or jouissance. How else, after all, could the not-yet-written forms of écriture féminine represent themselves to our understanding? Not essentialism but representationalism is the French equivalent of Anglo-American empiricism -- an alternative response to the indeterminacy and impenetrability of theory. If the woman in the text is "there," she is also "not there" -- certainly not its object, not necessarily even its author. That may be why the heroine of feminist critical theory is not the silenced Irma, victim of Freudian theory, but the hysterical Dora whose body is her text and whose refusal to be the object of Freudian discourse makes her the subject of her own. Perhaps the question that feminist critics should ask themselves is not "Is there a woman in this text?" but rather: "Is there a text in this woman?"


1. See Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious (1905), SE 8:97-101, and see also Jeffrey Mehlman, "How to Read Freud on Jokes: The Critic as Schadchen," New Literary History (Winter 1975), 6(2):439-6l, for the suggestion that the interfering third party is the oedipal father.

2. Stanley Fish, Is There a Text in This Class? The Authority of Interpretive Communities (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980). p. 305.

3. See The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), SE 4:106-21. This was the dream apropos of which Freud wrote to Fliess in 1900, fantasizing that the house where he had dreamed it might one day bear a marble tablet with the words: "In This House, on July 24th, 1895, the Secret of Dreams was Revealed to Dr. Sigm. Freud." See Jeffrey Mehlman, "Trimethylamin: Notes on Freud's Specimen Dream," Diacritics (Spring 1976), 6(1):42-45: "Freud . . . make[s] her cough up (his) truth."

4. Kofman, Quatre romans analytiques, il. 133: "L'inconscient de l'analyse, comme celui de tout homme, est inéliminable."

5. As the editor of the Standard Edition notes, Delusions and Dreams contains "not only a summary of Freud's explanation of dreams but also what is perhaps the first of his semi-popular accounts of his theory of the neuroses and of the therapeutic action or psycho-analysis" (SE 9:5).

6. Compare Freud's own remark, in "Construction in Analysis," that "the delusions of patients appear to me to be the equivalents of the constructions which we build up in the course of analytic treatment" (SE 23:268).

7. Kofman, Quatre romans analytiques, p. 16: "Un appât pour mieux artraper la carpe vérité: celle du texte littéraire qui doit confirmer celle de la psychanalyse."

8. A copy of the bas-relief (figure 1!!!) -- which Freud saw in the Vatican in 1907 as "a dear familiar face" -- hung in his consulting room; see Ernst E. Freud, ed., Letters of Sigmund Freud (New York: Basic Books, 1960), p. 267.

9. Sarah Kofman, "Narcissistic Woman," The Enigma of Woman, Catherine Porter, trans. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985), p. 56. See "On Narcissism: An Introduction," SE 14:73-102, esp. pp. 88-89.

10. As Kofman suggests in Quatre romans analytiques, p. 124, stone is at once a symbol of castration and a defense against castration; Hanold's foot fetishism might be related to the obsessive question, Does Gradiva, or does she not, have a penis?

11. Jacques Lacan, "Le rêve de l'injection d'Irma," Le Seminaire, Livre II: Le moi dans la théorie de Freud et dans la technique de la psychanalyse -- 1954-55 (Paris: Seuil, 1978), p. 203: "Car c'est toujours être coupable que de transgresser une limite jusque-là imposée à l'activité humaine."

12. See Mary Shelley's 1831 "Introduction" to her Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus, M. K. Joseph, ed. (London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1969), p. 8. Subsequent page references in the text are to this edition.

13. James Watson, The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA (New York: Atheneum, 1968), p. 18. Subsequent page references in the text are to this edition.

14. Quoted by Horace Judson, The Eighth Day of Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Biology (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979), p. 194. Judson's is perhaps the most balanced account of the relations between Watson, Crick, Wilkins, Franklin, and especially of the work of the latter.

15. See Anne Sayre, Rosalind Franklin and DNA (New York: Norton, 1975), p. 21.

16. Francis Crick, Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981), p. 72. Crick has interesting things to say about theory apropos of his own theory of "Directed Panspermia" as the origin of life on earth, which his wife objects to as "not a real theory but merely science fiction" (p. 148).

17. See Toril Moi, "The Missing Mother: The Oedipal Rivalries of René Girard," Diacritics (Summer 1982), 12(2):21-31, for an excellent critique of Girard.

18. See also Mary Poovey, "My Hideous Progeny: The Lady and The Monster," The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1984), pp. 114-42, for a reading of Frankenstein in the light of its relation to Romantic egotism.

19. The film versions of Frankenstein, including Whale's, are discussed by Albert J. Lavalley, "The Stage and Film Children of Frankenstein: A Survey," in George Levine and U. C. Knoepflmacher, eds., The Endurance of Frankenstein: Essays on Mary Shelley's Novel, pp. 243-89, esp. p. 273 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979); see also Donald E Glut, The Frankenstein Legend: A Tribute to Mary Shelley and Boris Karloff (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1973).

20. See Lacan's "Le rêve de l'injection d'Irma," p. 186: "Tout se mêle et associe dans cette image, de la bouche à l'organe sexuel fèminin. . . . Il y a là une horrible découverte, celle de la chair qu'on ne voit jamais, le fond des choses, l'envers de la face, du visage, les sécretats par excellence, la chair dont tout sort, au plus profond même du mystère, la chair en tant qu'elle est souffrante, qu'elle est informe, que sa forme par soi-même est quelque chose qui provoque l'angoisse."

21. See, for instance, the paintings by Masolino, Pseudo Met de Bles, and Raphael reproduced in Roland M. Frye, Milton's Imagery and the Visual Arts: Iconographic Tradition in the Epic Poems (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978).

22. Kofman's "Narcissistic Woman," in The Enigma of Woman, pp. 50-65, debates René Girard's "Le Narcissisme: le désir de Freud," in Des choses cachées depuis la fondation du monde, pp. 391-414 (Paris: B. Grasset, 1978), recast as "Narcissism: The Freudian Myth Demythified by Proust," in Alan Roland, ed., Psychoanalysis, Creativity, and Literature, pp. 293-311 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1978). For a related discussion of the narcissistic woman and her role in Kofman's writing, see Elizabeth Berg, "The Third Woman," Diacritics (Summer 1982), 12(2):11-20.

23. Kofman, "Narcissistic Woman." pp. 61-62.

24. Girard, "Le Narcissisme: le désir de Freud," pp. 393-94: "Ce qu'il appelle l'auto-suffisance de la coquette, c'est en réalité la transfiguration métaphysique du modèle-rival."

25. Girard, "Narcissism: The Freudian Myth," pp. 308,309.

26. See Raimo Tuomela, Theoretical Concepts (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1973), pp. 3-4, and Nathan Rotenstreich, Theory and Practice: An Essay in Human Intentionalities (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1977), pp. 58-59; see also Clark Glymour. Theory and Evidence (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980).

27. See Jonathan Culler's discussion of the concept of "the woman reader" in On Deconstruction, pp. 44-64.

28. See the respective readings of Frankenstein by Ellen Moers, "Female Gothic," in Levine and Knoepflmacher, The Endurance of Frankenstein, pp. 77-87, and by Gilbert and Gubar, "Horror's Twin: Mary Shelley's Monstrous Eve," The Madwoman in the Attic, pp. 213-47.

29. See, for instance, Héleène Cixous, "The Laugh of the Medusa," in Marks and de Courtivron, New French Feminisms, pp. 245-64, and "Castration or Decapitation," Annette Kuhn, trans., Signs (Autumn 1981), 7(1):41-55; Luce Irigaray, "When Our Lips Speak Together," and "The Power of Discourse and the Subordination of the Feminine," in This Sex Which Is Not One, Catherine Porter, trans. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985), pp. 205-18, 68-85. For a recent critique of écriture féminine, see also Ann Rosalind Jones, "Writing the Body: Toward an Understanding of L'Écriture Féminine," Feminist Studies (Summer 1981), 7(2):247-63, reprinted in Elaine Showalter, ed., The New Feminist Criticism: Essays on Women, Literature, and Theory (New York: Pantheon Books, 1985), pp. 361-77.