Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Education & Arts

First Advisor

Travis Kelleher

Abstract

H.D. and Lacan both articulate a philosophy of love that exists beyond the sexual relationship. This thesis highlights the concordance between their later writings on love, with a specific focus on Lacan's Book xx; On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits of Love and Knowledge, 1972 - 1973 (Encore), and H.D.'s Helen in Egypt. Initially, I address the paradox of erotic love to explicate the way fantasy results in the death of the woman within the sexual relationship. I then argue that a subject must experience a phase of mourning the fantasy of erotic love in order to progress to a new way of understanding love that is 'beyond sex'. I approach mourning from a Freudian perspective to emphasise the importance of letting go of past attachments in order to relinquish and transcend ideals of romantic love. This, I argue, is necessary for a subject's ability to be liberated from illusions of love, develop intersubjective relationships, and subsequently, to achieve real love. Finally, this thesis situates H.D.'s construction of men as the crucial element to identifying love between the sexes. Both H.D. and Lacan suggest a type of masculinity that is not dependant on fantasy and this, I argue, is the key to intersubjective, loving relationships. Where relationships based on idealised erotic love result in the death of the other, real love's only imperative is life.

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