By Jill Gentile (USA)
Feminine Law: Freud, Free Speech, and the Voice of Desire (Karnac, 2016) explores the hidden legacy of both Freud and the Founding Fathers, whose imprecise instructions to fight repression set in motion incessant processes by which we claim power and agency. The author shows that psychoanalysis is not just a method of treatment but also a practice of “transitional democracy” in which doctor and patient together discover the very basis of equality.
The book provides detailed portraits of political and clinical struggle in Constitutional battles and dynamic case studies. And it tells the larger story of a dialectical process that is necessary to freedom itself. Its thesis is illuminated by ideas from a broad range of disciplines and literatures, ranging from Athenian politics to the modern semiotics of C. S. Peirce and Walker Percy.
The author ultimately concludes that both the talking cure and democratic free speech reveal the power of a feminine law: a law of space, rooted in the female body, that preconditions our (necessarily imperfect) pursuit of subjective freedom and collective agency. Feminine law opens a democratic space for the potentially disruptive but also liberating and novel flow of desire and its symbols.
Jill Gentile, PhD
Faculty, NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis
Training and Supervising Analyst,
Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity
26 W. 9th Street, Suite 10A
New York, NY 10011 USA
Email Jill Gentile