Abstract

This article reads Angela Carter’s Love (1971) as a dissident current within a Freudian discourse of femininity. Considering the novel in relation to Carter’s later theoretical work on sexuality in The Sadeian Woman (1978), I make a case for Love as situated at an end point for Carter and as a kind of psychoanalytic working through which allowed her to approach life from the perspective of a narrator outside of the certainties of the symbolic in her later novels. To do this Carter had to eradicate the phallus, which inaugurates the symbolic. The novel is, among other things, a challenge to phallocentrism, which counterintuitively draws on a psychoanalytic narrative of phallicism and indeed draws that narrative to the point at which it collapses. My argument is influenced by Julia Kristeva’s recent work on the phallus in female sexuality, and I utilize Kristeva’s theorizations particularly to argue for a psychic bisexuality as integral to Carter’s dissenting challenge to the paradigms of sexual difference and to the radical remakings of the world through language, which characterize her last four novels.

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