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Title: Love, alterity and gender relations : re-thinking the myth of eros and psyche
Authors: Yong, Ade Wernmei
Keywords: Humanities::Language
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Brill
Source: Yong, A. W. (2018). Love, alterity and gender relations : re-thinking the myth of eros and psyche. D. Byrne & A. W. Yong (Eds.), Fluid Gender, Fluid Love (pp. 61-74). Brill.
Abstract: Central to the myth of Eros and Psyche is the theme of love and knowledge. Jungian psychologist and philosopher Erich Neumann’s reading of the myth centres on the light-bringing as the point of Psyche’s death and rebirth: death of her dependence, ignorance and passivity, and rebirth into womanly initiative, and most significantly, into agency and subjecthood. For Neumann, the two-fold wounding of Psyche and Eros that first gives rise to love, “creates the possibility of an encounter, which is prerequisite for love between two individuals” (1956, 86). These sentiments, published in his 1956 book Amor and Psyche: The Psychic Development of the Feminine, bear out the conditions necessary in thinking of love as a discourse of alterity, conditions outlined in the philosophical writings of Luce Irigaray. Indeed, the only way to recuperate love as a positive experience for men and women, is a vision of love in which both partners move away from the totalising realm of sameness, towards otherness and alterity. Irigaray’s treatment of gender identity has often been accused of being essentialist, a charge familiar to Jung and his followers, including Neumann. The processes of separation and individuation necessary for an encounter between lovers as two (self and other) as described by Neumann are not without their problems. He says, for instance, that “[Eros’] manifestation is dependent on her, he is transformed with Psyche and through her” (1956, 107), which reduces the feminine to the mere conduit and medium for masculine development. This paper argues that despite objections to the gendered Jungian archetype, Neumann’s reading of the tale of Eros and Psyche can indeed contribute something of value towards thinking of love as a means of living ethically, especially where gender relations are concerned.
ISBN: 978-90-04-37828-5
DOI: 10.1163/9789004380233_005
Schools: School of Humanities 
Rights: © 2019 by Koninklijke Brill Nv, Leiden, The Netherlands. All rights reserved. This book chapter is made available with permission of Koninklijke Brill Nv, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Books & Book Chapters

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