Synopses & Reviews
Theories of power have always been intertwined with theories of fatherhood: paternity is the oldest and most persistent metaphor of benign, legitimate rule. The paternal trope gains its strength from its integration of law, body, and affect—in the affirmative model of fatherhood, the biological father, the legal father, and the father who protects and nurtures his children are one and the same, and in a complex system of mutual interdependence, the father of the family is symbolically linked to the paternal gods of monotheism and the paternal ruler of the monarchic state.
If tragedy is the violent eruption of a necessary conflict between competing, legitimate claims, The Tragedy of Fatherhood argues that fatherhood is an essentially tragic structure. Silke-Maria Weineck traces both the tensions and various strategies to resolve them through a series of readings of seminal literary and theoretical texts in the Western cultural tradition. In doing so, she demonstrates both the fragility and resilience of fatherhood as the most important symbol of political power.
A long history of fatherhood in literature, philosophy, and political thought, The Tragedy of Fatherhood weaves together figures as seemingly disparate as Aristotle, Freud, Kafka, and Kleist, to produce a stunning reappraisal of the nature of power in the Western tradition.
In The Tragedy of Fatherhood: King Laius and the Politics ofPaternity in the West Silke-Maria Weineck argues that fatherhood is an essentially tragic structure. Using a close reading of severalWestern literary and theoretical texts, Weineck the development of tragedy as a necessary conflict between competing, legitimate claimsin a family dynamic, demonstrating the dual nature of fatherhood, both fragile and elastic, as a symbol of political power. She looksat fatherhood in the writings of Kafka, Freud, Kleist, Aristotle, and many others. Silke-Maria Weineck is a faculty member of the University of Michigan.Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
About the Author
Sabine Wilke is Professor of German at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA, where she is also associated with European Studies, and the Program in Critical Theory. Her past publications include The Abyss Above: The Philosophy of Madness in Plato, Hölderlin, and Nietzsche (2002).
Table of Contents
Section I: Freuds Fatherhood I
Section II: The Tragic Father
Two The Laius Complex
Three Oedipus Patêr
Four “I Must Do What Ive Been Told”:
Abraham and the Conditions of Paternity
Section III: The Political Father
Five Aristotle and the Body of the Father
Six Paternity and the Perfect City
Seven Hobbes: The End of the Paternal Triad
Section IV: The Rise of the Son
Eight “I Will Be King No More”: Lessings Philotas
and the Abdication of the Father
Nine Kleist: Paternal Resurrections
Section V: Freuds Fatherhood II
Ten The Gschnas, or the Path to the Fatherless Society
Conclusion Dead Children