The Law of the Mother: An Essay on the Sexual Sinthome, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Law of the Mother

An Essay on the Sexual Sinthome, 1st Edition

By Geneviève Morel


330 pages

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pub: 2018-11-27
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The law of the mother is made up of words charged with pleasure and suffering that leave their mark on us in early childhood. In this groundbreaking book, Geneviève Morel explores whether it is possible for the child to escape subjection from this maternal law and develop their own sexual identity.

Through clinical examples and critical commentary, the book illustrates the range and power of maternal influence on the child, and how this can generate different forms of sexual ambiguity. Using a Lacanian framework which revises the classical idea of the Oedipus complex, the book is not only a major contribution to gender studies but also an invaluable aid to the clinician dealing with questions of sexual identity. The book avoids many of the moral and political prejudices that paralyse twenty-first century society, be they related to legislation on marriage, parentage or adoption, the status of "mental health", or the limits to the supposed ownership of the human body.

Insightful and revealing, The Law of the Mother will be of great interest to Lacanian psychoanalysts, as well as to researchers in the fields of gender studies and sexuality.

Table of Contents



Chapter I: The law of the mother and the symptom that separates

Chapter II: A critique of the fundamental fantasy

Chapter III: Freudian constructions and Lacanian reductions

Chapter IV: The symptom abolishes the symbol

Chapter V: The young man without an ego

Chapter VI: Extensions of the symptom

Chapter VII: Psychoanalytic uses of the sinthome

Chapter VIII: Sinthome and sexual ambiguity

Chapter IX: Gide: masks and sinthome

Chapter X: Three cases of sexual ambiguity in men

Conclusion: The sinthome is sexual


About the Author

Geneviève Morel is a psychoanalyst practicing in Paris and Lille. She is a member of the Association Lilloise pour la Psychanalyse et son Histoire and of the group Savoirs et Clinique. Her previous books include Sexual Ambiguities (Routledge).

About the Series

The Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research Library (CFAR)

The Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research (CFAR) was founded in 1985 with the aim of developing Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis in the UK. Lacan's rereading and rethinking of Freud had been neglected in the Anglophone world, despite its important implications for the theory and practice of psychoanalysis. The CFAR Library aims to make classic Lacanian texts available in English for the first time, as well as publishing original research in the Lacanian field.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis