Review of After Electra: Rage, Grief and Hope in Twentieth-Century Fiction, by Eden Liddelow
The subtitle of Eden Liddelow's After Electra, 'rage, grief and hope in twentieth-century fiction', signals that the journey/reading of it will not be for the faint hearted. I'II admit to feeling a little faint, not in courage but in enthusiasm for Kleinian analysis in general, having felt crowded out by too many good, bad and indifferent breasts (and none the wiser) in previous theoretical tussles. To be fair, the Kleinian model does bring some of the possibilities and transitions of mother-daughter relations into relief, and for that reason alone can be a starting point and a vehicle for an instructive re-orientation. However, like others, I have felt the critical scope of Klein's analysis neither sufficiently wide, nor situated to take in cultural and historical influences, with the result that analysis frequently fails to exit from a tired and claustrophobic familial paradigm with its well-worn 'intensities' and fractious relations. Fortunately, After Electra offers an interesting and engaging alternative. Liddelow 'busts loose' from any rigidly Kleinian analysis, spinning a wider web to draw upon the insights of Kristeva, Sontag, and Deleuze and Guattari.
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