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Psychoanalytic considerations about the anti-oedipal condition in Heinrich von Kleist’s Penthesilea and in the analysis of Miss M



Based on Heinrich von Kleist’s drama Penthesilea and a clinical case, this study seeks to demonstrate a theoretical concept that is developed and identified as the anti-oedipal condition. This state involves a regressive insistence on suffocating any form of oedipal maturation and, with it, any form of genital–sexual desire; it damages, even destroys, any form of intellectual–creative curiosity. A specific form of defensive organization, the anti-oedipal condition, is sought out when psychic development, when oedipal–genital maturation requires re-establishing contact with a sort of inner terra cremata, an emotional domain that once had been supposed to be eliminated due to catastrophic experiences that could not be integrated. This defensive organization dominated Kleist’s Amazons as well as Miss M. What happened first in both instances was a regression to and fixation at the anti-oedipal condition, but the paths leading out of this incapsulation were antipodal.

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