David Sigler - Assistant Professor and Director of the M.A. Program English
September 7 - Idaho Commons Whitewater Room
Abstract: The concept of masochism was coined in 1886 by the sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing, in tribute to the contemporary Austrian novelist Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Since then, masochism has been debated by sexologists, psychologists, psychoanalysts, historians, sociologists, and literary scholars alike. This talk will maintain that, even in our enlightened post-Foucauldian times, our understanding of masochism has remained trapped, unwittingly, within the problematic frameworks imposed by Krafft-Ebing. In response, my talk will propose a literary approach to masochism—one that seeks to understand the perversion as a textual and narrative circumstance, and one centered around acts of reading—and will trace such an approach through the work of Sigmund Freud, Gilles Deleuze, and Jacques Lacan.