An Introduction to the Aramaic of Targum Onqelos by Thomas O. Lambdin, revised by John Huehnergard

By Thomas O. Lambdin, revised by John Huehnergard

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28 The usurpation of the incipient subject by such an überphallus is what calls for the at once desperate and affirmative gesture of abjection. That gesture may in the first instance be directed against the mother, but it is evidently not restricted to her – one way of responding to the banal feminist critique of a Marie-Florine Bruneau for whom the abject is ‘ce qui menace l’intégrité du moi ou du groupe et doit donc être maîtrisé’29 (93) and Kristeva seems in consequence to be all but complicit with women’s oppression.

29 30 31 ‘My head went dark. ’ ‘This book is not a novel or a novelized (auto)biography. ’ 32 The Abject Object That exclusionary choice, it may seem, is but the ratification of a fait accompli, given to us in the first sentence of the narration: ‘Quand je suis née, mon père n’était déjà plus là’ (15). 32 This reads more like abdication than abjection of the paternal, though the two have much in common. A childhood memory of a potentially fatal accident involving her brother during a visit to a fortress in Brittany is recuperated into the name of Sibylle’s preferred holiday spot, the Balearic island of Formentera (‘FORT M’ENTERRA’ – 24).

Elizabeth Grosz indeed equates it with the objet a, in a passage which suggests its possible correlation with the phallus too: … there is an ‘intermediate’ category of objects, midway between the inanimate and the bodily. These are the various ‘detachable’ parts of the body, its excretions, waste products, and bodily by-products, which Lacan describes as objet a, and Kristeva refers to as the abject. (…) Detachable, separable parts of the body – urine, faeces, sperm, blood, vomit, hair, nails, skin – retain something of the cathexis and value of a body part even when they are separated from the body.

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