Absent Mothers and Orphaned Fathers: Narcissism and Abjection in Lessing's Aesthetic and Dramatic Production

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Wayne State University Press, 1995 - Literary Criticism - 314 pages
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In analyzing Lessing's plays, Miss Sara Sampson, Emilia Galotti, and Nathan der Weise, Gustafson identifies the central concerns in each as the mother's threat to the father, his loss, and the dramatic strategies employed to reaffirm his ideal self-image. To battle the mother's perceived threat to the patriarchal order, the father demands an exclusive relationship with his daughter, one in which he alone dominates her development. This tragic and narcissistic enterprise on behalf of the father only highlights the mother's presence and Lessing's inability to exclude her from his works.

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