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Addressing the other womanTextual correspondences in feminist art and writing$
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Kimberly Lamm

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526121264

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526121264.001.0001

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Writing the drives in Nancy Spero’s Codex Artaud

Writing the drives in Nancy Spero’s Codex Artaud

(p.107) 3 Writing the drives in Nancy Spero’s Codex Artaud
Addressing the other woman

Kimberly Lamm

Manchester University Press

Chapter 3 is devoted to Nancy Spero’s Codex Artaud (1971–72), an epic artwork in which she orchestrated typewritten texts and painted images to seize the monstrosity attributed to white women if they do not stay within patriarchal constraints. The chapter analyses Codex Artaud as a feminist claim to women’s aggressive capacities and all they connect to: sexuality, disorder, insanity, and protest, but also the capacity to represent oneself as other. The reading focuses on Spero’s conflicted engagement with Antonin Artaud’s writings and the fact that though he was insane, he was able to command the patriarchal orders of language to create a mobile range of self-representations. Spero’s engagement with Artaud’s texts produced a form of writing that both emulates and critiques the masculine privileges that make such self-representations of otherness possible, thereby revealing the aggression from which women in western culture have been traditionally barred. To evoke the psychic mechanisms that enforce this exclusion, the chapter turns to Sigmund Freud’s definition of sexuality in Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905) and his articulation of the expectation that women should not indulge in the pleasures of aggression, but should instead create aesthetically pleasing images devoid of shame and disgust..

Keywords:   Aggression, Antonin Artaud, Monstrous, Patriarchal Orders of Language, Typewritten texts, Shame and Disgust

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