"She Who Steps Along": Gradiva, telecommunications, history



Publication Details

Willis, I. (2007). "She Who Steps Along": Gradiva, telecommunications, history. Helios: a journal devoted to critical and methodological studies of classical culture, literature, and society, 34 (2), 223-242.

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As is clear from the terms in which the citation above is couched, Sigmund Freud’s 1906 study, Delusions and Dreams in Jensen’s “Gradiva,” is in part concerned with directness, proximity, and distance. Although certain “expedients and substitutes” are an irreducible part of the doctor’s method, his task is nonetheless to reduce the dimension of distance and detour as far as possible: he is to “approximate” a certain immediacy, modeled by Gradiva. To indicate the relation between mediation and immediacy, however, Freud writes, would “take us much too far away from the task before us.” In this paper, I intend to follow up, not “the task before us,” but rather the very detour that Freud cuts off—to proceed along the lines that he indicates but does not follow in the passage cited, in order to end up “much too far away” from the immediate task. That is, I will not privilege immediacy and proximity over distance and detour; rather, I will examine the relation between the two, by analyzing the technical structures of mediation that enable (an approximation to) immediacy in Gradiva.

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