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Interrogating Antigone in Postmodern Philosophy and Criticism$
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S. E. Wilmer and Audrone Zukauskaite

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199559213

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199559213.001.0001

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Antigone's Political Legacies: Abjection in Defiance of Mourning

Antigone's Political Legacies: Abjection in Defiance of Mourning

Chapter:
(p.19) 1 Antigone's Political Legacies: Abjection in Defiance of Mourning
Source:
Interrogating Antigone in Postmodern Philosophy and Criticism
Author(s):

Tina Chanter

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199559213.003.0002

Heidegger and Lacan both emphasize the uncanny, monstrous aspects of Antigone, who must be expelled from the polis, and yet who plays a liminal role in which she is the excluded yet facilitating other. In Žižek's Lacanian reading, Antigone is regarded as ‘proto‐totalitarian’. By contrast, the tradition of political, dramatic appropriations of Antigone, including five Irish versions since the 1980s, among them Seamus Heaney's The Burial at Thebes—which is the focus here—establish Antigone as a freedom fighter. A critique of Lacan's reading of Antigone is provided which, the argument goes, fetishizes the character of Antigone. In contrast to the abstract gesture that is content to construe Antigone as a figure of excess, as if she merely marked the limits of the articulate, her continual renaissance is read as a genealogy of that which is figured as abject by dominant narratives by each new political staging of Antigone's rebirth.

Keywords:   Lacan, Heaney, Žižek, Heidegger, fetish, uncanny, abject, Ireland, Antigone, monstrous

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