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Myth, hunt and sublimation. The Gestaltwandel of the goddess Artemis and the hunter Orion interpreted from a psychoanalytical perspective

This paper tries to demonstrate that psychoanalysis can not only distill fixed and unchangeable meanings from a myth, but that it can also throw light on the dynamic forces that modify myths such that they can function in the society in which they are communicated. A case-study of the virgin goddess Artemis and the hunter-hero Orion shows how their love affair diachronically undergoes an increasing degree of sublimation, which can be explained by two parallel evolutions. Artemis, on the one hand, changes from an ancient mother goddess into a chaste huntress, indeed like many other mythological women; Orion, on the other hand, becomes a mortal human being and a less important player in Greek mythology, as hunting becomes less necessary or even superfluous as a source for food supply, but instead remains in use as a rite of passage for young adolescents instead. By adapting Artemis’ and Orion’s story to these historical and psychological changes, the male narrators of the story made sure that the myth would remain relevant and meaningful for their contemporary audience.

Sublimation in Lacan: The Creative Destruction of the Subject

We will try to demonstrate that the experience of Abbot Suger de Saint-Denis, creator of Gothic architecture, based on the logic of Lacanian sublimation, comes from the elevation of an object to the dignity of the Thing (Lacan, 1986 [1959-1960]: 133). On the one hand, this experience is a misguided elevation: Suger arrives (Lat. “surgit”) at the truth via material things, but also Suger (Lat. “surgit”), in architectural terms, ascends as the subject of desire. On the other hand, this experience illustrates the dichotomous relation between elevation/descent and creation/destruction in the sublimation that we call “sujerienne”. The architecture of Abbot Suger innovates and this singular experience allows us to address the choséité (thingness) of the architectural object: the void. It also allows us to relate the elevation of sublimation to elevation in architecture. And this highlights the correspondence between elevation of sublimation and the development of the imaginary representation of the Thing. This development cannot take place without an act of creative destruction of the Subject.


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