‘First Love: A Phenomenology of the One by’ Sigi Jöttkandt

Published by re.press in 2010.


First Love: A Phenomenology of the One explodes two great myths that remain unquestioned in psychoanalysis and contemporary philosophy: that first love is a love of the mother and, in French philosopher Alain Badiou’s phrasing, ‘the One is not.’ The bold, central argument of the book claims that, with its unprejudiced acceptance of first love as mother love, psychoanalysis is at risk of missing the full potential of its own thought: the existence of an uncounted One as named and held faithful to in the literary tradition.

In detailed, sensitive readings of the First Love of Samuel Beckett, Ivan Turgenev, Eudora Welty, John Clare and Søren Kierkegaard, Jöttkandt considers the ways love is conceptually ‘first’ for these writers. With this groundbreaking work, Jöttkandt suspends the contemporary philosophical stricture against every idea of an ‘all’ to unmask the shadowy figure concealed behind the traditional psychoanalytic myth of first love: (some)One that – or perhaps who – is not purely an effect of structure.

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