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The Phallus And The Subject

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter a pornographic tale from the Mathnawī is examined to demonstrate the phallocentric dimension that is operative in the text. The important point about the division between the two divergent positions of having and being the phallus corresponding to the masculine and feminine is that they do not precede the process of signification, they emerge as a result of it. The character of the prankster functions like a signifier that metonymically intervenes on the level of binary significations that distinguish men from women, and the preacher from his audience. More importantly, it is only through the veils that Divine creative power, or the signifying power of the privileged signifier is manifested. The Lacanian concept of the phallus is an effective conceptual tool for understanding Rūmī's strategy of intervening on the subjective level of the culturally constructed self.

Keywords: Mathnawī; phallus; Rūmī; signifier



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