Desire, Death, and Women in the Master-Slave Dialectic: A Comparative Reading of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and Henry James's The Golden Bowl

Philosophy and Literature 35 (2):233-250 (2012)
From Karl Marx to Alexandre Kojève to Luce Irigaray, many writers have explored the implications of the famous master-slave dialectic in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit.1 An interesting debate has developed out of the possible gender connotations of this dialectic—a debate that has centered largely on the theory that the master could represent man, with the slave consequently representing woman. A close analysis of the Phenomenology reveals that both the master and the slave are, in fact, supposed to be men. But is it possible to preserve the core ideas of the Phenomenology while simultaneously recasting both the master and the slave as women? And what are the ramifications of this reconfiguration?These questions ..
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