Female Creativity and Temporal Discontinuity: Slips and Skips of Remembrance in Nietzsche and Freud

Christine Battersby


Both Nietzsche and Freud offer accounts of temporal disturbances in the processes of cognition, whilst also “forgetting” to notice women’s contributions to the history of culture. Both writers link women’s creative incapacity to their reproductive physiology and also to bodily shame. This paper argues, however, that Nietzsche’s descriptions of cognitive delay and collective forgetfulness are useful to feminist historians and theorists, providing a resource for theorising the belated recognition of women’s forgotten cultural achievements which the Freudian account lacks. The paper distinguishes between two contrasting modes of delayed recognition in Nietzsche, and compares Nietzsche on the temporal discontinuities of the nachträglich with Freud on the slips and skips in memory that derive from trauma, Nachträglichkeit and psychoneurotic repression. Another mode of temporal slippage - that of the Hopsasa - found in Nietzsche is also considered, as is also the potential of “the filigree art” of focusing as a remedy for cultural disappearances.

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Nietzsche-Studien is the world’s leading organ for Nietzsche research. It publishes contributions from all disciplines that deal with Nietzsche’s life, work, and impact and spotlights the relevance of his thought for current debates. It is not committed to any particular school of thought and features essays, discussions, documentary research, investigations of primary sources, contributions to reception studies, miscellanea, and reviews.