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Dora Verus Dora

Exploding the Myth in Wise Children

Judy Hayden

'A woman attends a funeral. The coffin is lowered into the grave. A man approaches her and says, "He was not your father."' Thus begins a book, On Birth and Madness, by Eric Rhode, an opening reproduced in a review by Angela Carter. In this 'wayward and infuriating book', Carter observes, Rhode is remarkably absorbed by paternity, by Oedipus, by Hamlet and by Freud's LIttle Hans – in a book which ostensibly addresses maternity. Whose child we are, our paternity, Carter counters, is a 'profoundly absurd question' ('Rhode', 202–03).

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