At issue in this book is the father and the tragic conflicts prepared in his name. Over and beyond the two chapters devoted to Freud at the beginning and the end, Silke-Maria Weineck’s repeated returns to the Oedipus complex indicate her indebtedness to twentieth-century psychoanalysis. But through her analyses of Freud and Sophocles, along with Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Hobbes, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, and Heinrich von Kleist, the father comes to the fore not only as the symbolic “no(m)-du-Père”—which “presents the father as the one who both gives his name along with a place in the social order and says no” (4), and thus inscribes each subject-as-son—but indeed “as a subject position” in its own right (7).

Weineck’s title therefore names Laius, who, she argues, has remained underexamined, if not suppressed, throughout much of the literary and philosophical tradition of the West. With...

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