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Alien PlotsFemale Subjectivity and the Divine in the Light of James Tiptree's 'a Momentary Taste of Being'$
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Inez ven der Spek

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780853238140

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780853238140.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022

. Father in Crisis, Mother Rises?

. Father in Crisis, Mother Rises?

2. (Extra)biblical Scenarios

(p.113) IV. Father in Crisis, Mother Rises?
Alien Plots

Inez Van Der Spek


In James Tiptree Jr's ‘A Momentary Taste of Being’, a story about alien encounter, the main protagonist, Dr Aaron Kaye, senses that his sister and the alien are in some way ‘in league’ with one another. The story's posthuman setting accommodates a choric fantasy, an ambivalent fantasy of a union with the mother that is desirable but also terrifying. This chapter examines the collapse of the patriarchal-phallic order and the emergence of the maternally connoted alien in ‘A Momentary Taste of Being’. It shows that the alien in the story points not only to the maternal but also to the divine. The chapter turns to the Bible as well as to Julia Kristeva's views on the so-called archaic mother to gain insight into particular fantasies that appear in the story, focusing on the Wirkungsgeschichte of biblical mythology. Finally, it discusses Kristeva's theory of abjection, and how it relates to the history of Judaism and Christianity.

Keywords:   biblical mythology, James Tiptree Jr, Taste of Being, alien encounter, alien, divine, Bible, Julia Kristeva, archaic mother, theory of abjection

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