Professor of Philosophy at The European Graduate School / EGS.
Elissa Marder (b. 1970), in addition to being a professor of philosophy at The European Graduate School / EGS, is Chair of the French and Italian Departments, a professor of French and comparative literature, and formally affiliated with the Departments of Philosophy and Women Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Between 2001 and 2006, she was Director of the Emory Psychoanalytic Studies Program, of which she was also a founding member. She is a member of the executive committee of SIPP&ISSP (International Society of Psychoanalysis and Philosophy) and has been an International Fellow of the London Graduate School since its inception in 2010.
Elissa Marder received her BA from Cornell University and completed her PhD at Yale University in 1989 where she studied with Paul de Man, Shoshana Felman, Barbara Johnson, Fredric Jameson, and Jacques Derrida, among others. Her primary areas of interest include nineteenth and twentieth century French, British, and American literature; literary theory; psychoanalysis; film; photography; and feminist theory. She is currently working on a book on early nineteenth century French literature, as well as a major project on Walter Benjamin. Her book Dead Time: Temporal Disorders in the Wake of Modernity (Baudelaire and Flaubert) was published in 2001 by Stanford University Press. Her most recent book, The Mother in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Psychoanalysis, Photography, and Deconstruction, was published in 2012 by Fordham University Press. She is also the author of numerous articles in journals such as Yale French Studies, La Revue des sciences humaines, Camera Obscura, Diacritics, L’Esprit créateur, and Autrement.
Professor Marder’s work draws from the frameworks of both psychoanalysis and deconstruction but runs her own unique theoretical thread through the ideas, associations, and images touched upon in her writings. In her first book, Dead Time: Temporal Disorders in the Wake of Modernity (Baudelaire and Flaubert), she argues that by explicitly placing time and temporal structures at the core of their nineteenth century literary works, Baudelaire and Flaubert implicitly provided twentieth and twenty-first century readers with a vocabulary for describing some of the “temporal disorders” that continue to haunt contemporary culture. Inspired by Walter Benjamin’s derivation of the shock experience from his readings of Baudelaire’s poems, Dead Time undertakes literary readings of Les Fleurs du mal and Madame Bovary to find new ways of thinking about the changing experience of lived time in modern and postmodern culture.
In The Mother in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Psychoanalysis, Photography, Deconstruction, Elissa Marder explores her long-standing fascination with the uncanny status of the mother in literature, philosophy, psychoanalysis, film, and photography. Inspired in large part by Avital Ronell’s The Telephone Book, she argues that the maternal body often serves as an unacknowledged reference point for modern media technologies such as photography and the telephone, which attempt to mimic its reproductive properties. As the incarnation of our first relation to the strange exile of language, this book suggests that the mother is an inherently literary figure, whose primal presence in literary texts opens us up to the unspeakable relation to our own birth and, in so doing, helps us give birth to new and fantasmatic images of futures that might otherwise have remained unimaginable.
Most recently, Elissa Marder has begun work on a short book tentatively titled The Dream and the Guillotine: On Psycho-Photography and Other Fixations. Both dreams and the guillotine are related to photography. As Jacques Derrida and others have pointed out, Freud describes the dream work by comparing it to photographic processes. Furthermore, as has been well documented, the machinery and functioning of the guillotine was from the outset persistently identified with photography. The rapidity of the falling blade was likened to the action of the shutter in a camera, the necessary immobilization of the body was similar in both cases, and the guillotine and photography alike seemed to capture the moment at which a living body became fixed into a dead image. Another project, tentatively entitled Poetry By Other Means: Baudelaire’s Afterlife and the late Writings of Walter Benjamin, picks up on some of the questions about poetry and temporality that Marder began to explore in Dead Time and takes them in new directions.
Finally, in Revolutionary Perversions: Literary Sex Acts 1789-1848, she proposes to explore how the traumatic aftermath of the French Revolution shows up in many of the canonical texts of the first half of the nineteenth century in the form of some sort of perverse and sexual secret (incest, impotence, male and female homosexuality, frigidity, transvestitism, masturbation, and prostitution) and suggests that these ostensibly sexual secrets actually disclose hidden textual reflections on politics, history, and the impact of the Terror.
Marder, Elissa. “Chimères.” In Cixous Party. Partie de Cixous, edited by Marie-Dominique Garnier and Joana Masó. Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 2014. ISBN: 2875741373
Die Kraft der Liebe
Marder, Elissa, “Die Kraft der Liebe.” Translated by Gertrude Postl and Elisabeth Schäfer. In Hélène Cixous. Das Lachen der Medusa : zusammen mit aktuellen Beiträgen, edited by Hélène Cixous, Esther Hutfless, Gertrude Postl, and Elisabeth Schäfer. Passagen, 2013. ISBN: 3709200490
Marder, Elissa, “Photolectures.” In Rêver, Croire, Penser autour d’Hélène Cixous, edited by Bruno Clément, Marta Segarra, and Hélène Cixous. Campagne première, 2010. ISBN: 2915789630
The Sexual Animal and the Primal Scene
Marder, Elissa. “The Sexual Animal and the Primal Scene.” In Sexuality and Psychoanalysis. Philosophical Criticisms, edited by Jens de Vleminck and Eran Dorfman. Leuven University Press, 2010. ISBN: 905867844X
Avital Ronell’s Body Politics
Marder, Elissa. “Avital Ronell’s Body Politics.” In Reading Ronell, edited by Davis, D. Diane. University of Illinois Press, 2009. ISBN: 0252076478
Psicoanálisis y más allá
Marder, Elissa. “Psicoanálisis y más allá.” In Jacques Derrida. Pasiones Institucionales, edited by Esther Cohen. UNAM, Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas, Centro de Poética, 2007. ISBN: 9703250505
La Hontise: confusion (psychanalyse)—contagion (Phèdre)—revenants (Muriel)
Marder, Elissa. “La Hontise: confusion (psychanalyse)—contagion (Phèdre)—revenants (Muriel).” In Lire, Écrire la Honte. Actes du Colloque de Cerisy-la-Salle, juin 2003, edited by Bruno Chaouat. Presses universitaires de Lyon, 2007. ISBN: 2729707875
Walter Benjamin’s Dream of ‘Happiness’
Marder, Elissa. “Walter Benjamin’s Dream of ‘Happiness’.” In Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project, edited by Beatrice Hanssen. Continuum, 2006. ISBN: 0826463878
Trauma, Addiction and Temporal Bulimia in Madame Bovary
Marder, Elissa. “Trauma, Addiction and Temporal Bulimia in Madame Bovary.” In High Culture. Reflections on Addiction and Modernity, edited by Anna Alexander and Mark S. Roberts. State University of New York Press, 2002. ISBN: 0791455548
Disarticulated Voices: Feminism and Philomela
Marder, Elissa. “Disarticulated Voices: Feminism and Philomela.” In Language and Liberation. Feminism, Philosophy, and Language, edited by Christina Hendricks and Kelly Oliver. State University of New York Press, 1999. ISBN: 0791440524
The Mother Tongue In Phèdre and Frankenstein
Marder, Elissa. “The Mother Tongue In Phèdre and Frankenstein.” In Autour de Racine. Studies in Intertextuality, edited by Richard E. Goodkin. Yale University Press, 1989. ISBN: 0300045395
The Infinite Taste of the Republic
Marder, Elissa, Jacques Rancière, and Gina Stamm, trans. “The Infinite Taste of the Republic,” by Charles Baudelaire. In Time for Baudelaire. (Poetry, Theory, History), edited by Elissa Marder, Kevin Newmark, and E. S. Burt Yale University Press, 2014. ISBN: 0300194226
From Poetic Justice to Criminal Jouissance: Poetry by Other Means in Baudelaire
Marder, Elissa. “From Poetic Justice to Criminal Jouissance: Poetry by Other Means in Baudelaire.” Time for Baudelaire (Poetry, Theory, History), edited by Burt, E.S., Elissa Marder and Kevin Newmark. Yale French Studies 125 (2014): 69-84.
Force and Translation. Or, The Polymorphous Body of Language
Marder, Elissa. “Force and Translation. Or, The Polymorphous Body of Language.” philoSOPHIA Vol. 3, No. 1, Winter (2013): 1-18.
Marder, Elissa. “Real Dreams.” Southern Journal of Philosophy 51, September (2013): 196-213.
Elissa Marder and Andrew Parker on The Mother in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction : Psychoanalysis, Photography, Deconstruction and The Theorist’s Mother
Marder, Elissa, and Andrew Parker. “Elissa Marder and Andrew Parker on The Mother in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction : Psychoanalysis, Photography, Deconstruction and The Theorist’s Mother.” LA Review of Books, February 28, 2013.
The Elephant and the Scaffold: Response to Kelly Oliver
Marder, Elissa. “The Elephant and the Scaffold: Response to Kelly Oliver.” Southern Journal of Philosophy 50, Issue Supplements 1, September (2012): 95-106.
Dark Room Readings: Scenes of Maternal Photography
Marder, Elissa. “Dark Room Readings: Scenes of Maternal Photography.” The Oxford Literary Review 32 (2010): 231-270.
Ewa Ziarek’s Virtually Impossible Ethics
Marder, Elissa. “Ewa Ziarek’s Virtually Impossible Ethics.” Philosophy Today 54, Supplement (2010): 51-58.
The Sex of Death and the Maternal Crypt
Marder, Elissa. “The Sex of Death and the Maternal Crypt.” Parallax: Inscr(i/y)ptionsVol. 15, Issue 1 (2009): 5-20
Mourning, Magic & Telepathy
Marder, Elissa. “Mourning, Magic & Telepathy.” Oxford Literary Review Vol. 30, No. 2, December (2008): 181-200.
Birthmarks (Given Names)
Marder, Elissa. “Birthmarks (Given Names).” Parallax: Hélène Cixous Vol. 13, No. 3, August (2007): 49-61.
On Psycho-Photography: The Case of Abu Ghraib
Marder, Elissa. “On Psycho-Photography: The Case of Abu Ghraib.” English Language Notes: Literature and Photography Vol. 44, No. 2, Fall/Winter (2006): 231-242.
Back of Beyond: Anxiety and the Birth of the Future
Marder, Elissa. “Back of Beyond: Anxiety and the Birth of the Future.” Philosophy Today: Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy 50, January (2006): 98-105.
Trauma and Literary Studies: Some Enabling Questions
Marder, Elissa. “Trauma and Literary Studies: Some Enabling Questions.” Reading On: Trauma, Memory, and Testimony Vol. I, Issue I, Fall (2006).
La Pierre du rêve : le Bonheur de Walter Benjamin
Marder, Elissa. “La Pierre du rêve : le Bonheur de Walter Benjamin.” Revue des Sciences Humaines: Le Livre imaginaire 266-267 (2002): 175-190.
Nothing to Say: Fragments on the Mother in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Marder, Elissa. “Nothing to Say: Fragments on the Mother in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” L’Esprit Créateur: Writing One’s Own Death Vol. 40, No.1, Spring (2000): 25-35.
Trauma, Addiction, and Temporal Bulimia in Madame Bovary
Marder, Elissa. “Trauma, Addiction, and Temporal Bulimia in Madame Bovary.” Diacritics Vol. 27, No. 3, Fall (1997); 49-64.
Madame Bovary en Amérique
Marder, Elissa. “Madame Bovary en Amérique.” Autrement: Emma Bovary (1997): 79-99.
“Roland Barthes.” and “Jacques Derrida”
Marder, Elissa. “Roland Barthes.” and “Jacques Derrida.” The Encyclopedia Americana, 1993.
Flat Death: Snapshots of History
Marder, Elissa. “Flat Death: Snapshots of History.” Diacritics Vol. 22, No. 3/4, Autumn – Winter (1992): 128-144.
Disarticulated Voices: Feminism and Philomela
Marder, Elissa. “Disarticulated Voices: Feminism and Philomela.” Hypatia Vol. 7, No. 2, Spring (1992): 148-166.
Blade Runner’s Moving Still
Marder, Elissa. “Blade Runner’s Moving Still.” Camera Obscura Vol. 9, No. 3, 27, September (1991): 88-107.