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The First Wound: Duty and Desire in the Gender Wars


Heidi White


Presented at the CiRCE National Conference 2023.

When the Serpent uttered his insidious question, “Did God really say ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the Garden’?”, he drove a fundamental wedge between duty and desire, which became the primal wound of the human soul. In the calamitous moment when Eve sank her teeth into the forbidden fruit, she instituted a cosmic rupture between what humans ought to do and what we want to do. The first manifestation of this primal wound is marital; Adam and Eve turn on one another, and men and women continue to reenact this First Wound throughout time and cultures. In this talk, Heidi White traces the disaster of Eden in the interactions of men and women in history and myth, presenting a meaningful vision of created, fallen, and redeemed masculinity and femininity.