ABSTRACT

As a paradigm, Lacan's description of the mirror stage is so familiar as to read like a trope, the projection backward of a myth of origin rather than a developmental narrative mimetically related to the process it describes. I would like here to make it strange by making it plot. If the

mirror stage is not necessarily the biography of every child, it is precisely that of Spenser's Britomart, who falls in love with Artegall's magically generated reflection and disguises herself as a knight in order to pursue it. Like Lacan's subject, she looks in a mirror, sees a fully articulated image of agency, is caught up in a succession of fantasies-and takes on "the armour of an alienating identity" in order to become what she desires.