When I decided to explore the question of Witz, or wit, with you this year, I undertook a small enquiry. It will come as no surprise at all that I began by questioning a poet. This is a poet who introduces the dimension of an especially playful wit that runs through his work, as much in his prose as in more poetic forms, and which he brings into play even when he happens to be talking about mathematics, for he is also a mathematician. I am referring to Raymond Queneau. While we were exchanging our first remarks on the matter he told me a joke. It’s a joke about exams, about the university entrance exams, if you like. We have a candidate and we have an examiner. – “Tell me”, says the examiner, “about the battle of Marengo.” The candidate pauses for a moment, with a dreamy air. “The battle of Marengo...? Bodies everywhere! It’s terrible... Wounded everywhere! It’s horrible...” “But”, says the examiner, “Can’t you tell me anything more precise about this battle?” The candidate thinks for a moment, then replies, “A horse rears up on its hind legs and whinnies.” The examiner, surprised, seeks to test him a little further and says, “In that case, can you tell me about the battle of Fontenoy?” “Oh!” says the candidate, “a horse rears up on its hind legs and whinnies.” The examiner, strategically, asked the candidate to talk about the battle of Trafalgar. The candidate replies, “Dead everywhere! A blood bath.... Wounded everywhere! Hundreds of them....” “But my good man, can’t you tell me anything more precise about this battle?” “A horse...” “Excuse me, I would have you note that the battle of Trafalgar is a naval battle.” “Whoah! Whoah!” says the candidate. “Back up, Neddy!” The value of this joke is, to my mind, that it enables us to decompose, I believe, what is at stake in a witticism. (Extract from Chapter VI)
This is the first book in English to explore in detail the genesis and consequences of Lacan's concept of the 'Real', providing readers with an invaluable key to one of the most influential ideas of modern times.
Lacanian Fantasy addresses the question of how fantasy developed as a psychological concept, particularly as influenced by Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan. Kirk Turner moves thematically, from childhood to adulthood, and chronologically, from Freud’s earliest theories to Lacan’s most complex statements on fantasy towards the end of his career. He explores not only the variations that the concept has undergone throughout its history – from Ancient Greek discourse around phantasia to the present day – but also the changing consequences of its applications. Lacanian Fantasy includes further insights on our current predicament: the age of the social media image and fantasy in the uncertain ‘locked down’ world of a pandemic. Spanning numerous examples, both historical and recent, this book explores relatable forms of fantasy life. In bridging psychology and philosophy, as well as gender and sexuality studies, it ultimately opens new perspectives on fantasy. This book will be of interest to psychoanalytic practitioners and humanities scholars, as well as students interested in critical theory.
Shows how feminist writing in British Romanticism developed alternatives to linear time. Feminist writers in British Romanticism often developed alternatives to linear time. Viewing time as a system of social control, writers like Mary Wollstonecraft, Anna Barbauld, and Mary Shelley wrote about current events as if they possessed knowledge from the future. Fracture Feminism explores this tradition with a perspective informed by Lacanian psychoanalysis and Derridean deconstruction, showing how time can be imagined to contain a hidden fracture—and how that fracture, when claimed as a point of view, could be the basis for an emancipatory politics. Arguing that the period's most radical experiments in undoing time stemmed from the era's discourses of gender and women's rights, Fracture Feminism asks: to what extent could women "belong" to their historical moment, given their political and social marginalization? How would voices from the future interrupt the ordinary procedures of political debate? What if utopia were understood as a time rather than a place, and its time were already inside the present? David Sigler is Associate Professor of English at the University of Calgary. He is the author of Sexual Enjoyment in British Romanticism: Gender and Psychoanalysis, 1753–1835, and coeditor (with Daniela Garofalo) of Lacan and Romanticism, also published by SUNY Press.
This book explores how Jacques Lacan has influenced Black Studies from the 1950s to the present day, and in turn how a Black Studies framework challenges the topographies of Lacanianism in its understanding of race. David Marriott examines how a contemporary Black Studies perspective might respond to the psychoanalysis of race by taking advantage of the recent revitalization of Lacanianism in its speculative, metaphysical form. While the philosophical side of the debate makes a plea for a new universalism, this book proposes a Lacanian reassessment of the notion of race, a notion distinct from culture, language, religion, and identity. It argues that it is possible to re-establish the theoretical relation between capitalism, anti-blackness, and colonialism, by reassessing the links between Lacanian psychoanalysis and three main domains of black inquiry: mastery, knowledge, and embodiment. The book offers a strikingly original rereading of the place of Lacan in both Fanon Studies and Afro-pessimism. It will appeal to students and scholars of Black Studies, Cultural Studies, Critical Theory and Philosophy.
Steeped in Lacanian theory, this book is the first of its kind to present a longitudinal approach to the study of hysteria. In these 21 seminars Dr Melman leads us from the first records of hysteria to Freud’s major discovery of the principal concepts of trauma, incompatibility, repression and the unconscious. Peppered with invaluable clinical examples, the author guides readers through difficult concepts as he links hysteria to the birth of psychoanalysis itself, and demonstrates how the reader may become implicated in this discourse. Capturing Melman’s indomitable spirit, Studies on Hysteria Revisited will be an important read for graduate students, clinicians, and those in psychoanalytic formation.
This book provides 18 lively commentaries on Lacan’s Seminar VIII, Transference (1960-61) that explore its theoretical and philosophical consequences in the clinic, the classroom, and society. Including contributions from clinicians as well as scholars working in philosophy, literature, and culture studies, the commentaries presented here represent a wide-range of disciplinary perspectives on the concept of transference. Some chapters closely follow the structure of the seminar’s sessions, while others take up thematic concerns or related sessions such as the commentary on sessions 19 to 22 which deal with Lacan’s discussion of Claudel’s Coûfontaine trilogy. This book is not a compendium to Lacan’s seminar. Instead it attempts to capture through shorter contributions a spectrum of voices debating, deliberating, and learning with Lacan’s concept. In doing so it can be seen to engage with transference conceptually in a manner that matches the spirit of Lacan’s seminar itself. The book will provide an invaluable new resource for Lacan scholars working across the fields of psychoanalytic theory, clinical psychology, philosophy and cultural studies.
Taking a deep dive into contemporary Western culture, this book suggests we are all fundamentally ambivalent beings. A great deal has been written about how to love – to be kinder, more empathic, a better person, and so on. But trying to love without dealing with our ambivalence, with our hatred, is often a recipe for failure. Any attempt, therefore, to love our neighbour as ourselves – or even, for that matter, to love ourselves – must recognise that we love where we hate and we hate where we love. Psychoanalysis, beginning with Freud, has claimed that to be in two minds about something or someone is characteristic of human subjectivity. Owens and Swales trace the concept of ambivalence through its various iterations in Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis in order to question how the contemporary subject deals with its ambivalence. They argue that experiences of ambivalence are, in present-day cultural life, increasingly excised or foreclosed, and that this foreclosure has symptomatic effects at the individual as well as social level. Owens and Swales examine ambivalence as it is at work in mourning, in matters of sexuality, and in our enjoyment under neoliberalism and capitalism. Above all, the authors consider how today’s ambivalent subject relates to the racially, religiously, culturally, or sexually different neighbour as a result of the current societal dictate of complete tolerance of the other. In this vein, Owens and Swales argue that ambivalence about one’s own jouissance is at the very roots of xenophobia. Peppered with relevant and stimulating examples from clinical work, film, television, politics, and everyday life, Psychoanalysing Ambivalence breathes new life into an old concept and will appeal to any reader, academic, or clinician with an interest in psychoanalytic ideas.
This is the first collection of essays to offer a comprehensive analysis of, and reflection on, the major themes emergent in Jacques Lacan’s seminars of 1955-56 and 1956-57: Seminar IV – the object relation, and Seminar V – formations of the unconscious. Assessing the value of a clinical approach orientated around the question of the object lack in the contemporary clinic, the book comprises 16 chapters which follow the development of a range of concepts elaborated by Lacan in these seminars, including sustained engagement with his critique of object relations theory. It considers the effectiveness of these early ideas in clinical practice in relation to hysteria, phobia, fetishism, obsessional neurosis, and of the so-called "Borderline" case. Lacan’s early concepts are also subjected to critique for engagement with Queer theory, and research in asexuality or the operation(s) of the signifier Phallus. The chapters build to provide an invaluable resource to interpret and evaluate Lacan’s early teaching, and to find in his early concepts a fresh utility and scope for both clinical work and psychoanalytic research and enquiry. The book will be of great interest to Lacanian scholars and students, as well as psychoanalytic therapists, and analysts interested in Lacan’s early work.
This book sets out to determine the validity of an accusation made against Jacques Lacan by Noam Chomsky in an interview in 1989. He stated that Lacan was a “charlatan” – not that his ideas were flawed or wrong, but that his entire discourse was fraudulent, an accusation that has since been repeated by many other critics. Examining the arguments of key anti-Lacanian critics, Mathews weighs and contextualizes the legitimacy of Lacan’s engagements with structural linguistics, mathematical formalization, science, ethics, Hegelian dialectics, and psychoanalysis. The guiding thread is Lacan’s own recurrent interrogation of authority, which inhabits an ambiguous zone between mastery and charlatanry. This book offers a novel contribution to the field for students and scholars of psychoanalysis, philosophy, sociology, critical and literary theory.
The second volume in the Studying Lacan’s Seminars series, this book is the first comprehensive study of Lacan’s Seminar VI: Desire and its Interpretation. A natural companion to Bruce Fink’s recent translation of the seminar into English (2019), this book offers a genuine opportunity to delve deeply into the seminar, and a hospitable introduction to Lacan’s teachings of the 1950s. This important book brings together various aspects of Cox Cameron’s teachings and systematic, careful, and critical readings of Seminar VI. Lacan’s theorizing and conceptualizing of the object a, the fundamental fantasy, and aphanisis, as well as the ambiguous treatment of the phallus in his work at the time, are all introduced, contextualized, and explored in detail. The trajectories of his thinking are traced in terms of future developments and elaborations in the seminars that follow closely on the heels of Seminar VI – Seminars VII (Ethics of Psychoanalysis), VIII (Transference), IX (Identification), and X (Anxiety). Consideration is also given to how certain themes and motifs are recapitulated or reworked in his later teachings such as in Seminars XX (Encore), and XXIII (The Sinthome). Also included in this volume are two further essays by Cox Cameron, a most valuable critique of the concept of the phallus in Lacan’s theories of the 1950s, and an overview of Seminar VI originally presented as a keynote address to the APW congress in Toronto 2014. The book is of great interest to Lacanian scholars and students, as well as psychoanalytic therapists and analysts interested in Lacan’s teachings of the 1950s and in how important concepts developed during this period are treated in his later work.