Psychoanalysis
Resources

 email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
A Basic Theory of NeuropsychoanalysisA Cursing Brain?A Dream of Undying FameA Map of the MindAfter LacanAgainst AdaptationAgainst FreudAn Anatomy of AddictionAnalytic FreudAndré Green at the Squiggle FoundationAnger, Madness, and the DaimonicAnna FreudAnna Freud: A BiographyApproaching PsychoanalysisAttachment and PsychoanalysisBadiouBecoming a SubjectBefore ForgivingBerlin PsychoanalyticBetween Emotion and CognitionBeyond GenderBeyond SexualityBeyond the Pleasure PrincipleBiology of FreedomBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBuilding on BionCare of the PsycheCarl JungCassandra's DaughterCherishmentConfusion of TonguesContemporary Psychoanalysis and the Legacy of the Third ReichCrucial Choices, Crucial ChangesCulture and Conflict in Child and Adolescent Mental HealthDarwin's WormsDesert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974)Dispatches from the Freud WarsDoes the Woman Exist?Doing Psychoanalysis in TehranDreaming and Other Involuntary MentationDreaming by the BookEnergy Psychology InteractiveEqualsErrant SelvesEthics and the Discovery of the UnconsciousEthics Case Book of the American Psychoanalytic AssociationFairbairn's Object Relations Theory in the Clinical SettingFed with Tears -- Poisoned with MilkFeminism and Its DiscontentsForms of Intersubjectivity in Infant Reasearch and Adult TreatmentFour Lessons of PsychoanalysisFratricide in the Holy LandFreudFreudFreudFreudFreudFreudFreud and the Question of PseudoscienceFreud As PhilosopherFreud at 150Freud's AnswerFreud's WizardFreud, the Reluctant PhilosopherFrom Classical to Contemporary PsychoanalysisFundamentals of Psychoanalytic TechniqueGenes on the CouchGoing SaneHans BellmerHappiness, Death, and the Remainder of LifeHate and Love in Psychoanalytical InstitutionsHatred and ForgivenessHealing the Soul in the Age of the BrainHeinz KohutHeinz KohutHidden MindsHistory of ShitHope and Dread in PsychoanalysisImagination and Its PathologiesImagine There's No WomanIn Freud's TracksIn SessionIn the Floyd ArchivesIntimaciesIntimate RevoltIrrationalityIs Oedipus Online?Jacques LacanJacques Lacan and the Freudian Practice of PsychoanalysisJung and the Making of Modern PsychologyJung Stripped BareKilling FreudLacanLacanLacanLacan and Contemporary FilmLacan at the SceneLacan For BeginnersLacan in AmericaLacan TodayLacan's Seminar on AnxietyLawLearning from Our MistakesLove's ExecutionerMad Men and MedusasMale Female EmailMelanie KleinMemoirs of My Nervous IllnessMental SlaveryMind to MindMixing MindsMoral StealthMourning and ModernityMovies and the MindMurder in ByzantiumNew Studies of Old VillainsNocturnesNoir AnxietyOn Being Normal and Other DisordersOn BeliefOn IncestOn Not Being Able to SleepOn the Freud WatchOn the Way HomeOpen MindedOpera's Second DeathOvercoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and BehaviorsPhenomology & Lacan on Schizophrenia, After the Decade of the BrainPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPractical Psychoanalysis for Therapists and PatientsPsychiatry, Psychoanalysis, And The New Biology Of MindPsychoanalysisPsychoanalysis and Narrative MedicinePsychoanalysis and NeurosciencePsychoanalysis and the Philosophy of SciencePsychoanalysis as Biological SciencePsychoanalysis at the MarginsPsychoanalysis at the MarginsPsychoanalysis in a New LightPsychoanalysis in FocusPsychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human RelationshipsPsychotherapy As PraxisPutnam CampQuestions for FreudRe-Inventing the SymptomReading Seminar XXReinventing the SoulRelational Theory and the Practice of PsychotherapyRelationalityRepressed SpacesRevolt, She SaidSecrets of the SoulSerious ShoppingSex on the CouchSexuationSigmund FreudSoul Murder RevisitedSpectral EvidenceSpirit, Mind, and BrainStrangers to OurselvesSubjective Experience and the Logic of the OtherSubjectivity and OthernessSubstance Abuse As SymptomSurrealist Painters and PoetsTaboo SubjectsTalk is Not EnoughThe Art of the SubjectThe Brain and the Inner WorldThe Brain, the Mind and the SelfThe Cambridge Companion to LacanThe Challenge for Psychoanalysis and PsychotherapyThe Clinical LacanThe Colonization Of Psychic SpaceThe Condition of MadnessThe Couch and the TreeThe Cruelty of DepressionThe Dissociative Mind in PsychoanalysisThe Dreams of InterpretationThe Examined LifeThe Fall Of An IconThe Freud EncyclopediaThe Freud FilesThe Freud WarsThe Fright of Real TearsThe Future of PsychoanalysisThe Gift of TherapyThe Heart & Soul of ChangeThe Knotted SubjectThe Last Good FreudianThe Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto RankThe Mind According to ShakespeareThe Mystery of PersonalityThe Mythological UnconsciousThe Neuropsychology of the UnconsciousThe New PsychoanalysisThe Power of FeelingsThe Psychoanalytic MovementThe Psychoanalytic MysticThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Puppet and the DwarfThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Revolt of the PrimitiveThe Seminar of Moustafa SafouanThe Sense and Non-Sense of RevoltThe Shortest ShadowThe Social History of the UnconsciousThe Surface EffectThe Symmetry of GodThe Tragedy of the SelfThe Trainings of the PsychoanalystThe UnsayableThe World of PerversionTherapeutic ActionTherapy's DelusionsThis Incredible Need to BelieveThoughts Without A ThinkerTo Redeem One Person Is to Redeem the WorldTrauma and Human ExistenceTraumatizing TheoryUmbr(a)Unconscious knowing and other essays in psycho-philosophical analysisUnderstanding Dissidence and Controversy in the History of PsychoanalysisUnderstanding PsychoanalysisUnfree AssociationsWalking HeadsWay Beyond FreudWhat Does a Woman Want?What Freud Really MeantWhen the Body SpeaksWhere Do We Fall When We Fall in Love?Whose Freud?Why Psychoanalysis?Wilhelm ReichWinnicottWinnicott On the ChildWisdom Won from IllnessWittgenstein on Freud and FrazerWittgenstein Reads FreudWorld, Affectivity, TraumaZizek

Related Topics
The Shortest ShadowReview - The Shortest Shadow
Nietzsche's Philosophy of the Two
by Alenka Zupancic
Zone Books, 2003
Review by Matthew Ray
Feb 12th 2004 (Volume 8, Issue 7)

   Although Nietzsche's fragmentary and ambiguous writings have not infrequently been subjected to what we can call a 'deconstructive' reading (by Jacques Derrida in Spurs, Paul De Man in Allegories of Reading, Phillippe Lacoue-Labarthe in 'The Detour' and 'Apocryphal Nietzsche', for instance), they have nonetheless been comparatively untouched by a specifically Lacanian psychoanalysis. Not any more: Alenka Zupanic's The Shortest Shadow: Nietzsche's Philosophy of the Two is -- caveat lector -- almost as much about Lacan as it is about Nietzsche himself. The fairly lengthy appendix, by means of illustration, is not connected with Nietzsche at all. And some of the themes and figures of the book arguably owe more to the concerns of modern French philosophers such as Badiou or the (later) Deleuze than they do to Nietzsche himself (the notorious Heideggerean interpretation of Nietzsche is not relied upon, however). Prospective readers of The Shortest Shadow might like to know this broadly Lacanian orientation prior to purchase, as it is not really suggested by the title. Now, the encroachment of Lacanian themes into Nietzsche may, no doubt, be seen by some potential readers as a bit of an intrusion. But is it a fruitful one?

    To some extent, yes: on the positive side, Zupanic covers a wide range of Nietzsche's texts in The Shortest Shadow, unusually including his poetry as well as his prose in her comprehensive reading. And her analysis of the later Nietzsche on the 'ascetic ideal' was incisive, bringing the notion to bear on modern cultural preoccupations in a highly plausible way. Also, her knowledge of the Lacan corpus is impressive and she writes in an unlaboured style throughout. Plus, she references contemporary art and culture in a frequently accessible way. On the negative side, though, there are what this reviewer regards as certain inaccuracies of Nietzsche-interpretation. For example, in the course of examining various of Nietzsche's theories and ideas, Zupanic's conviction (meant as support for the idea that Nietzschean subjectivity is split in two), that there is no relation between Dionysis and 'the Crucified' (both of whom Nietzsche identified with, p.18, suggesting a fissure in 'his' subjectivity), though perhaps understandable in that it follows Deleuze's influential monograph on Nietzsche as well as Nietzsche's own misleading self-interpretation in Ecce Homo, is nonetheless mistaken, as, for the early Nietzsche, Dionysis and the Crucified are surprisingly very closely related (on this see, for example, M. S. Silk and J. P. Stern, Nietzsche on Tragedy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 121, 213 and 287; in addition, J. Young, Nietzsche's Philosophy of Art (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 49). Also, Zupanic's position that 'Nietzsche defines nihilism as the psychological state that makes us search for meaning or sense in everything that happens' (p.153) would seemingly include Christians as nihilists, whereas in fact for Nietzsche European nihilism begins after, and precisely because of, the decline of faith in the Christian God (the first sections of the collection of posthumously published notes by Nietzsche assembled under the title The Will to Power make this clear). It is the underlying feeling of meaninglessness, and not the simple desire for meaning, which characterises nihilism. Also, Zupanic's characterisation of the notorious 'slave revolt in morals' described in Beyond Good and Evil and particularly in On the Genealogy of Morality as the 'masters' giving names and the 'herd', on the other hand, fighting 'for the interpretation of these names' (p.44) seemed to me to be a completely unsustainable position as a reading of Nietzsche. After all, it is the slaves and not the masters who are said by Nietzsche to invent the very designation 'evil'. Moreover, Nietzsche says in the first essay of On the Genealogy of Morality: 'The herd instinct […] finally gets its word in (and makes words)' [Diethe translation, Cambridge University Press, p.13]. Nietzsche further writes that the slave revolt in morals is a 'workshop where ideals are fabricated' [Ibid. p.31]. It follows from such remarks as these by Nietzsche that, contra Zupanic, the herd are not only just as linguistically and conceptually inventive as the masters; they are much more so.

    Furthermore, Zupanic's statement that 'knowledge is structured like desire […] Every new discovery is thus accompanied by the feeling that […] it is always possible to go further' (p.106) seems similarly unNietzschean. For Nietzsche, the notable characteristic of knowledge is that it is felt as a stable foundation by its seekers: it is seen as an intrinsic good, valuable in itself; an unconditioned reality external to people that will function as a final place of contemplative rest (I have borrowed heavily here from the analysis in Peter Poellner's most meticulously argued Nietzsche and Metaphysics (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995) pp.114-117). Indeed, at one point in On the Genealogy of Morality Nietzsche refers to ''knowledge', 'truth', 'being', as an escape from every aim, every wish' [Diethe translation, pp.103-104]. Nietzsche's claim that 'knowledge' is an escape from every aim, every wish seems, to say the least, irreconcilable with Zupanic's Lacanian remark that 'knowledge is structured like desire'.

     Doubtful interpretations of Nietzsche such as those mentioned above seemed to this reviewer to mar the project of jointly reading Lacan and Nietzsche, perhaps even to suggest that there is little in the way of philosophical relation between the two authors. For Nietzsche, Dionysis and the crucified are not necessarily always to be seen as testimony to a split; and knowledge is more like an anaesthetic than a desire. Nevertheless, should readers who are already positively oriented toward Lacan wish to see Nietzsche read alongside Lacan, The Shortest Shadow: Nietzsche's Philosophy of the Two accomplishes the task deftly, and in some style, although, as I have suggested, arguably at a cost to the precise recovery of Nietzsche's own energetically disturbing thought.

 

© 2004 Matthew Ray

    

 Matthew Ray, Bristol, UK


Share

Welcome to MHN's unique book review site Metapsychology. We feature over 7900 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than thirty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Can't remember our URL? Access our reviews directly via 'metapsychology.net'


Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from Amazon.com for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your Amazon.com purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!


Join our e-mail list!: Metapsychology New Review Announcements: Sent out monthly, these announcements list our recent reviews. To subscribe, click here.

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? Currently, we especially need thoughtful reviewers for books in fiction, self-help and popular psychology. To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716