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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 MindPsychoanalysisPsychoanalysisPsychoanalysis 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 Arabic FreudThe 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 Late Sigmund FreudThe 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
Re-Inventing the Symptom is
a collection of essays dealing with the last period of Jacques Lacan's
teaching, with particular emphasis on his 1975-1976 seminar on Le Sinthome.
As Luke Thurston points out in his Introduction, this is a particularly
problematic period of Lacan's work for Anglo-American readers, given the
current legal embargo on Lacan's oeuvre, and the lack of translations (a
situation, it should be remarked (which not only affects not only
English-speaking readers.) To this unavailability is added Lacan's own taste
for obscurity and willful difficulty, which has turned the interpretation of
his gnomic dicta into somewhat of an interdisciplinary cottage industry.
Indeed, much of the current work on Lacan comes from the field of literary
studies, (Luke Thurston himself is a Research Fellow in Languages and
Literature at Cambridge), a fact which proves less surprising given Lacan's
emphasis on language, and his penchant for literary and philosophical allusion.
The seminar on Le Sinthome, in fact, was devoted to James Joyce, whom Lacan
diagnosed as a psychotic.
The collection opens with a joint
article by Dominiek Hoens and Ed Pluth, 'The sinthome: A New Way of Writing and
Old Problem?', in which they locate Lacan's work on Joyce within a
chronological frame, and argue that it must be seen as the result of the
evolution of his long-term work on psychosis.
In 'Illiterature', Dany Nobus
examines a body of marginal or digressive Lacanian texts – in particular, the
famous 'Lituraterre' – in order to show how the way in which Lacan articulated
the problem of textual interpretation with that of clinical practic changed
over the development of his theoretical edifice.
As opposed to Hoens's and Pluth's
emphasis on the continuity within Lacan's oeuvre, Roberto Harari argues
in 'The sinthome: Turbulence and Dissipation', that in his last period a new
modality of psychoanalytic theory, different from all his previous work. Beyond
Lacan's well-known interest in topology, Harari somewhat unconvincingly
attempts to link this latter development of Lacanian thought to contemporary
physics, in particular to chaos theory.
In 'Lacan's Analytic Goal: Le sinthome
or the Feminine Way' Paul Verhaeghe and Frédéric Declercq examine how Lacan's
account of femininity is affected by his development of the concept of the sinthome.
In particular, they claim that Lacan's work on the Borromean knot clarifies
his theorizing on sexual difference, and entails an understanding of what
constitutes a subject and what the aims of analysis are.
'Weaving a Trans-subjective Tress
or the Matrixial sinthome' is probably the weakest esssay in the
collection. In it, Bracha Lichtenberg-Ettinger attempts to provide a reading of
Lacan's work on Joyce from the perspective of contemporary aesthetics. Her
claim is that underlying the Lacanian conception of the subject is an unstated
sexual-political agenda: namely, the linking of the subject to a phallic,
masculine version of the body. According to Lichtenberg-Ettinger, the notion of
the sinthome would make amends for Lacan's phallocentric previous
theorizing, opening a liminal, unthinkable space where sexual difference ceases
to exist. In order to sustain this thesis, Lichtenberg-Ettinger resorts to her
own, rather fuzzy concept of the 'matrix', which seems rather unrelated to the
matter at hand since it appears to apply mostly to the visual arts.
'Acephalic Litter as a Phallic Letter',
by Véronique Voruz deals with the Lacanian notion of the non-readerly (or
simply, as some would have it, unreadable) écrit as similar to the
notoriously intricate Joycean body of work. By showing how Lacan used readings
of Joyce at different points in his teaching, Voruz claims that the Lacanian
reading of Joyce was not a recurring sideline, but rather constituted the
matrix for crucial advances in Lacan's thought.
Finally, Philip Dravers aims in 'In
the Wake of Interpretation' to relate the question of the unreadable écrit to
wider questions of literary interpretation and cultural analysis. By examining
the relation between language and jouissance that is captured in the notion of lalangue,
Dravers outlines a literary trajectory in Lacan's work that moves from his
early reading of Hamlet to his late work on Joyce.
© 2004 Asunción Álvarez
Asunción Álvarez, M.A. is an MPhil/PhD
student in the Philosophy of Psychology programme at King's College London. Her
main research interests are intentionality and mental representation, as well
as the conceptual underpinnings of current psychological theory and practice.
She is currently working on a thesis on mental representation and trauma.