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The essay aims to draw out what Lacan says concerning comedy in Seminar V, and how it relates there to his thinking at this stage of his oeuvre concerning the signification of the phallus. Lacan himself laments in Seminar VII the “little time” that his wider concerns have allowed him to devote to the manifold registers and phenomena of comedy. Alenka Zupancic’s extraordinary work The Odd One In: On Comedy has amply shown the rich potential Lacan’s thought as a whole has as to theorise these phenomena in the dimensions of subjectivity, temporality, repetition and the drive. Here, focussing centrally on Lacan’s (itself quite hilarious) analysis of Genet’s Le Balcon, we will draw out four particular claims Lacan makes concerning comedy in Seminar V. Taken together, we will hope to show, they represent a typically remarkable contribution to the theory of comedy, its motives and nature, as “linked in the closest possible fashion to what can be called the connection between the self and language”, and hence to the Freudian field as reconfigured by Lacan. 2014/09/12 - 07:53

Perhaps the most pressing challenge for anyone who attempts to construct an analytic practice with the material and means of mathematics is to justify the relation the two fields share with one another... 2013/03/10 - 11:58

Speech brings us to the knot. 2013/03/10 - 11:58

To rescue the knot from a formal abyss, we begin by including its presentation as crucial to its identification and existence. 2013/03/10 - 11:58

Topological objects seem to me to be a bricolage, as possibilities of bricolage. 2013/03/10 - 11:58

Lacan introduces his reference to Marx as follows: “I will proceed with a homological outlook based on Marx in order to introduce today the place where we need to situate the essential function of object a.”1 I would like to specifically focus on this notion of homology for two main reasons: First, because this is how Lacan subsequently describes the relation between surplus value, and surplus jouissance; and second, because the term homology, the emphasis on the shared logic in the Freudian and the Marxian field, exemplifies the specificity of Lacan’s approach in difference to other attempts to link, in one way or another, psychoanalysis with Marxism. 2013/03/10 - 11:58

A very real problem exists: the suffering, the anxiety and the violence to which an autistic person sadly bears witness and the turmoil experienced by certain families as they attempt to deal with the emotional and educational problems of their family member as well as the attendant economic burdens. 2013/03/10 - 11:58

The title of this collection of essays, “Sign of the Times”, has a distinctly 1980s feel to it. Not only because of the eponymous Prince song that captured the bleak situation at the end of 1980s, but also because the reference to signs and semiotics seems about as cutting-edge today as psychoanalysis, or psychoanalytic criticism, would appear to be… In those now far-away 1980s both semiotics and psychoanalysis were still considered pilot sciences for the humanities, in France and everywhere else where French Theory reigned. Freud and Lacan were considered essential reading for scholars throughout the humanities: as Google’s Ngram viewer neatly demonstrates, the absolute peak of Freud citations in English books can be found between 1980 and 2000. However, already in his inaugural Leçon at Collège de France in 1977, Roland Barthes warned his readers that it would be unwise to hedge one’s bets on psychoanalysis on the stock market of theories. This advice seems even more sound thirty years later. 2012/01/07 - 12:27

An interview with Paul Verhaeghe, Chair of the Psychoanalysis Department at Ghent University, Belgium. 2012/01/07 - 12:27

The anecdote is a slippery knowledge maker, its politics suspect. On the one hand, it claims the authority of the first person, of presence. But this "I was there" aspect of anecdotal knowledge brings with it the force of an authority and the undoing of that authority in equal measure. While anecdote traffics in the authority of the personal witness, its undoing emerges in its lack of verification - the singularity of that witness. Indeed, it is through this very lack that anecdote as such comes to be. Anecdote is fundamentally unverifiable; if it were verified, vetted, it would cease to be anecdotal. 2012/01/07 - 12:27

Working at the very limits of psychoanalysis and (Derridean inspired) phenomenology, the Nancy School cleared a new path for French phenomenology. They sharpened its edge and renewed its meaning-effects, without falling prey to the 'religious turn' that laid claim to most French phenomenologists, from Levinas to Marion, and possibly also Derrida. Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy, in any case, have been fighting on the political front just as vigorously as on fronts of religion and anthropological knowledges. Whatever minimal differences we might observe in Lacoue-Labarthe's and Nancy's reading of Freud and Lacan, they probably owe to Freud the distance they have taken to the religious itself. We might see a confirmation of this point in the analysis Nancy recently gave of Freud's global impact to a Japanese audience: "the Freudian invention is the most clearly and resolutely unreligious of modern inventions. It is also for this reason that it cannot even believe in itself." Conversely, we could say that it is precisely when psychoanalysis started to believe in itself that it became imperative to make it see its delusion, whether religious or not, and that is what Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe have tried to do with Lacan's work. For that reason, I propose to approach their multi-faceted oeuvre from a very specific angle: their relationship to Lacanian psychoanalysis. 2012/01/07 - 12:27

Unlike Lacan and Deleuze, Jung has the considerable advantage that almost everyone has forgotten about him. Northrop Frye's archetypal criticism is passé and continental theory, except perhaps for Deleuze, still obediently follows Freud's ban against his former ally in the early days of psychoanalysis. For cultural studies, the Jungian territories are unclaimed land and free to explore. Jung's sporadic digressions on astrology or alchemy also prevent one from taking him too seriously. But the most advantageous aspect of Jung's theory is his approach of the unconscious as an almost inexhaustible reservoir of actors and landscapes, a dramaturgy of affects and sensations that far exceeds the Freudian family drama with its limited set of familiar, always human characters. This versatility — even if, as we will see, it is somewhat eclipsed by Jung's later theory of the unconscious archetypes — makes Jungian analysis a perfect tool to deal with the rich imaginary worlds we explore when we read. Moreover, Jung's notion of active imagination, which I will discuss later, forces the literary critic to abandon the fallacy of being an outsider to the text. Jung's geographical view on the working of the unconscious makes clear that the reader is already part of the literary space he or she explores and becomes an actor in the reading process, which transforms both reader and text. 2012/01/07 - 12:27

With this paper I aim to retrace their shared trajectory and to point out why and how psychoanalysis can still be of great use to the study of mythology. This, however, also implies a reflection on psychoanalysis's status as a system of knowledge. Two models will present themselves: a) psychoanalytic theory as an allegorical interpretation of myth, functioning as a master discourse, and b) psychoanalysis as a discourse analogical to mythology, operating on the same level. In a time where Freud's statement is so often echoed as a reproach, it may be worth reconsidering psychoanalysis's relatedness to myth as something to embrace. 2012/01/07 - 12:27

Ever since the beginnings of psychoanalysis, the analysis of the processes involved in artistic creation and of the imaginary structures that the work of art inscribes in representation has given rise to constant solicitations and important borrowings. Besides Sophocles and his Oedipus, Freud has solicited Jensen's Gradiva, Michelangelo's Moses, Leonardo's work, Shakespeare, the folklore of tales, and he has borrowed unreservedly from the common inheritance of German literature, from Goethe to Heine. The development of literary criticism as a specific scientific field does not seem to have received much benefit from a potential constitution of psychoanalysis in return. The purpose here will not be to raise the question of the legitimacy, in literary analysis, of an analytical investigation aiming at the discovery of a neurosis or a particular complex in a character or an author. In France, this type of analysis, if not totally banned, has fallen into discredit with the university institution that has now taken its stand in stark denial of psychoanalysis, which it hardly tolerates as a separate field, entirely cut off from the other social sciences and humanities. 2012/01/07 - 12:27

In this paper, we shall try to examine the nature of the difficulty encountered by the early Freud of bringing about individual and social change. Was Freud correct in attributing the apparent therapeutic impotence of knowledge to resistances on the part of the patient rather than perhaps to other factors (e.g., the expectations of the analyst, the therapeutic setting, knowledge itself, etc.)? To what extent did these early difficulties signal the failure of psychoanalysis as a practice? And, if they did—as Freud's increasing therapeutic pessimism suggested—how to explain the disproportionate success of its theory? Today, a century after Freud expressed his disappointment, the question of the therapeutic value of psychoanalysis continues to be debated, as well as the broader issue of its social role and engagement. 2012/01/07 - 12:27

An interview with Christopher Bollas, author of The Shadow of the Object (New York, Columbia UP, 1989), Cracking Up (London and New York: Routledge, 2003), The Christopher Bollas Reader, ed. Arne Jemstedt (2011). 2012/01/07 - 12:27

This paper argues that Jean-Claude Milner’s interpretation of Lacan’s materialism as incomplete or failed is erroneous, and considers instead how Lacan’s theory models the kinds of things a dialectical materialism is about: the interaction between thinking and being. Quentin Meillassoux’s recent attempt to revive materialism is considered by way of contrast, and Saussure’s anagram project is used as an illustration of the idea of lalangue, which is my main tool against Milner’s reading of Lacan. 2011/03/07 - 02:13