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Qui Parle, Volume 9, Number 2, Spring/Summer 1996

Vol. 9 | No. 2 | Spring/Summer 1996


    Special Issue on Lacan

The Strut of Vision: Seeing's Somatic Support
Joan Copjec

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

If anything has stirred American academics in the last several years, it's the much-trumpeted observation that bodies matter. This observation has produced a veritable cornucopia of corporeal kinds. Volumes have been written and compiled on bodies, all carefully zoned, peeled open layer by layer, categorized by function (as in: the embodied observer, the embodied speaker, the embodied judge –– you get the picture), differentiated by class, racialized, genitalized (notice, I didn't say sexualized), and just basically scrutinized in all the nooks and crannies of their differences from some abstract, idealized form. This unairbrushing and proliferation of bodily forms harbors the belief that it was a misguided focus on the signifier that led us down the ideologically retrograde, if illusorily rosy, path of decorporealization. Analysis of our world as a system of signifying relations yielded, we are told, merely ideal subjects: projected points of comprehension or enunciation, absolutely abstract, detached from bodies and all their powers, limitations, and demands.

Read now at JSTOR


Phenomenologies of the Surface: Radiation-Body-Image
Akira Mizuta Lippit

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

During the night of July 23-24, 1895, Sigmund Freud dreamt of "Irma." Following a near-catastrophic misdiagnosis earlier that year, Freud's confidence had been greatly shattered. The case, which almost resulted in the death of Emma Eckstein, had reopened Freud's primal wound, rupturing the delicate tissues that separated, in Freud's thought, the psychic from organic body. The crisis had threatened the very foundation of Freud's theory of repression. On the night of July 23-24, then, Irma appeared before Freud with the "solution" to this crisis. The so-called "Dream of Irma's injection," which Freud would later claim had revealed to him "the secret of dreams," marks not only a critical moment in the history of psychoanalysis –– it was the first of his own dreams that Freud submitted to analysis –– but also Freud's anxious desire to visualize the unconscious. That is, against the uncertainties which assailed his nascent theory of the unconscious, Freud felt the pressing need to offer a material figure or image of the psychic apparatus. The dreamwork, constituted by signifiers of visuality, promised such a figure. The "Irma dream," in particular, suggested the possibility of a virtually impossible spectacle; an opportunity to observe the psychic apparatus in motion.

Read now at JSTOR


Abyssal Grounds: Lacan and Heidegger on Truth
Gabriel Riera

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

In thinking the link between philosophy and psychoanalysis, the relation between Heidegger and Lacan seems unavoidable. Yet, it is far less clear what form this link should take and how it might be justified. Is it enough to say, with Elisabeth Roudinesco, that the relationship between Lacan and Heidegger is simply an episodic event? Or, against this anecdotal reduction of what appears to be a more encompassing intellectual "exchange," is it necessary, following William Richardson, to put the Lacanian subject (the subject of the unconscious) on the same level with Heidegger's Dasein? Or, in searching for an intermediate position between these two approaches, might one, with Edward S. Casey and Melvin Woody, read in Heidegger a relatively controllable thematic repertoire that Lacan appropriates and reformulates to neutralize the "totalizing effects" of the Hegelian dialectic? Anecdotal reduction, conceptual homology, thematic illustration. When thinking the relation between Lacan and Heidegger, it is necessary to find a different path, a path that will allow one to introduce the mark of a spacing. Given that philosophy and psychoanalysis today cross paths in this spacing, I will follow the question of truth as the question in which Lacanian psychoanalysis and Heideggerian thinking converge.

Read now at JSTOR


The Unconscious is Structured Like a Language
John Gasperoni

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Introduction

"The unconscious is structured like a language." With this deceptively simple aphorism, Lacan inaugurates his return to Freud and the project of psychoanalysis as taken from the perspective of linguistics, structural anthropology, set mathematics, and topology. In its content and structure, this aphorism is a simple statement of analogy, comprised of a subject, a verb, and an object clause, that sketches lines of equivalence between the unconscious and language through the notion of structure. While the phrase remains the same, the significance of this phrase is transformed as Lacan elaborates and adumbrates his "theory" over the course of his teaching. The trajectory Lacan follows starts from his considerations of the mirror phase of infant development and the family complexes. By the time of the Rome report, he shifts his focus to attend to the Symbolic and the way in which the subject is structured by the Symbolic, giving predominance to the effect of the Symbolic on the subject in his considerations of full and empty speech, on Symbolic castration, and how the Symbolic forms the "destiny" of the subject. By the mid-sixties, as announced in Seminar XI, and until the end of his career, his emphasis is on the Real. In Television, Lacan enunciates the ways in which both the Imaginary and the Symbolic fail in the effort to limit or contain the intrusions of the Real into the discourse of the subject. My intention here is to look at how unconscious formations attempt to enunciate the subject's impossible relation to the Real as it is expressed in the failures of the Imaginary and the Symbolic to provide asylum for the subject from the Real. I will do this by taking the elements of this aphorism and comment on each individually, to then conclude with an explication of the definition that Lacan offers us in Television.

Read now at JSTOR


Jouissance between the Clinic and the Academy: The Analyst and Woman
Juliet Flower MacCannell

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

I want to represent a place largely ruled out by clinical Lacanians and academics alike. That is the place of someone willing to take a risk, the risk of knowing beyond a certain limit. I want to chance it, to take one step more toward what Lacan set off in pursuit of. I want to risk knowing not only the theory, but the practice of Lacan-and woman.

I do not always follow an orthodox path –– an orthos logos as Lacan once termed it. Lacan affects me within. He is not a celestial body in the starry skies above, guiding my steps, like the "Polaris" some American clinicians claim Freud was for Lacan. Yet if he has provided me with no ethical compass, no handy guide to the future female subject, Lacan has made some suggestive remarks. He has intimated that whatever urges me in one way is a way I must resist. That is why I am trying to make this small space –– of resistance, of challenge –– this place between the academy and the clinic. Because only there do I feel some progress might be made toward a future feminine, even a feminine future.

Read now at JSTOR


The Other Jouissance, a Gay Sçavoir
Tracy McNulty

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

An Ethical Encore

The Other jouissance, or what Lacan alternately referred to as "feminine jouissance," is an important, if obscure, concept in his later work. However, it is not immediately clear how this concept comes into play in the Television. It appears only elliptically, in a few scattered and unelaborated references: to the laughter of the saint, or to the inscrutable pleasures of the lady of courtly love, who declares herself to be "utterly fulfilled by God." But what then can be said of this jouissance? As it turns out, precious little. For what defines it is precisely its incompatibility with speech. In a sense, the Other jouissance is the great unspoken of the Television. What then could it possibly have to do with the "ethics of being well-spoken" that Lacan posits here as the project of psychoanalysis?

To begin to answer this question, I will also make reference to Lacan's Seminar XX, Encore, the seminar he was just concluding when the Television interview took place, and which has been partially translated in English under the title Feminine Sexuality

Read now at JSTOR


The Monologue of L'apparole
Jacques-Alain Miller
Translated by M. Downing Roberts

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

A small plan of the labyrinth.
The will-to-say.
Jouissance speaks.
Language, apparatus of jouissance.
Interpretation introduces the impossible.
Interpretation?


        speech––l’apparole
        language––lalangue
        the letter––lituraterre


I provided you last time with this small table of orientation, composed of six terms,' matched pairs, and divided up into two sets of three. It is an apparatus, a small assemblage.

I can tell you where these six terms come from, for inasmuch as you may not know this. I repeat it to myself.

The first set, vertical, is made of three terms borrowed from titles by Lacan from the first part of his teaching. You know the "Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis.” Take 'speech' and 'language' out. You are also familiar with "The Agency Of The Letter." The first two are the key terms, the founders, of Lacan's teaching, presented as a return to Freud, making these two terms work over both the ouvre of Freud and the concept of analytic practice.

Read now at JSTOR


Cover: “The best image to sum up the unconscious is Baltimore in the early morning.” - Lacan

Volume 9.2 is available at JSTOR. Qui Parle is edited by an independent group of graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley and published by Duke University Press.