THE LETTER 08 (Autumn 1996) pages 17-32
It is often difficult if not impossible to talk publicly about one’s own clinical cases, especially when this involves talking of intimate details that the psychoanalyst has been entrusted with and is expected to keep to himself. However, nothing prevents him from using his clinical experience to discuss material, clinical or literary, which has already been published, nor from giving his own interpretation of this.
In this paper, I will use the case of Oscar Wilde and attempt to give a clinical interpretation of it. We have all the necessary information on him for a detailed reading that will enable us to develop some hypothesis on perversion in general. An axis will serve as the guide of this research, namely via the way in which the functions of the father intervene in this case to determine it in every single aspect. This will be useful in expounding the pervert’s typical attitude towards the challenge of castration.
Let us begin by saying that this takes place insofar as castration do~s not intervene to ive a structure to the ‘ lace of the Other’ le lieu de ‘Autre), especially of the first Other in the life of the child-that means his mother. The pervert is constantly forced to take on the challenge pe!SOnally. At times it is so important in his life as an adult that it dominates the entire clinical picture. From this we can also refer to and develop the Freudian hypothesis which asserts the disavowal of castration to be at the origin of fetishism and hence also, at least implicitly, that it is paradigmatic of the defence mechanism present in perversion. Repression, though not absent, does not work at all like in the neurotic. I will try to give you an idea of how we could elucidate and give an interpretation of the defence mechanism which takes place in perversion…