Cormac Gallagher – On a Discourse that Might not be a Semblance – Book XVIII, 1971 – A Collage

THE LETTER 27 (Spring 2003) pages 1-31


The aim of this paper is modest. It is to stitch together with minimal commentary a selection of the sometimes clear, sometimes obscure, but always provocative passages that risk being lost in the labyrinthine argumentation of this seminar. This may spare potential readers of the seminar some of the confusion and bafflement experienced by our reading group as we struggled to make some sense of it in the academic year of 2001-2002.

Perplexity and bewilderment were also the lot of Lacan’s original audience. He chides them on more than one occasion for wanting to know too quickly what he is getting at and how they are to situate themselves in it:’… in no domain of science does one have this mapping, this map, to tell us where we are … once you begin to speak of a map, you are no longer doing science but philosophy’.

Despite this admonition I am going to try, in this introduction, first of all to put the seminar in its context and then choose a certain number of themes that run through it that may help readers to find their way through the maze.

This is a little different to Lacan’s unapologetic approach:

… what I contributed the last time left some people a littlebit perplexed. Everyone knows that I always finish what I…

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