The present publication provides the reader with a double dose of THE LETTER, comprising issues 28 and 29. The first of these issues (Summer 2003) presents a diversity of themes reflecting the individual authors’ particular fields of interest at the moment.
Veroniek Knockaert et. al. write on the legacy of an impossible memory, that of the Holocaust as it has permeated the succession of generations to this day. Rob Weatherill writes on another sort of permeation, this time of the social fabric; permeation not by the trauma but by the ‘antedote’. (Another ‘final solution’?). Eve Watson, engaging with history as it lays itself down in the present day, casts a psychoanalytic eye on the war on Iraq. Caroline Noone looks at the clinic of autism and makes the case for the value of any inclusion of the psychoanalytic approach. Ray O’ Neill continues to develop the work on homosexuality that he began to present in issue 26 of THE LETTER Autumn 2003). An Lievrouw writes on the ethical dimension of research in the human sciences in Psychoanalysis And Research: A Matter Of Ethics.
In contrast with the many themes and many papers of the previous issue, those of the Autumn number of THE LETTER, issue 29 are less numerous and confine themselves, indeed devote themselves, to an exceptional singularity, the ‘No-thing’; from the tragic form of the no-thing of melancholia to that of the tragic form in and of itself, to the semblance of the no-thing of the obsessional, to that of death.
Every now and then we have taken the liberty of presenting a work that is rather longer than the usual, one which because of that has been able to tackle a subject in greater detail. We open issue 29 with one such: Lieven Jonckheere’s account of a melancholic. The work presented here is largely based on that presented as the focus of one of APPI’s series of clinical seminar weekends, and which was the basis for much discussion and debate at the time. It is followed by Katrien Steenhoudt’s take on that same subject of melancholia. The two papers taken in tandem provide a real opportunity to address the theoretical approach to the topic since, although each makes reference to the same literature and each emerges from a Lacanian perspective, they each take differing positions in relation to the determinants of the structure. For example, the Name of the Father is the primary reference for the first article, while the gaze of the mother is the primary focus for the second contribution. We’re delighted to be able to present the two here, firstly, in that they lay out the psychoanalytic stall, at least from a Lacanian perspective; secondly, insofar as the very difference in the perspectives allows there to appear a foil to counter the impression that The Lacanian exists. (It’s not for nothing that the title of our journal from the beginning emphasised the plurality of perspectives).
The last two papers in the issue also address the void of no-thing: Olga Cox Cameron, in Signifying Nothing: Lacanian Theory and Tragic Form asks how the subject is to speak of the point of its own emergence when it is precisely there that there appears to be something which defies the representational exigencies of narrative? How to speak of the no-thing? My own contribution to the issue writes in a similar vein, this time in terms of the neurotic’s idiosyncratic grip on the possibility of the impossibility of the subject.
I am stepping down from the position of editor, and so the next issue of THE LETTER, the third in the current volume, will bring the publication a new editor, Carol Owens. On behalf of myself and the other members of the Editorial Board, I wish to her the verv best of luck and pledge her our full collective support.
Producing the journal over the last ten years has been a great experience and source of inspiration and I’d like to thank everyone who has helped make it so, in particular the Editorial Board members, past and present, especially Jean Kilcullen, who in the very early days saw potential and took a gamble; and David Slattery of DBS who continues to support the ongoing development of the publication looking to the future.
I would also like to pay special tribute to the many contributors to the journal. Speaking personally, I have to say that I’ve been so very fortunate; the various stages involved in the task of editing and the work of production have meant that I have had the opportunity to read and read again their work. Their various approaches and slants on the psychoanalytic texts and clinical work, and the manner in which these never fail to push at the limit of the theory and the practice, have served as points of departure for my own thinking. I have learned such a lot. To those authors I would say ‘Keep them coming’!
I will remain a member of the Editorial Board. We have plans for the future of the publication and hope to be able set these in train within 2004. The aim is to move it forward using available technologies so as to present a worldwide forum for Lacanian perspectives on psychoanalysis, one that would make our authors’ works and our sizeable archive more readily accessible than it is at present, to more readers and indeed to future generations of readers.
On this, THE LETTER will keep you posted