Editorial Issue 48


Melman raises the age-old question – who authorises us? He links this to the lack of difference between inside and outside which is revealed in the clinic. Lacan’s use of topology facilitates our conceptual understanding of this paradox. His connection of mourning to the dead father is thought-provoking, as is his reading of insight into the distinction between the Real and reality, and how this had such an impact on Schreber’s father, and consequently Schreber himself.

Richardson’s paper on Marilyn Monroe develops the relationship with the Real which was so constitutive of the ultimate tragedy of Monroe’s life. He shows how the Symbolic Order wove an unbreakable thread from her grandparents and became established in the third generation. The image on the silver screen was the re-embodiment of Monroe’s mirror stage, and its captivation as gaze was what caught the rapture of her global audience. Richardson’s paper was so moving that when he delivered a similar paper in Israel he is said to have brought some of his audience to tears.

Sheehan’s paper is a very erudite and thoroughly researched paper on the earlier days of psychoanalysis. She faces the question of didactic analysis squarely and its role in the transformation of the analyst – a distinction that was so important to Lacan. She shows how psychoanalysis was so transformed in the United States that it became something foreign to the way in which Freud envisioned it should be. Her conclusion that analysis is an on-going life-long process for both analyst and analyser (and are they so different?) is of the utmost importance for today’s obsessional focus on qualifications and certification process.

Howard shows how Lacan’s development of a schema of the unconscious changed (and continued to change throughout his life) when he gave Seminar XI. The unconscious was one of the four fundamental concepts and Howard gives a concise view of the importance of distinguishing between Cause, Location and Ontology and how these distinctions aid the reader when approaching Lacan’s more obscure treatment.

Bailly takes us through the very difficult terrain of how to deal with the practical issues which so many psychoanalysts meet in the course of their work. How do we manage the complicated interlacing of psychoanalysis with the institution, and in particular institutions where psychoanalysis is held in such low esteem. The paper comes from the experience of one who has had to confront a wall of indifference and has managed to keep alive and incorporate alienation in a thriving way, and his account of how this can be achieved, allows hope to survive.

Bailly also contributes a book review of Tom Dalzell’s book on Freud’s Schreber. It is a worthy tribute to an author who has managed to bring such a complex matter into the psychoanalytic libraries of the world.

Tony Hughes

THE LETTER 48 (Autumn 2011) pages 1-7.

Are our thoughts and actions governed by innate ideas, as Plato would have it, or by the experience of reality mediated by our senses which is Aristotle’s position?  This ancient question can be clarified through the psychoanalytic study of neurosis, phobia and mourning but it is especially well illustrated in the experience of psychotics and in particular that of President Schreber.

Keywords: Inside and outside, sexuality and trauma, the Moebius strip, the Schreber case.

The question that President Schreber gives rise to for us is to know from what position or what locus we are governed (commandés) and in that locus through whom and through what, by whom and by what are we governed?  If I govern something or if I try to govern something, by whom am I authorised and at the same time who is governing me?  This is an old question that dates from about two and a half thousand years ago and we still have not answered it.  So we are going to see whether today we can begin, perhaps, to see what the answer might be.

THE LETTER 48 (Autumn 2011) pages 9-30

This is the text of a memorial lecture given by Dr. Richardson in honour of Professor Thomas A. Blakely (1933 – 1989). The lecture was  sponsored by the Boston College Graduate School of Arts and Science to celebrate the conferring of the University’s one hundredth doctoral degree in Philosophy, on March 29, 1990.

Keywords: Marilyn Monroe, cut, Woman, dead father, the Real, imaginary transference, jouissance.

Ladies and gentlemen: We are here this evening to celebrate – to enjoy a common satisfaction in an achievement that belongs to us all. I would have thought myself that if we wished to symbolize it formally, it would have been appropriate to invite some eminent scholar from outside the University to address us, say, on how we ought to face our responsibilities as academics in the turbulent world around us as it moves into the twenty-firstcentury. Surely there is something important to be said that could have impressed us and inspired us. But when we ask someone from our own University family to be the designated driver of the evening, we are inclined to be much less tolerant. …

THE LETTER 48 (Autumn 2011) pages 31-45.

This paper deals with the question of the difference between didactic analysis and the formation of the analyst. It is based on a reading of the historical development of this topic from Freud to the present day. It recalls how some of the earlier leaders of the psychoanalytic movement took a different path to the one that Freud had wished for – the result of which has seen many splits in the psychoanalytic movement, not all of which have been propitious.

Keywords: didactic analysis, formation, Freud, Bernfeld, Lacan, Safouan. 

One hundred years ago in the Summer of 1911 Freud’s Psychoanalytic notes on the case history of Schreber case were published. There are many lessons to be learned from President Schreber’s account of his unbearable suffering and Freud’s analysis of it. Many times he felt so anguished he longed for death.  Many times he looked out to the end of the world searching for a fixedpoint, some place he could findhis moorings, he felt his soul was murdered and what do we do when this happens?

THE LETTER 48 (Autumn 2011) pages 47-53

This is the first part of a paper on the unconscious as discussed in Lacan’s Seminar XI, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. It highlights the elaboration of the questions of Cause, Location, and Ontology, and attempts to give an insight to how each of these ideas are useful in bringing us somewhat closer to grasping the ungraspable of the unconscious.

Keywords: Lacan, indeterminate, cause, location, ontology.


The Unconscious, Repetition, Drive, Transference, these are the four fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis according to Lacan in his 1964 seminar.1 Immediately, it can be seen that his point of reference, at least on two counts, is the metapsychology of Freud.2 The unconscious and the drive are explicitly dealt with in the 1915 Metapsychology Papers.

THE LETTER 48 (Autumn 2011) pages 55-62

This paper shows how psychiatrists and psychoanalysts interact in an institutional setting. The problematic of their different discourses is not unique to their situation, and this is frequently understood to be a problem of ‘boundaries’ which afflictspecialists in whatever walk of life they work. It is hoped that the approach outlined will give some insight into how this difficulty might be handled to yield a ‘good-enough outcome.

Keywords: psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, NHS, transference, master signifie.

The theme of this presentation is psychoanalysis in the work of a psychiatrist in the state sector. My current experience of the state sector is the British NHS, a very large organisation with a great political value, which is not known for its flexibility and ability to adapt rapidly to change…

THE LETTER 48 (Autumn 2011) pages 63-64

This book of Thomas Dalzell’s is a tour de force. Despite stating that his text is not intended as ‘another general exploration of Sigmund Freud’s 1911 Schreber text’, he does in the end provide us with a subtle exploration of the case from which the most experienced analysts could learn a lot. Beyond this, he uses Schreber’s case like a chemical reagent, which reveals, as in the development of a photographic print, hidden aspects of Freud’s thinking, and also the state of thinking of the Viennese psychoanalysts, of Emile Kraepelin, Eugen Bleuler etc. …

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