Editorial Issue 50


 We publish the final part of Cormac Gallagher’s translation of Lacan’s L’étourdit – the Second Turn, Chapter 4 – Interpretation. Herein it is argued that language is the condition of the unconscious, and the unconscious escapes linguistics. That interpretation is seconded by grammar, and that Freud’a approach is also grounded by this function, brings a new light to the role of grammar in psychoanalysis. Lacan specifies that the woman as notall opens up the moment of truth and the moment of the real for the l’hommodit. The last words of this monumental work echo the attempt to give a clinical demonstration to the interplay between the said and the saying, and that it is by the impossible of saying that the real is to be measured – in practice?

We also publish the corresponding part of Fieren’s book – Reading L’étourdit, also translated by Cormac Gallagher. Fierens’ text shines a light on Lacan’s work; he expands on the highly condensed references of Lacan, puts many succinct phrases into context, makes important linkages between the four discourses, the saying, topology, the unconscious and the analytic discourse. His insights on grammar, logic and philosophy, hard to follow because of the very complex issues with which he deals, nevertheless remain true to Lacan. Fierens succeeds in following the furrow of L’étourdit by adhering to Lacan’s own comment that ‘My Ecrits are unsuitable for a thesis, particularly an academic thesis: they are antithetical by nature: one either takes what they formulate or one leaves them’.

Barry O’Donnell relies mainly on the work of Freud to show the essential difference between psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in The Appeal of Psychoanalysis. The development of his argument is logical, thought- provoking and provides a springboard for further investigation on this topic which has become increasingly blurred. We are taken through a series of references to Freud, which address the divide between the psychoanalytic position and the psychotherapies. O’Donnell shows a substantial command of the facts which in addition to the question posed also offers insight into a moment in the history of Freud’s thought.

The Foreword and Chapter One of Guy Le Gaufey’s book – C’est à quel sujet? – are published with permission from the author and EPEL.  The Foreword gives us the direction of this work in its recognition of the fact that the subject of Lacan did not come as a completed concept – rather was it the outcome of painstaking working and re-working of many strands of thought. The first chapter, The Making of the Subject, points out that Lacan’s thinking about the many theoretical issues that concerned him took a shift in 1960, which took him a long time to come to the formulation that the signifier is the subject for another signifier. The linkages between Maine de Biran, Lacan and the mirror stage are informative, and thought provoking. The relation between the subject and the object are explored and the chapter ends by noting that the question of the subject needs to be opened up further perhaps, surprisingly, by reference to grammar. This is certainly a challenging forerunner to what the remainder of the text will reveal.

Gérard Amiel’s paper – In What Ways Does Psychoanalysis Differ From Psychotherapy?- addresses the question: if the original objective of psychoanalysis  has  changed  over  time,  what  is  its  objective  today? Freud’s development of the object noted the impossibility of satisfying two opposing pair of drives simultaneously. Amiel distinguishes two models of the symptom – metaphor and metonymy – which are linked to desire. The conversion of symptom to desire as the aim of psychoanaysis is the essential difference between psychoanalysis and psychotherapy; the latter has the aim of eliminating the symptom. The true act of psychoanalysis, is, as the author says, the taking place of radical ethical change.

Tony Hughes

THE LETTER 50 Summer 2012, pages 1-21

These benefits even though supported by a second-saying, are nonetheless established from it, by the fact that they allow it to be forgotten.

That is the cutting edge of our enunciating at the start.  The first said, ideally from the spontaneity of the analyser, only has its structure-effects from the fact that saying ‘parsoit’, in other words that the interpretation makes it parètre.

In what does this parètre consist?  In that producing ‘true’ cuts: to be strictly understood as closed cuts by which topology does not allow to be reduced to the out-of-line-point nor, which is the same thing, to only make an imaginable hole.

I do not have to expose the status of this parètre, otherwise than from my own journey, having already dispensed myself from connoting its emergence at the point, above, where I permitted it.  …

THE LETTER 50 Summer 2012, pages 23-46

Structure ana-lyses the neurotic torus, by re-ascending towards the cross-cap that makes it possible.  It dismantles the torus into a Moebius strip which allows the analyser, at the end of analysis, to rediscover himself at once in sex, sense and meaning. ‘These benefits (44e; 488) are supported ‘by a second-saying’, as the three preceding chapters have demonstrated.  Are these benefits going to last or are they ephemeral?  They last, they are well established, inasmuch as they allow the saying which produced them to be forgotten.  It is quite useful that saying should be forgotten behind the said in what is understood: the analyser will comfortably enjoy the benefits acquired during the treatment only inasmuch as they are inscribed, as they are established in a discourse which avoids the switching of discourses.  From this point of view it is better not to become an analyst! …

THE LETTER 50 Summer 2012, pages 47-59

This paper gathers remarks made by Freud which differentiate the practice of psychoanalysis from psychotherapy. It will also draw from Lacan’s Seminar 24, L’insu qui sait de l’une bévue, s’aile à mourre, for its consideration of the concept of the unconscious in 1976.

Keywords: psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, object of practice, training

First of all I would like to thank Ros McCarthy for her words of introduction, which are generously brief. The truth is much more problematic in light of the topic of today’s study-day. As well as the practice Ros mentions I am employed in a number of roles, the titles of which combine the terms psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.  Currently, still, I carry the titles of Head of a Department of Psychotherapy, Course Director of a MA in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (a training in psychotherapy), Director of a SpecificModality training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and tutor on a MSc in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. More worryingly, I have at times announced that I practice psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. I am uneasy. I am concerned that the officersof the Trade Descriptions Board may one day come knocking on my door. I believe I need to clarify my position. Today’s study-day has given me an opportunity to address this question of mine because I also believe that I am not alone in having such a question to address.

THE LETTER 50 (Summer 2012) pages 61-76


It is amusing to know that the word “subject”, which appears to assemble in it the essence of what makes man a rational animal, is also used to mean “a corpse used for the study of anatomy, dissection, vivisection.”2 From freedom to slavery, the semantic spectrum of this term is so broad that it borders on homonymy. Law, politics, medicine, literature, the arts cannot do without it. It’s philosophical career? Prestigious. The man in the street, for his part, uses it without blinking, and even the concierges do not shy away from saying: “What’s the subject?” Did psychoanalysis have to monopolise it in order to further its cause? …

THE LETTER 50 (Summer 2012) pages 77-83

The evolution of psychoanalysis under Freud, then Lacan, reveals that although psychoanalysis was originally a therapy, that is no longer the case. Today, the true function of psychoanalysis is to bring mankind into a state of desire.

Keywords: history, symptom, le Grand Autre (the big Other), objet petit a, metaphor, metonymy, phallus, psychoanalysis, 

Let us begin with a brief historical reminder. If we go all the way back to the origin of psychoanalysis, back to the time when it was first invented by Freud, the first objective of psychoanalysis was to try to resolve the symptom, particularly the hysteric’s symptom. Little by little, this approach ended up having a great influenceon the firsttheoretical writings of psychoanalysis, as well as definingthe structure and essential conditions of the cure. So, in its early stages, psychoanalysis was more like a form of therapy. But, as most of you are probably aware, over the past hundred-plus years, the word “therapy” has significantlyevolved, to the point where it no longer means quite the same thing as it did before.

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