Issue 39 (Autumn 2008)


The Previous issue of THE LETTER appeared in 2006, the year we celebrated the 150th birthday of Sigmund Freud. This year is no less auspicious. It marks the 100th anniversaries of Eugen Bleuler’s new term “Schizophrenia”, whose symptoms he found intelligible thanks to Freud, and of Freud’s visit to the Burghölzli in Zürich. The year 2008 also sees the re-launch of The Letter. Now owned solely by The School of Psychotherapy at St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, it was first published in 1994 with the sub-title “Lacanian Perspectives on Psychoanalysis”. It is a pleasure to announce its re-launch at this time with the new sub-title “Irish Journal for Lacanian Psychoanalysis”.

The Letter. Irish Journal for Lacanian Psychoanalysis publishes the cartel work of the Irish School for Lacanian Psychoanalysis founded by Cormac Gallagher in 2007. This issue, number 39, concentrates on the first study- day of one of its cartels. It had been working on Lacan’s “Notall” and we are pleased to publish here for the first time Cormac Gallagher’s translation of Guy Le Gaufey’s “Towards a Critical Reading of the Formulae of Sexuation” as well as helpful introductions to this text by both.

Continue reading

Click here to order hard copy


Issue 39 (Autumn 2008)

The author discusses his difficulties in translating Guy Le Gaufey’s article Towards a Critical Reading o f the Formulae o f Sexuation”. He summarises this article as it first appeared and outlines the historical and clinical issues in Le Gaufey’s recent book, Lacan’s Notall.

Traduttore -Traditore!

Early in 2005 a senior French psychoanalyst who had been secretary of the old EFP for twelve years and who during the early 1970’s was spoken of as one of the ‘gang of four’, the ‘Bande de Moebius’ who were likely to succeed Lacan as its head, asked me if I had read Guy Le Gaufey’s article on Sexuation:

“the best thing ever written on the subject.” Since this man rarely recommends any reading material – I should know since he has been my psychoanalyst for the guts of forty years – I set about reading the article and got Le Gaufey’s go-ahead to attempt a translation………


Issue 39 (Autumn 2008) 

This paper is based on an address in 2007 at the first study-day o f the Irish School for Lacanian Psychoanalysis. The author introduces his essay on Lacan’s formulae o f sexuation which appears here for the first time in Inglish translation. He reveals what led him to make a critical reading o f :he formulae and he relates their development to another trajectory, L scan’s gradual invention o f his “o object”.

I want first to tell you how touched and honoured I am to be invited to the first meeting of the Irish School of Lacanian Psychoanalysis because I was aIso present, 13 years ago, the day, the very day when the APPI was founded……..


Issue 39 (Autumn 2008) 

The provocative impression of Jacques Lacan’s affirmation that ‘there is no real relationship’ continues to appear to many as a sort of brutal truth about sex, gaining authenticity by coming from a now famous psychoanalyst. this to imagining that it was simply his long experience as a practitioner xt ed him to this harsh truth about the nature of the relations men and women hr< e (or not) with one another is an easy step to take. And besides, do not the arc irently contradictory logical formulae which soon came to support and company in his teaching this paradoxical statement – produced at the end cr i*e 1960’s – place ‘Man’8 on one side and ‘Woman’ on the other? And so i is that for more than 30 years people have been satisfied to read these fctmulae as a modem set of magical spells in which, through a prodigious ‘wEgzomamento, biblical truth has finally found the place and the function of sexual difference in the vast Freudian setting, thanks to the somersaults of 1fes charlatan Lacan………..

Issue 39 (Autumn 2008)

In Todd Haynes 2007 movie on the life o f Bob Dylan I’m Not There, one of the many Dylan semblances states ‘I ’m not there but the song goes on As parletres, we are subject to lalangue, expressed equally as, we are subject to the phallic function (p. Lacan’s unwavering stance is that the phallic function calls the shots and how it is ‘variabilised’ decides our existence and our sexuality. We exist as semblances which doesn’t allow a complementarity or ratio between a couple man and woman being the exemplars. Making the phallic function its keystone, Lacan built his formulae o f sexuation a version o f Aristotle’s logical square – with the mathematical bricks o f function and variable as fashioned by Frege (1848- 1925). His formulae show the limitation o f a logic, cf. Aristotle’s, that masks rather than handles the fault or faille that structures us. Beginning with a detailed examination o f the relationship between function and variable, this commentary recasts the concept o f the Primal Father, the at-least-one who is not subject to the phallic function as a necessary inexistent, by revisiting the paradigmatic case o f Little Hans. It concludes with a comment on the fault in knowledge systems recognised by Peirce and Godel in science and mathematics and by Lacan in his not all – as ultimately residing in……

Issue 39 (Autumn 2008)

The author argues that a consideration o f the subjective economy crucially calls for reflection on an object described as “partial Plato’s Symposium (or more evocatively Le Banquet) which forms a backdrop to major sections of Lacan’s Seminar VIII on Transference, leads her to the notion o f agalma, which, she explains, suggests an object which lacks the full and steady presence expected o f an object, a partial that is not part o f any whole. The essential linkage between the birth o f desire and a state o f lack is also elaborated.

Jacques Lacan, in the early 1960’s, defines the subject as that which is represented by a signifier for another signifier. From now on the subject can no longer be regarded as substantial, but rather as an effect of language.1 This formulation crucially calls out for a re-examination also of the object……..

Issue 39 (Autumn 2008)

Guy Le Gaufey’s critical reading o f Lacan’s formulae o f sexuation has traced the historical course o f the invention o f Lacan’s object. Lacan’s objet a is not the specular object corresponding to his early concentration on the Imaginary, not the unary trait from his transition to the Symbolic, but “an object without a concept ” or an object in the Real. It is to make sense o f this new object that Lacan draws on Immanuel Kant’s “four nothings ” and, in particular, his nihil negativum or negative nothing which is a nothing without a concept……..

Issue 39 (Autumn 2008) 

Christian Fierens pays Guy Le Gaufey the tribute o f critically reading Notall in a positive way. As author o f Lecture de L’Étourdit, he proposes that this later work o f Lacan throws new light on Le Gaufey’s theoretical and clinical conclusions.

Some texts of Lacanian psychoanalysis, notall (pastousj, leave us with too strong an impression of mixing an inconsequential clinical practice without consequences with an uncritical reading of Lacan and an author’s libido that is apparently illogical. There remains then to the reader three possible tracks; either he will capitulate unconditionally and join the good cause presented by the author (which can be called an introjection), or indeed he will rebel without considering the reasons adduced and will heap on the work the facile abuse of being incomprehensible and detestable (which one can call a projection), or indeed finally he will set to work without delay to make good as well as he can for the flagrant lack that the work gives proof of (which one could call an interjection).

Issue 39 (Autumn 2008)

Dear Christian Fierens,

So then I have read your text ‘The act of saying notall’ and I thank you.sincerely for it. For if this book (contrary to the preceding ones) has met with some serious readers, I have not had the privilege up to now of a work as consistent as yours. True, your Lecture de l ’étourdit opened up for youthe path to this critique that you make.

I recognize right away that it is quite justified. Naturally, when I wrote this book I re-read and re-re-read l ’étourdit, but in the end I took the decision, after writing some pages, to leave this text to one side because I told myself that what I would have been able to bring forward from it would not fulfil the purpose in terms of quality/price relationship. I will explain myself. I wanted above all to produce a reading of the formulae, which presupposed something other than a continuation (suivi) of the LacaniantexTTTwas necessary to bring in largely external data (like Brunschwig orBlanché, or the Kantian nihil negativum, etc). From the start therefore I had problems of coherence and dimension. I also left to one side, for example, some important developments about the exception that I had made at a first public presentation of what was going to become this book (because I think the examples furnished by Lacan are misleading)…….

Comments are closed.