Marion Deane – Subject and Subject-Matter

The Letter No57 (Autumn 2014) pages 47-54

Based upon ‘The Psychoanalytic Discourse: A Second Reading of Lacan’s L’Etourdit’ by Christian Fierens, I look at ‘The Tollund Man’ by Seamus Heaney as the first stage of a process. I consider the limitations of certain hermeneutic tactics brought to my first hearing it. Then, I consider a hypothetical situation, in which the words were spoken and heard in a psychoanalytic setting. I examine the further inadequacies of these interpretive strategies for such a situation together with the possibility of going beyond them.

Keywords: delusion of interpretation, unary trait, semantic equivocation, infra-linguistic differance 

The Tollund Man

Some day I will go to Aarhus

To see his peat-brown head,

The mild pods of his eye-lids,

His pointed skin cap.


In the flat country near by

Where they dug him out,

His last gruel of winter seeds

Caked in his stomach,


Naked except for

The cap, noose and girdle,

I will stand a long time.

Bridegroom to the goddess,


She tightened her torc on him

And opened her fen,

Those dark juices working

Him to a saint’s kept body, …


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