Patricia McCarthy – This is My Body… The Clinic of the O-objects or of the Body of Enjoyment

THE LETTER 21 (Spring 2001) pages 41-51


Analysis is a discourse that has consequences. For the suffering subject the renunciation of enjoyment is elaborated in a discourse of the body. In the course of analysis this is a topologically arranged discourse involving loss. The body of enjoyment is not equivalent to the body as intuitively recognised at the level of the ego or the specular image. I will illustrate this absence of equivalence clinically. I will also attempt to demonstrate how the body of enjoyment is topologically arranged.


Our Annual Congress this year has an even more difficult title than usual. I can’t afford to think too much about how you will receive what I have to say about the clinic of the body of enjoyment. My knowledge is obviously derived from clinical work and is supported by the current seminar. I have a certain discomfort with the difficulty of the topic and the different levels of understanding among people in the audience. I have no choice however but to put this anxiety aside, bearing in mind that this is, after all, our annual congress, the seventh since 1994 – which is no mean record – and the place where one can present work in progress.

I’m talking about the clinic of the body of enjoyment out of a sense of conviction that the paradigms that served us well up to Lacan’s time are no longer adequate to explain our practice. Lacan’s mathematics – of which the current seminar has its fair share – is essential to the practice of…


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