We have two objectives in mind in bringing you this double issue of The Letter.
The first is to continue the chapter by chapter serialisation of Christian
Fierens’ Second Reading of Lacan’s L’Etourdit (2012) and the second is to
bring you a number of the presentations arising from the Inter-cartel Study
Day of The Irish School for Lacanian Psychoanalysis ISLP held in June.
Chapter 3 The Logics of Sexuation, I would argue is the most important chapter,
but also the most challenging of this Second Reading of Fierens. A few
remarks: How to understand the logic of the psychoanalytic discourse ‘distinguished
from any other by its specific ‘reference’ to the phallus’? The formulae
of sexuation – pure logical formulae – have shed all the trappings that,
in our prior imaginings, might link them with men or women in their personages.
The first ‘masculine’ formula ‘for all x phi of x’ has, in L’Etourdit come
to specify that ‘for every subject (x), it is a question of a re-launching (phi)’ of
the phallic function. Note that phallic re-launching is a mechanism internal to
the signifier. The second formula ‘there exists an x not-phi of x’ the exception
to the phallic re-launch, must come to exist to serve as a supporting point –
however fleeting – for this same phallic re-launch from which it is excepted.
A semblance that falls, the exception does not contradict the ‘for all’. To use
a phrase of Le Gaufey’s, it serves as both ‘obstacle and support’.
What about the subject then? As Fierens tells us, far better to grasp the subject
in the context of ‘psychosis’ outside of the ‘decency’ of ‘neurosis’. While we
cannot avoid the intimacy of the subject and of the personal, the introduction
of the psychoanalytic discourse requires a ‘nay-saying’, an engaging with
ab-sens, with the impasse beyond the first two formulae. This ‘nay-saying’
does not ‘oblige the candidate to follow the logic of castration (of the two
masculine formulae)’ nor does it ‘promote a substantial void that the ‘analyst’
by essence is supposed to be’. ‘This nay-saying is not borne by the decision of
a personified subject’ – hence the entry of the two feminine formulae… Continue Reading
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Articles in this Issue:
The Letter 59 & 60 Summer – Autumn 2015, pages 1-37
The Psychoanalytic Discourse.A Second Reading of Lacan’s L’Étourdit
THE LOGICS Of SEXUATION
For classical logic, the real is approached in the order of truth: in principle it
would be a matter of finding, of producing, of guaranteeing the truth of propositions,
namely, the equivalence between what is said and the real to which
the said is referred. It is a logic of saids.
The discourse of analysis brings out what is forgotten in the saids, namely,
the saying. Freud’s saying re-centres psychoanalysis on the phallus not as the
meaning of a pivotal said or of a general statufied symbol, but in the sense of
a re-launching saying. If Freud saw in the Oedipus complex the shibboleth of
psychoanalysis and if the phallus is what is at stake in the Oedipus complex,
it is not to produce saids that are true and applicable to all, men and women, it
is in the experience of the re-launching of the saying of the treatment for the
analyser and for the analyst.
The logic of the psychoanalytic discourse is distinguished from any other by
its specific ‘reference’ to the phallus. One speaks of nothing but that. On
condition of clearly understanding that the sense of the psychoanalytic ‘reference’
is not to refer a said to a real thing, but to refer the said to the unconscious
saying that remains forgotten in the said. The specific reference of the
psychoanalytic discourse is classically named ‘phallus’, it is fundamentally a
re-launch starting from the unconscious. The phallus is not the sexual organ
(le sexe) or the cut, but the re-launching of sense starting from the cut or from
the sexual organ, or again the sense-ab-sex.
It matters little in psychoanalysis whether a said is ‘true’ or not. A said is correct
(juste) in psychoanalysis if it refers to the phallic re-launch. The decisive
question is then: how can such and such a said be referred to the movement
of phallic re-launching? How bring out the sense of saying starting from sex
and from transference?…
The Letter 59 & 60 Summer – Autumn 2015, pages 39-46
The paper outlines a circling around L’Etourdit and Christian Fierens’ second
reading of it in order to find a ‘way in’. Starting from a place of ‘sense’- that
of the universal, language, and current public discourse – attention is then
brought to focus on the rigour of the requirement of an analytic formation.
The work of Winnicott towards the end of his life in attempting to describe
the place where life begins is juxtaposed with the ‘Real’ of Lacan, leading to
a grappling with the effect of the structure coming from the unconscious and
an outline of progression to date in understanding Fierens’ second and third
formulae of sexuation.
Keywords: public discourse, modal structure, Winnicott, second formula of
sexuation, third formula of sexuation.
Lacan ‘…..it is uniquely by equivocation that interpretation works. There
must be something in the signifier that resonates’
Sunset Hails a Rising
Dying by inches, I can hear the sound
Of all the fine words for the flow of things
To mark the path into the killing ground
The poets and philosophers have used
Perhaps their one aim was to give words wings,
Or even just to keep themselves amused…
The Letter 59 & 60 Summer – Autumn 2015, pages 47-56
In his Second Reading of Lacan’s L’Etourdit, Christian Fierens introduces the autistic discourse – equating it to that of the speaker ‘…What the speaker says or what the autistic does…’. Speech presents itself in the form of statements (énoncés), but also silences: ‘Look! I am silent. Look! He is silent. Silence being a potential statement. Yet Lacan speaks of Anxiety as that which
remains unspoken while Freud introduced the return of the repressed: the very eruption of the soma – an encounter with the Real? – a consequence of repression – a silence! The psychoanalytic act (out), which Fierens insists the analyst ‘…must be doing…’. ‘…Abstinence has nothing to do with doing nothing…’
Keywords: differance, the roles of the analyst, autism.
L’Etourdit by Lacan we are advised, comes with a health warning, being reputedly
unamenable to reading and indecipherable to scrutiny. L’Etourdit
– les tours dit – the journey of – di, say(ing) and dit(said) – to stun, to make
dizzy. It is indeed all that. A text which Gallagher’s 2014 translation suggests
is not for interpretation. …‘ Interpretation is not absolute clarity ’.. he says.
And for whom is interpretation? Not for the text, which has little regard for
and is blind to commentary. The blind look of Tiresias is evoked. However
he, beyond display and demonstration makes us divine the absence at stake
within interpretation. That deprivation can lead to an alternative development
presumably. It is consoling in this respect, to me specifically, if not to readers
of L’Etourdit generally, that Tiresias received information and wisdom
in various ways. Sometimes, like the oracles, he would receive visions and
locutions. At other times he would listen for the songs of birds, or ask for…
The Letter 59 & 60 Summer – Autumn 2015, pages 57-62
This paper considers the notion of psychoanalysis as a ‘mapping out’ which
was put forward by Lacan in his 24th Seminar, L’insu que sait de l’une bévue
s’aile à mourre. The implied synonyms for ‘mapping out’, such as, ‘identifying
with one’s symptom’ and ‘turning inside out’, are highlighted so as to gain
some insight into this notion. How one is to understand and situate the symbolic
intervention of the analyst and interpretation as a cut are also explored,
as are the notions of the symptom – a symbolic representation with an effect in
the Real and the possibility of dissolving this effect. Lacan’s toric depictions
of these ideas are also presented.
Keywords:inside; outside, inside-out, unconscious, mapping out, identification,
symptom, sense, meaning, torus, Borromean knot, Real, Symbolic,
This paper begins with two quotations from Jacques Lacan’s (1976-1977)
seminar, L’insu que sait de l’une bévue s’aile à mourre, in which, talking
about the clinic of psychoanalysis and its aim, Lacan refers to an inside, an
outside and a turning inside out:
That psychoanalysis is attached to putting outside what is inside,
namely, the unconscious… – [though this] is not without posing some
…what do we see by proceeding as we usually do by a cut, by a split,
to turn the Symbolic inside out?
The Letter 59 & 60 Summer – Autumn 2015, pages 63-68
This paper explores Ruth Lebovici’s question as to whether or not she has
made an incorrect interpretation.1 Lacan’s critique offers insight into the
possible role Lebovici played in the transitory perversion provoked in her
patient in the course of his analysis with her. But the probing question for the
analyst as to what interpretation is, remains to be grappled with in the direction
of the treatment.
Keywords: interpretation, Ruth Lebovici, transitory perversion, phantasy,
castration anxiety, transference/countertransference, the signifier, the laws
of the unconscious
Ruth Lebovici (1913-2003) – from maths teacher to psychoanalyst
Ruth Roos was born in Alsace and raised in a traditional Jewish family. A gifted
student , she became a maths teacher. In 1942 she married Serge Lebovici
(1915-2000) who later became a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and president of
the International Psychoanalytical Association. After the war Lebovici chose
to follow her husband’s career and trained as a psychoanalyst.
The Nazi Occupation of France was devastating for her and her family. In
August 1942 Lebovici went to the Gestapo in Paris to try and save her Jewish
father-in-law, Solo Lebovici, a well-known doctor of Romanian origin. It
was her decision not to wear the yellow star that saved her life. The Germans
admonished her for marrying a Jew and advised her to divorce him. Solo
Lebovici died in Auschwitz. Lebovici’s father, Charles Roos, four uncles and
aunts and three cousins were deported in June 1944 and died in concentration
camps. During the Occupation her husband was protected by Communist
resistants. After the war she trained as an analyst with Marc Schlumberger
and was supervised by Jacques Lacan. Like her husband, Lebovici was a
member of the Société Psychanalytique de Paris and remained there after the…
The Letter 59 & 60 Summer – Autumn 2015, pages 69-76
This paper was presented at the inter-cartel meeting of The Irish School for Lacanian Psychoanalysis (ISLP) in the Milltown Institute on 13 June 2015. It addresses the concept of inexact interpretation and its significance for psychoanalytic practice, thoroughly discussed by Edward Glover in 1931 and repeatedly commented on by Jacques Lacan.
Keywords: inexact interpretation, suggestion, therapeutic effects, psychoanalytic
treatment, the British Psychoanalytical Society, Edward Glover
Jacques Lacan described Edward Glover’s article The Therapeutic Effect of
Inexact Interpretation: A Contribution to the Theory of Suggestion as ‘one of
the most remarkable and most intelligent articles which could be written on
such a subject’, and in which he added that ‘it is really in fact the starting base
from which the question of interpretation can be approached.’1 Therefore, the
main purpose of this paper is to study it and explore its relevance for psychoanalytic
practice. Lacan addresses the problem of the therapeutic effects of
inexact interpretation in The Function and Field of Speech and Language in
Psychoanalysis. He refers to it again in The Direction of the Treatment and
the Principles of its Power and in his seminar on The Logic of Phantasy.
Edward Glover was a prominent figure within the psychoanalytic circles of
his time. He was born in 1888 and brought up in a small Scottish town near
Glasgow; trained as a medical doctor and surgeon, before his elder brother
James introduced him to psychoanalysis. Both brothers came to Berlin to be
analysed by Karl Abraham and became honorary guests of the Berlin Psychoanalytic
Society, where they had the privilege of meeting Karen Horney,
Franz Alexander and Melanie Klein. …
The Letter 59 & 60 Summer – Autumn 2015, pages 77-90
A belief in the power of the spoken word as a vehicle for truth was of Indo-
European origin. It formed the basis of Early Irish kingship ideology. The tale
Feis Tigi Becfholtaig ‘Sojourn in the House of Little Wealth’ concludes with
the people’s response to a king’s public declaration of truth. The aim of his
speech was to thank them for their past co-operation and to guarantee that
he, in the interests of justice, would continue to reciprocate their services. The
selected portion of the tale, as printed below, deals with the process through
which he comes to know the truth that he will later proclaim. This paper will
examine the relationship between truth and reality as formulated in this excerpt
against Lacan’s contention that there is no ultimate reality.
Key words: truth, reality, knowledge, being, lack, adequation theory
Feis Tigi Becfholtaig Luid Dectire siur Concobuir coecait ingen for aithed dichmaircch-Ulad ocus Concobuir.
Ni con fess eng na eis dib, ocus buithi og a cuinnchid go cenn teora m-bliadan.
Sojourn in the House of Little wealthDectire, Concobar’s sister, eloped with fifty young women, without asking permission of the Ulstermen and Concobar.
No track nor trace of them was discovered, and they were being sought for three years.
Luidh Briccriu amach iarsin. Gu gcuala ni: in cloi deroil. Ro cluinter in fogur, ocus ni fes cia raide. Ted-i iarum fon fogur docum in tigi. Con facco in tech mor coin cumtachto ar a chinn. Tet-e don dorus rathuigtir isin tig.
Rathaig-i taisiuch inn tige.
Briccriu went out after that.
He heard something: a slight commotion. A noise is heard, and it was not known who spoke.
Then he goes towards the sound, approaching the house. He saw a big beautiful impressive house ahead of him. He goes to the door that he notices in the house.
The master of the house notices him. …
The Letter 59 & 60 Summer – Autumn 2015, pages 91-105
Lacan’s use of topology seems to have begun with the Rome Discourse in September
1953. From that time on until the end of his life he used it extensively
throughout his seminars, and perhaps in other areas of his work. This paper
sets out chronologically the occasions from 1953 to 1955 where he referred
to topology either directly or indirectly. It also attempts to give some insights
into how space is conceived in topology. That Lacan’s work is mostly done by
reference to types of space that are different to that of Euclid is essential to
our reading of Lacan. Some aspects of this space are discussed, as well as the
link between the work of Lévi- Strauss and topology.
Keywords: topology, Moebian space, the projective plane, Granon-Lafont,
bosons and fermions, the cross-cap, the Moebius strip.
It is hard to define the precise point at which I got hooked by Lacan’s work
on topology. It is possible to highlight a certain moment in L’Etourdit, where,
at the start of the Second Turn, Lacan describes some aspects of his topology.
These sections on topology are hard to follow, because Lacan deliberately
avoids the use of diagrams. However, this lack was compensated for to some
extent, by virtue of Fieren’s Reading L’Etourdit (2002). His use of diagrams
of the torus, Moebius strip, Klein bottle and the cross-cap, provided some
clarification. As I began to delve more deeply into the topic, I became aware
of a question – when did topology begin in Lacan’s work? Consequently
I consulted Krutzen’s Index which details many of the various topics in
Lacan’s seminars. …