News – November 2018
Plenty of new books published in the last month, due for release before the end of the year, or newly-announced for the first half of 2019.
In November, writer and psychoanalyst Jamieson Webster’s latest book, Conversion Disorder: Listening to the Body in Psychoanalysis was published by Columbia University Press last month. Borrowing its title from a psychiatric term “that names the enigmatic transformation of psychic energy into bodily manifestations”, Webster delivers a book that is part memoir, part clinical case, part theoretical investigation, in search of the body through revisiting the work of thinkers as diverse as Benjamin, Foucault, Agamben, and Lacan. “Conversion Disorder names what is singular about the entanglement of the fractured body and the social world in order to imagine what kind of cure is possible”.
Webster’s article for the New York Review of Books, ‘The Psychopharmacology of Everyday Life’, also appeared last month and will make interesting reading for anyone seeking to trace the story of psychopharmacology – from the introduction of barbiturates at the beginning of the last century, through to the first antipsychotic medication in the 1950s, and up to contemporary mood-altering medication such as adderall, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines. She contrasts these treatments with the precise clinical refinements Freud makes in his theory of anxiety, for instance, as it develops over many forms in the course of his work, and the task of “getting to know your unconscious” that a psychoanalysis entails. The NYRB was at the centre of the Freud Wars during the 1990s, with Frederick Crews’ The Memory Wars: Freud’s Legacy in Dispute being published by the paper itself and Crews using the pages of NYRB as a mouthpiece for the anti-Freud side of the debate. It is welcome therefore to see a Freudian perspective given attention in this highly readable long-form piece.
On Psychoanalysis and Violence: Contemporary Lacanian Perspectives, edited by Vanessa Sinclair and Manya Steinkoler, was released by Routledge in November. Using the term angwash to describe the pervasive sense of being ‘awash’ with aggression and anxiety (or angoisse) that the authors take to be pervasive in contemporary culture, the volume brings together Lacanian scholars and practicing analysts, whose chapters consider topics such as the death drive (Judith Butler), the eroticisation of biopower (Todd McGowan), and terrorism (Steinkoler and Gherovici, respectively).
Ankhi Mukherjee’s After Lacan: Literature, Theory and Psychoanalysis in the Twenty-First Century was published by Cambridge University Press last month. Mukherjee, a Professor of English and World Literature at the University of Oxford, examines the past, present, and futures of psychoanalysis through an interdisciplinary study which draws on a range of examples including Islam, the Communist Party, poetry, disability identity and queer theory.
The Law of the Mother: An Essay on the Sexual Sinthome by Geneviève Morel was published at the end of last month as the latest from the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research Library series. Originally published in France in 2008, Morel’s book explores the possibility of the child’s escape from the subjection of the maternal law and the development of its own sexual identity. Morel will be discussing her book in conversation with Darian Leader at the Freud Museum, London on 14th December. Tickets and more detail are available here.
Among the journals and papers, Lacanian Ink 52 was released at the end of November. Entitled ‘the One (alone)’, which takes its inspiration from Jacques-Alain Miller’s article ‘This Side of the Unconscious’, this issue for Fall 2018 carries the aforementioned text by Miller, as well as contributions from Eric Laurent, Marie-Hélène Brousse, and Francois Regnault among others. Subscribe to Lacanian Ink on Lacan.com.
Issue 6 of The Lacanian Review was released in November. Titled Urgent! to reflect the theme of next year’s NLS Congress in Tel Aviv, it includes a series of new translations of texts by Lacan and Jacques-Alain Miller, with a focus on the ‘real unconscious’ and the last phase of Lacan’s teaching. President of the NLS Bernard Seynhaeve curates the contents, with translations by Russell Grigg. Four lessons from Miller’s seminar Lacanian Orientation frame the issue.
Lastly among the journals and papers, Dr Ehsan Azari’s paper on Lacan and Hegel, delivered for the November seminar of the NIDA Lacan Study and Reading Group in Australia, is available here. It explores the Hegelian landscape in Lacan’s Ecrits and Seminar VII and considers Lacan as an ‘anti-philosopher’, as argued by Badiou in his recently-translated work on Lacan.
Before the end of the year, Studying Lacan’s Seminars IV and V: From Lack to Desire – the first collection of essays to offer a comprehensive analysis of, and reflection on, the major themes Lacan deals with in these two Seminars from the mid-1950s – is due for release later in December. Published by Routledge and edited by Carol Owens and Nadezhda Almqvist, its sixteen chapters provide commentaries on the critique of object relations theory which is Lacan’s focus in Seminar IV, and the clinical applications that Lacan develops there; and in Seminar V on the formations of the unconscious in relation to phobia, fetishism, obsession, and so-called ‘borderline’ cases. A critical engagement with later research on queer theory and asexuality are also explored.
As previously heralded on this site, Lacanian Psychoanalysis between the Child and the Other: Exploring the Cultures of Childhood, by Liora Stavchansky, is due for release from Routledge in December. Its focus is on what topology can contribute to clinical work with children, leveraging Lacan’s late work on topology alongside other key Lacanian concepts such as structure, subject, lack, Other and the child itself.
Arka Chattopadhyay’s Beckett, Lacan and the Mathematical Writing of the Real will also be published by Bloomsbury in December. The author’s proposal, that writing is “a mathematical and logical operation to build a bridge between Lacanian psychoanalysis and Samuel Beckett’s prose works”, leads him to consider various Beckett texts through the lens of geometry and arithmetic, the human obsession with counting, the moving body as an act of writing and love, and sexuality as a challenge to the limits of what can be written through logic and mathematics. A video of Chattopadhyay’s recent lecture in Sydney, on Beckett’s How It Is and Lacan’s use of the Borromean knot, is worth checking out as a taster.
Among the works newly-announced for the start of 2019, Lacan’s Seminar VI, Desire and its Interpretation, will be published in its English translation by Polity in June, and is now available to pre-order. Under the editorship of Jacques-Alain Miller, and with Bruce Fink as translator, it will be one of the larger publications from Lacan’s Seminar, at almost 600 pages. As many English readers are already familiar from the Cormac Gallagher translations, the first part of the Seminar is largely occupied by a commentary on Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, and the later parts contain seven or eight classes on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, accompanied by a commentary on Jones’ text on that work, before Lacan concludes with a consideration of perversion. Miller’s short commentary on the theme of the Seminar is also available here. He notes that a re-reading of the Oedipus complex is only Lacan’s starting point, and that with this Seminar he begins his attempt to take us beyond it: “the Oedipus complex is not the only solution to desire, it is merely a normalized form thereof”, writes Miller.
Lacan and Romanticism, a new collection from SUNY, has been announced for release in June. Exploring the canonical Romantic authors such as Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, and Austen, contributions will use a Lacanian approach to literary studies to examine topics such as the visible and the seeable, war, the death drive, nonhuman sexualities, and topology. Contributors include Daniela Garofalo, Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma, and David Sigler, Associate Professor of English at the University of Calgary.
Newly-announced last month for publication in July next year is Mari Ruti and Amy Allen’s Critical Theory Between Klein and Lacan: A Dialogue, to be published by Bloomsbury as part of its Psychoanalytic Horizons series. It promises to explore the convergences and divergences in the two thinkers’ work, with a special emphasis on the ramifications for critical theory. Ruti contributes from the Lacanian perspective, given her background in critical theory, gender and sexuality studies, while Allen, as a representative of the Frankfurt School of critical theory, deals with the Kleinian approach.
Among forthcoming clinical contributions, Wilfried Ver Eecke’s Breaking through Schizophrenia: Lacan and Hegel for Talk Therapy will be out in May. Critiquing what the author sees as Lacan’s emphasis on linguistic disturbances in schizophrenia, it brings together a collection of published and unpublished articles as part of a “countercultural move to present a less damaging view and a more efficient treatment method for schizophrenic persons”. Ver Eecke has an impressive background, having studied under Erik Erikson at Harvard, in Paris with Jean Hyppolite, Emile Benveniste, and Lacan himself, and has been professor at Georgetown University in the department of philosophy, and adjunct professor in the department of psychology, since 1967. His previous work on the same topic, Phenomenology and Lacan on Schizophrenia after the Decade of the Brain, was published in 2001.
Bogdan Wolf’s Anxiety Between Desire and the Body: What Lacan Says in Seminar X is due for release in February by publishers Routledge. Written “from the perspective of analytical experience, its logic, and its surprising discoveries”, Wolf’s book traces the concept of anxiety through Lacan’s pivotal 1963-1964 Seminar on the topic, which took place just prior to his “excommunication” (as Lacan himself called it) from the IPA.
Among events, the London Society of the New Lacanian School will hold the next meeting of the Laboratory for Lacanian Politics in London on Saturday 15th December. Speakers will include Roger Litten, Isabel Millar (Kingston University), Janet Haney and Jason Glynos (Essex University). The group with continue its exploration of Jean-Claude Milner’s work, in particular his reference text ‘The Traps of the All’ in which Milner applies Lacan’s formulae of sexuation to the logic of limited and unlimited groupings in the political and social spheres. More details, including the argument for the Laboratory’s work this year, are on the London Society’s site.
In New York, Analytica’s programme of events for the coming months includes talks in December on ‘Psychoanalytic Neuropsychiatry’, exploring Wilhelm Reich’s ‘return to the body’ post-Freud as part of an attempt to develop an “integrative somatic neuropsychiatry”, and ‘Anti-Oedipus: From Psychoanalysis to Schizoanalysis’, examining Deleuze and Guattari’s revision of the analytic cornerstone as we approach the 50th anniversary of its publication. Full details of the programme up to May 2019 is on Analytica’s site.
The Freud Museum is organising a conference on Surrealism & Psychoanalysis: Conquest of the Irrational for 27th January. The conference will address psychoanalysis and its impact on Surrealism and the impact of Surrealism on psychoanalysis, bringing together art historians, psychoanalysts, authors and artists to reflect on the many facets of this relationship. Speakers include Dawn Ades, Anouchka Grose, and Darian Leader.
Finally, in sadder news, the death was announced last month of Alain Didier-Weill, psychoanalyst and playwright, who passed away in Paris on 17th November aged 79. Didier-Weill was a former member of the École freudienne de Paris, co-founder of Le Coût freudien and creator in 2002 of Mouvement Insistance: art, psychoanalysis, politics. His book Quartier Lacan – also a documentary, which you can watch on YouTube – is especially interesting for featuring interviews with the key members of Lacan’s inner circle, his analysands, and those who attended over the course of his Seminar. Elisabeth Roudinesco penned this obituary for Le Monde.
Got news? Get in touch.