News – April 2020
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With lockdowns still in place across much of the world as a result of COVID-19, fewer new books are being published that would usually be expected. Despite this Routledge & CRC Press – one of the major publishers of new Lacanian titles, and several of Lacan’s Seminars in English – have launched a new joint site in the past month and are offering 20% off all books and 35% off all ebooks until the end of May.
In particular, newly-announced for publication by Routledge this autumn is Thresholds and Pathways Between Jung and Lacan: On the Blazing Sublime, edited by Ann Casement, Dany Nobus, and Phil Goss. The collection is the result of the first joint Jung-Lacan conference on the the sublime which took place in Cambridge, England in 2014 against the backdrop of the centenary of the start of World War I. It offers contributions from the Lacanian and Jungian traditions which provide perspectives “on aspects of creativity and destruction inherent in the monstrous, awe-inspiring sublime.” Pre-order now from the publishers at the discounted rate available throughout May.
Much of the most recent work published online comes in the form of commentaries on the pandemic. The Lacanian Review Online continues to put out short daily commentaries by Lacanian analysts and scholars discussing the impact of COVID-19 from a psychoanalytic perspective. Among those of note published in the past month are pieces exploring proximity and the privitisation of jouissance (‘Corparlant’ by Philippe Cousty); the experience of working on the phone (Dominique Chauvin); and what poetry tells us about the parletre, the speaking body (Marie-Hélène Brousse).
As noted last month, Lacan Salon also continues to add new commentaries to its Listening to COVID-19 collection. A range of contributors explore the impact of coronavirus from a theoretical, clinical and political perspective, most using Lacanian concepts.
Jamieson Webster, a psychoanalyst in New York City, has written an excellent piece for the New York Review of Books about the experience of working with the families of Coronavirus patients, connecting this with Lacan’s ‘Logical Time’ model in the Écrits. As is usual with Webster’s writing, ‘End Notes: What Palliative Care Looks Like in a Pandemic’ has a genuinely human touch and is often moving its descriptions of the minutiae of life – and the end of life – in NYC’s Coronavirus wards. Check out her 2011 The Life and Death of Psychoanalysis and 2018’s Conversion Disorder: Listening to the Body in Psychoanalysis for more, and her other pieces for the NYRB.
Despite fewer new books being published, new journal editions have just been released or are on their way in the coming month. Issue 7 of Scríobh, the newsletter of the ICLO-NLS, will be out in May, a preview of which can be found here. Slightly further ahead, Scilicet 2020 on ‘Dream: Its Interpretation and Use in Lacanian Treatment’ is coming soon, in preparation for the WAP Congress now re-scheduled to take place in Buenos Aires in December. For Danish readers, the fifth issue of the peer-reviewed journal , Lamella, on Freud and Lacan and theoretical psychoanalysis has just been published. Some single articles have also appeared online in the last month unconnected to the virus. In particular, Marcus Andre Vieira’s ‘Affect, Emotion, Passion: The Lacanian Approach’ is available for free in English and looks at these three subjective phenomena as rhetorical rather than physiological phenomena.
With major conferences cancelled or postponed, many smaller events have moved online, with the advantage of making them more accessible to a far wider audience. Among them, the London Society of the New Lacanian School is running a series of online seminars exploring Lacan’s Seminar XVII, ‘The Other Side of Psychoanalysis’, chapter-by-chapter, over the course of 12 weeks each Sunday until 5th July. Registration for upcoming sessions and recordings of previous ones are available on the London Society’s site here. They are free and open to all.
The ICLO-NLS in Ireland will conclude its commented reading of Freud’s Civilisation and Its Discontents towards the end of this month, with the last sessions coming up on 16th and 30th May. One reader and one commentator will discuss the text each time, and sessions are free and open to all. Check out their YouTube channel for previous seminars from April, and readings of Freud’s case histories that have been conducted via Zoom since the lockdown. In addition, the group will be running two online seminars in May given by Gustavo Dessal. The first, titled ‘Why, When and What: Supervision and the Practitioner’s Resistance’, will take place on 22nd May; in the second, on 23rd May, Dessal will discuss psychoanalysis and technology in a seminar titled ‘Neither Angels nor Demons’. Both will be run via Zoom and the fee is just €7.
Various other member and affiliate organisations of the New Lacanian School are organising online seminars and discussions over the next month, and it is worth subscribing to their newsletters, following them on Facebook, or checking their sites regularly for details. Lacanian Compass in the US, for instance, has been running online events over the past month, including webinars that explore issues pertinent to our time and how analytic practice and discourse can continue. Listings for events in New York, Miami, and Omaha are available on its site here, but keep an eye on its main page and subscribe to its newsletter for more event announcements as they follow. Additionally, several of the NLS’s ‘Initiatives’ – groups which maintain a link with the New Lacanian School and are active in various cities – are organising events and discussions. Among them, Initiative Toronto will be running reading seminars and clinical seminars on 12th and 16th May. Check out their Facebook group here for more details. There are currently other Initiatives active in Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna, Moscow, Tirana, and the Ukraine.
Philip Hill will present two workshops introducing Lacanian ideas for the clinic in the month ahead, part of the events calendar of the Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis. On 22nd May he will discuss ‘Suffering, Subjectivity and Compulsory Enjoyment: Need, Love and Desire’, followed by a talk on ‘Truth and Interpretation’ on 5th June. Neither workshop will assume any knowledge.
Among podcasts, Vanessa Sinclair’s Rendering Unconscious podcast has an excellent suite of interviews conducted with notable Lacanians over the last couple of months. These include Ian Parker, Dany Nobus, and Christos Tombas discussing their respective interests in the psychoanalytic field and beyond.
For those interested in reading around Lacan and Lacanian work, the invaluable Unconscious in Translation – a publisher of English language translations about psychoanalysis and the philosophy of mind established in consultation with Jean Laplanche – has just released its latest title. Rationalism and Emancipation in Psychoanalysis, by Hélène Tessier, is a commentary on Laplanche’s superb work which acts as “a polemical interlocutor of each of the principal contemporary orientations”. As one of Lacan’s contemporaries, Laplanche’s engagement and critique of the latter’s work is among the most compelling out there. In addition to providing a novel alternative re-reading of Freud his work has the merit of being crystal clear, and UIT Books has served the psychoanalytic community well with its new translations of his work, which are all available to buy from its site.
Lastly, the Colorado Analytic Forum of the Lacanian Field is offering pro bono services for all essential employees and first line professionals working with the COVID-19 outbreak in Colorado, including mental health professionals. Services are offered in English and Spanish. More details here.
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