News – January 2023
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For those able to read French, January saw two major publications of Lacan’s work by Seuil and Champ Freudien (which is likely to signal English translations on their way soon). Firstly, Lacan’s fourteenth Seminar on the Logic of Fantasy, given between 1966-1967 is published under the direction of Jacques-Alain Miller as Le Séminaire Livre XIV: La Logique du fantasme. For those not familiar, it is a difficult and meandering Seminar in which Lacan’s teaching ranges across Klein bottles, the Cartesian cogito, the theory of the Golden Number, and the introduction of “jouissance value” inspired by Marx. Stick with it until the final section on the ‘axiom of fantasy’ however and the reader will be rewarded with a more precise commentary on the subject of fantasy. For English language readers looking for a brief overview of this and Lacan’s other Seminars, Marcelle Marini’s Jacques Lacan: The French Context will be helpful, and is available on Kindle.
Secondly, a collection of eight early texts from Lacan (two of which have never been ‘officially’ translated into English) have just been published under the title Premiers écrits. What is striking is how many of the papers from Lacan’s early career concern paranoia: ‘Structure of paranoiac psychoses’, ‘The problem of style and the psychiatric conception of paranoiac forms of experience’, and ‘Motives of paranoiac crime: the Papin sister’s crimes’ are among the titles included in this volume. Additionally, the inclusion of Lacan’s own translation into French of Freud’s ‘Some neurotic mechanisms of jealousy, paranoia and homosexuality’ (SE XVIII) perhaps says a lot about Lacan’s research interests stemming from psychiatry early in his work.
English-language readers can look forward to September when Polity will publish Lacan’s Seminar XVI, ‘From an Other to the other’, translated by Bruce Fink from the French edition under the editorship of Jacques-Alain Miller. This Seminar was delivered in the academic year 1968-1969 at the Rue d’Ulm, in the context of the events of May 1968 in Paris, in which Lacan addressed an audience not just of analysts and academics but protesting students. “What did he tell them?”, Miller asks. “That ‘Revolution’ means returning to the same place. That knowledge now imposes its law on power and has become uncontrollable. That thought is censorship itself. He spoke to them about Marx, but also about Pascal’s wager―which became in his hands a new version of the master/slave dialectic―not to mention the foundations of set theory. He moved on to a discussion of perversion, and models of hysteria and obsession. All of that is connected, scintillates, and captivates.” The book is available for pre-order on Amazon.
Capitalism and the New Political Unconscious: A Philosophy of Immanence edited by Riccardo Panattoni and Fabio Vighi was published by Bloomsbury last month. Beginning with Lacan’s claim that “the unconscious is politics” the collection examines the nature of political power, enjoyment, and the symbolic or ideological frameworks that sustain these in the context of contemporary capitalism.
Alenka Zupančič’s Let Them Rot: Antigone’s Parallax is out now from Fordham University Press. Sophocles’ drama and its continual re-imaginings are the focus of this book, with three themes in particular weaved into its exploration: the issue of violence (in relation to language, principles, and desire); of funerary rites and their function in “appeasing the specific ‘undeadness’ that seems to be the other side of human life”; and the tension between Antigone’s proclamation that she would let the body of her children or husband rot unburied, but not the body of her brother Polyneices.
Among journals, the current special issue of Psychoanalysis and History, entitled ‘Psychoanalysis for the People: Free Clinics and the Social Mission of Psychoanalysis’, is now available. It contains the papers from the first of the Free Clinics conferences, held in 2021 and organised by Raluca Soreanu and Joanna Ryan, with the Freud Museum. The special issue is available with open access for two years at the link above.
Turning to events, the Center for the Clinical Arts is a new collective of clinicians and researchers engaged in the work of psychoanalytic transmission from a Freudian-Lacanian perspective. Its inaugural event ‘On the Roads of Jouissance: Promises and pitfalls of psychoanalytic community’ to be held online via Zoom, is scheduled for Thursday, March 2nd at 6pm Central Time. There will be live translation into Portuguese. To stay up to date with future events, including contributions from psychoanalysts, academics, artists, and more, sign up to the mailing list on the Center’s site.
Registration is now open for the XXIst NLS Congress, ‘Discontent and Anxiety in the Clinic and in Civilisation’, taking place in Paris 20th-21st May and online via Zoom. The Congress blog has also launched along with its newsletter, Meteor, which can be signed up to on the site. A Call for Papers is still open for both the Congress and the blog. The Argument for the theme is drawn from Lacan’s comments in 1974 about the ways in which the body contributes to the malaise of civilisation and how anxiety is a reduction of being to the body.
At the Lacan Circle of Australia, Russell Grigg will present part II of his seminar The Lacanian Orientation of Jacques-Alain Miller: How Analyses End from Saturday 25 February; in person in Melbourne, and/or by Zoom. The focus will be on the contributions made to this issue by Jacques-Alain Miller over a long period of his teaching, by Lacan in his late work, and by some of the work produced in the Lacanian orientation more broadly. It follows the recent publication of Miller’s Comment finissent les analyses, which is a collection of his papers, talks, occasional interventions, and extracts of his lectures at Paris VIII from 1977 to 2002. Also at the Lacan Circle of Australia, Jonathan Redmond will present Introduction to Psychoanalysis: Jacques-Alain Miller and the Later Lacan from Thursday 23 February for ten weeks.
Lacanian Compass’ Clinical Study Days 15 will be held on February 10-12 in New York City under the title ‘The Empire of Images’. Speakers will be Daniel Roy and Jorge Assef, with the participation of Christiane Alberti, President of the AMP (WAP).
The second part of Daniel Tutt’s interview with Dany Nobus about the latter’s forthcoming biography of Lacan is now available on YouTube. Lacan: The Lives and Times of a Maverick Psychoanalyst continues the story, covering Lacan’s expulsion from the IPA, the publication of his Ecrits and Seminar, and his relationship with other figures of the time including Heidegger, Masud Khan, and Abdoulaye Yerodia Ndombasi, his butler, husband of Lacan’s secretary Gloria Gonzalez, and a man who would later go on to perpetrate genocide in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Also available on YouTube is the Lacan in Scotland seminar ‘Euphoria & Fantasy: Come As You Aren’t’ with Dr Kirk Turner. Held on 27th October last year, Turner talks about the concept of euphoria in relation to the HBO show of the same name, examining it from a Lacanian perspective. It is chaired by Dr Calum Neill (Director of Lacan in Scotland) and is followed by audience discussion. Turner’s book, Lacanian Fantasy: The Image, Language and Uncertainty, was published by Routledge in August 2022.
Prof Dr Samuel McCormick’s Lectures on Lacan series on Lacan’s Seminar XVI, ‘From an Other to the other’, and Seminar XIV on the ‘Logic of Fantasy’ are now available on YouTube. Subscribe to the live lecture series on Substack, and to the YouTube channel to watch more of these very accessible and well-researched lectures.
Finally, on French radio Jacques-Alain Miller and Sophie Mendelsohn mark the publication of Lacan’s Seminar XIV and the current state of psychoanalysis in France. Lire Lacan aujourd’hui (Reading Lacan Today) can be listened to as a podcast but is, of course, in French.
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