News – February 2023
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Among the latest new book releases from the past month, Lacanian Discourses and the Dramaturgies by Gustavo Geirola was published in English translation and uses Lacan’s theory of the four discourses (of the master, the university, the hysteric, and the analyst) as discussed in Seminar XVII, to approach the four dramaturgies (of author, director, actor, and collective creation). The so-called ‘fifth discourse’, of the capitalist – a variant of the master’s discourse, discussed by Lacan in his Milan lecture of 1972 – is also explored. A kind of mapping between the discourses and the dramaturgies is offered, and the book finishes with a bonus essay on collective creation by Platon Keržencev, the Soviet revolutionary, diplomat, and playwright.
Post-anarchism and Psychoanalysis: Seminars on Politics and Society is a collection of interventions by Duane Rousselle, bringing together the fields of psychoanalysis and radical politics. Rousselle’s topics in this small volume span across ‘The revolutionary impulse of melancholia’, ‘The unconscious as device’ and ‘Lacan’s sociology.’ Rousselle is a Lacanian psychoanalyst and social theorist whose previous books include Jacques Lacan and American Sociology (2019) and Lacanian Realism: Political and Clinical Psychoanalysis (2018). Due to be published in May is his next book, Gender, Sexuality and Subjectivity: A Lacanian Perspective on Identity, Language and Queer Theory, which offers a critique of social constructionist models of gender and sexuality.
Joyce as Theory: Hermeneutic Ethics in Derrida, Lacan, and Finnegans Wake by Gabriel Renggli was published at the end of February by Routledge. Renggli traces Joyce’s hermeneutics in those narratives in Finnegans Wake which deal with textual production and interpretation, and argues that Joyce can be posited as a theorist who, like Lacan and Derrida, “give us a hermeneutic ethics alert to how meaning-making impacts our lived experience.”
Looking slightly further ahead to new books announced for the rest of the year, April will bring The Ethics of Lacanian Psychoanalysis: A Conversation about Living in Joy by Yehuda Israely and Esther Pelled. Combining Lacanian psychoanalysis with Zen Buddhism and Bion’s analytic writings, the authors present ethical questions as those about how we should live – what desires our lives should be led by, and how we might deal with relationships, cravings and separations that we cannot control. Chapters include on ‘The Ethics of Renunciation’, ‘Orphanhood and Theology’, and ‘Reasons for Depression.’ Pre-order now.
May and June will see two new introductions to Lacan’s thought published, both from Routledge. Jacques Lacan: The Basics by Calum Neill provides a clear and succinct introduction to Lacan’s work, explaining the key concepts and context with examples from popular culture to help illustrate them. Shortly after, Lacanian Psychoanalysis: A Contemporary Introduction by Shlomit Yadlin-Gadot and Uri Hadar will mark the philosophic influences that inspired Lacan, and illustrate the elusive Lacanian subject as a drama of desire and jouissance decentred through language and culture.
In August, Sergio Benvenuto’s Lacan, Kris and the Psychoanalytic Legacy: The Brain Eater will trace the story of Ernst Kris’ and Melitta Schmideberg’s patient whose case Lacan comments on in ‘Direction of the Treatment’ in the Écrits. Giving him the name ‘Professor Brain’, Benvenuto reconstructs the case of this unfortunate thwarted academic via the first-hand accounts of his analysts, and later Lacan, placing it in the context of the debate in the post-Freud analytic movement of the 1940s-1950s. Benvenuto plots Lacan’s confusing comments on the case – too often reduced to being merely an attack on ego psychology embodied by Kris – his perplexing ‘diagnosis’ of “mental anorexia”, and Lacan’s questionable reading of the source material.
A Lacanian Reading of Anorexia is the title of Domenico Cosenza’s new book, also due for release in August, the result of the author’s 25 years of clinical practice. Supported by case material, Cosenza presents anorexia as a challenge for the contemporary psychoanalytic clinic and argues for a Lacanian approach centred on refusal and the “object nothing.”
Mohamed Tal’s The End of Analysis: The Dialectics of Symbolic and Real will be released in September and look at the theories of analytic endings from Freud to Lacan. Tal argues that notions of mourning, renunciation, liquidation of the transference, and traversal of the fantasy “cannot serve as a settlement for the castration complex (i.e., central to neurosis) but are rather prey to the castration complex itself.” The book also reformulates the problem of transference in terms of dialectics, locating its foundations in the mechanism of alienation from Descartes to Hegel, Kierkegaard’s concept of anxiety, as well as the concepts of authority and value in Durkheim, Mauss, and Marx.
Finally among newly-announced books due to be published later in the year, Darian Leader’s latest, Is It Ever Just Sex?, is scheduled for a November release. Arguing that sex is always about so much more than ‘just sex’ – about phantasy, anxiety, guilt, revenge, violence, love – Leader draws on his analytic experience, historical research and case studies to explore their importance to every aspects of our sexual lives.
Among the journals, the Lacan Circle of Australia last month released PsychoanalysisLacan Volume 6: ‘We’re All Mad Here’. Reflecting the theme of its recent International Conference, the volume includes papers from Jorge Assef, Daniel Roy, Jonathan Redmond, David Ferraro, and Eric Laurent among others. It is available to read for free in full online via the link above.
The World Association of Psychoanalysis has announced the launch of its new online publication, named Mondō, which will bring into dialogue the seven Schools recognised by the WAP. The first edition is coming soon (keep an eye on the link above for news). The dispatch will contains two texts: the letter from the President of the WAP, in the form of an editorial, written by Christiane Alberti; and the “Panorama of the Schools”, which will publish an interview with one School per issue.
Among events from the past month, Todd McGowan’s seminar for Lacan in Scotland on ‘How the ‘Object a’ Takes the Object Out of Desire’ is now available on YouTube. Chaired by Dr Calum Neill, McGowan discusses the object a, which Lacan once claimed was his one invention. The talk traces the development of this concept and investigates how it enables Lacan to think desire in a way that goes beyond both Hegel and Freud, two of the paradigmatic theorists of desire before Lacan. It is followed by a Q&A with the audience. Lacan in Scotland runs a regular seminar series, with seminars currently taking place on Thursdays at the end of the month. Sign up to its mailing list to get notified about upcoming events: https://lacaninscotland.com.
Also now on YouTube is Rendering Unconscious’ interview with Robert Samuels on his latest book (Mis)Understanding Freud with Lacan, Zizek, and Neuroscience which was released as part of the Palgrave Lacan Series last October. Samuels’ book offers a very clear clarification and defence of five key concepts – the pleasure principle, the reality principle, the unconscious, the primary processes, and transference – which Samuels argues are indispensable to understanding almost everything in psychoanalysis. The interview outlines the ways in which much contemporary work – in the analytic world and beyond it – deviates from or mis-reads these concepts, and the book itself goes into critiques of neuroscience (especially Solms’ work), Zizek, and the loss of analytic neutrality in clinical work. Highly recommended.
Among upcoming events, GIFRIC is organising an international conference on The Psychoanalytical Treatment of the Psychoses and its Results to take place in Quebec City 11th-13th May. Renowned for its work at the ‘388’ located in downtown Quebec, GIFRIC will host speakers from France, Canada, Belgium and the US for this event, including its three founders Willy Apollon, Danielle Bergeron, and Lucie Cantin. Registration is open on the GIFRIC site here.
The PIPOL 11 conference on ‘Clinic and Critique of Patriarchy’ takes place 1st and 2nd July in Brussels, and a call for papers has been issued for the simultaneous sessions, ahead of a 1st April deadline. The orientation texts for the conference will be published in the next few weeks on the PIPOL 11 blog. The simultaneous sessions will feature 120 clinical cases in 4 languages, presented throughout the day in 10 different rooms. Texts are welcome in English, French, Italian or Spanish.
The WAP announced last month that the XIVth WAP Congress – ‘Everyone is Mad’ – will take place from Thurs 22nd-Sun 25th February 2024 at the Maison de la Mutualité in Paris. It will be broadcast online in parallel. Watch the World Association of Psychoanalysis and New Lacanian School sites for more details coming shortly.
Finally, readers might be interested to know about the ‘Psychology & the Other’ conference which will be held at Boston College and online Fri 6th-Sun 8th October. While the event is not exclusively psychoanalytic or Lacanian in its focus, there is a ‘Race, Lacan, and Fanon’ track at the conference coordinated by Derek Hook and Sheldon George, for which a call for proposals is still open until 18th March deadline. Full details and a description of the conference tracks are here.
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