To Polo Zentner
brother, friend, and writer
Class of Elements
Conglowes Wood College
All art is at once surface and Symbol 2
I would have wanted to have analysed Joyce
In the beginning every word was a neologism
Jorge Luis Borges
Il faudrait que chaque mot soit un neologisme
In 1980, shortly after the dissolution of L école freudienne de Paris, 3 Lacan invited his "Lacanoamericans"4 to a Congress in Caracas, Venezuela. 5 As homage 6 to the occasion I took my interrogations, interrogations that were alluded to intentionally in the title and content of my paper : The Freudian Unconscious, Symbolism and Censorship. 7
In regard to that Freudian unconscious, we have today only the remains of a formation, 8 a blunder, a lapsus, even a failure, and as a consequence another is the status of cause. 9
We opened our paper with Mallarmés words : ... to describe an object is to already eliminate three quarters of the pleasure found in a poem, since poetry is the jouissance of a gradual discovery. The dream is to suggest. This is the perfect use of the mystery encompassed by the symbol. And we closed the paper specifying that ... Symbolism is unconscious thought, but it is not part of the formations of the unconscious. The symbolism of the dream is not a creation of the dream-work ... though it provides the dream-work with appropriate material for condensation, displacement and representation. Symbolism, and this was my proposition, is of the order of language. Stated in another way, the symbol is not formed by the unconscious, it is rather that the symbol, being as it is language, that indeed makes unconscious. 10
Back then we were introducing a critique questioning the unconscious as cause. This questioning brought in something else; the symbol as a letter, as a residue left over by an analysis centred mainly in the continuous metonymy of the symbolic.11 Besides, the symbol escaped the domain of censorship and as such constituted an enigma. 12
We had in those times (1980) only a vague idea of the precariousness of the Freudian unconscious. Yet, hadnt we entered the field, so demarcated, thanks to a certain conceptualization of that Freudian unconscious? 13 Nonetheless, and beyond any shadow of doubt, it was the re-reading of Joyce, which helped me rescue from oblivion what I had written in 1980 for Caracas.
The works of James Joyce are a long, indeed a prolonged project, that go from blooms-day to dooms-day, 14 a project outlined from Stephen Hero, 15 and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, to Finnegans Wake, a creative cause, that which he calls the artist, that is, he, himself.
With Finnegans Wake Joyce produces a radical accentuation, with a multiple and de-compressing writing, that intimates both the varied forgotten roots of the English language together with the many more languages that exist to metaphorise mans structural misunderstanding since the Fall. In this way Joyce imitated the day of creation and its aftermath with unleashed neologisms and their vicissitudes in the nightmare and dreamlike quality of reality that followed. Thus paraphrasing perhaps both Mallarmés Un coup de des jamais nabolira lhazard and Einsteins God does not play dice. Furthermore, a creation by a God that Joyce names literally à la Pasteur, 16 a bug. And let us be frank that to have sown the bacteria of decomposition in everyday life was no small deed, particularly if we take into account that on this matter the analysts of his time, with the sole exception of Sabina Spielrein 17 were, and still are, lagging far behind. Lacan instead proved to be the exception when in the Caracas seminar we heard him say :
The idea of Freud is that the death drive is explained in the lowest part of the instinct by the body, beyond the Pleasure Principle, beyond the pleasure of the body. We ought to say that this is the clue to a delirium 18 in Freuds thought which is much more delusional than any that I have given birth to; of course I do not say everything to you. This is my merit.19
Joyce with his lifelong work proposes something subversively new. And it was Lacan, always so well disposed to make use of contemporaneous advances and aware of his times, who would follow the tread, harvesting too, some of his working hypothesis from Adamss book Surface and Symbol, the Consistency of James Joyce's Ulysses in which he found even more material to refine the limits of the symbolic.20 Let us state clearly once more that the symbolic, exactly what fascinates so often as much the analysand as the analyst, is the source of true psychology confused with psychoanalysis. 21 The common effect of this factual symbolic hypnotism between analyst and analysand is usually shown in the handling of the transference with the use of chronological time for beginning and end of analytic sessions. In counter-distinction, Lacan handled the transference with the session of variable time, unsettling the symbolic equilibrium with the moment of concluding through the cut of the long tirade of sense in the session.
Conversely, the chronological handling of transference gave sense and stability to a certain idea of the analysis conceived of as a continuous and endless search for meaning. And it was exactly this idea that provoked horror in Lacan as he witnessed how his teaching was being made gauche, squandered à la gâché, 22 by interminable analyses always heading for one more possible interpretation. 23 To counteract this he drew the line at the threshold of the Real with the cut and with the enigma, the symbol, or odd cipher of the symptom (ÿ). This was, indeed, one of the reasons for which he had to call to task those who without necessarily mentioning his name, nevertheless distorted and confused his teachings. 24
I have been horrified a little by what I have inaugura ted with my discourse, I am alluding to a book of some Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok. A book called Cryptonym, The wordiness (Le verbier) of the Wolf-man that indicates sufficiently the equivocal, to know, that the name is hidden in it and moreover. (in) That "wordiness" I believe to recognise what I have articulated always, that is that the signifier is the stuff with which the unconscious is concerned. Summing up the unconscious is the consequence that one speaks, if there is a speaking being. One speaks because one always says one and the same thing, 25 unless one opens oneself to talk to a psychoanalyst. There are no other means than to receive from a psychoanalyst what bothers his defences.
As we shall see this would be partially modified in his seminar Le sinthome, 26 in which Lacan arrived at the conclusion that without analysis, only with his art, Joyce was capable of producing something akin to what was to be expected from an analysis, and indeed, from the end of an analysis.
One lucubrates on the supposed resistances of the analysand while the resistance, I said it, takes its beginnings from the analyst. The good will of the analysand encounters always the worst, that is the resistance of the analyst.
Psychoanalysis is not a science. It does not have the status of science; it cannot but wait for it. ... (psychoanalysis) is a delusion a delusion waiting to become a science. We might have to wait for a long period of time! There is no progress, and what one may be waiting for is not necessarily what one might harvest. (psychoanalysis) is a scientific delusion but this doesnt mean that psychoanalytic practice will conduce to a science. This science has not many opportunities to mature insofar as is its antinomy. 27 ... There is one thing that surpasses my surprise at the disguised use made of my teachings, or my ideas. What astonishes me is the fervent preface that Derrida made of this "Wordiness"("Le verbier") ... (Which) Considered within the genre of delusion (this book), is extreme In addition, I am horrified because I feel more or less responsible for it, for having opened the floodgates. Alternatively, I could have left them closed. I could have had the satisfaction of playing on the unconscious without explaining its task, without saying that it is by the effects of the signifier that it operates. In brief, if I hadnt been forced I wouldnt have ever taught.28
As a matter of fact, there was at least one occasion on which Lacan refused, after having been expelled from the IPA, to teach what he had to communicate to the psychoanalytic community on the question of the names of the father. This occasion was on the 20 November 1963, when he delivered the first and only session of the Seminar The Names of the Father. Ironically, his next seminar was to be on The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, and we add - with the exception of one - the very concept of the interrupted Seminar. The most palpable and stunning effect of Lacans refusal was the impossibility, for those opposed to his teaching, to elaborate a possibility to overcome the impasses of the customary end of a Freudian analysis. 29 As you may recall the first in pointing out such limitations to Freud was his ex-analysand, Ferenczi. 30
However, by stopping his seminar on the names of the father, did Lacan really refuse to elaborate the deadly fact that it was through those names that the religion of the father - by being on the side of the analyst - acted as the cause for the impasse on the termination of an analysis?
Lacan in fact advanced his difference with Freud, firstly by clarifying the Oedipus complex as a true psychoanalytic myth of normalisation, as adapting the subject to the mores of the times, and secondly by specifying in Totem and Taboo how Freud by conceptualising implicitly the Father as a dead Father 31 finishes by protecting and eternalising him. 32 For Lacan, to remain at the level of Oedipal conflicts is to keep turning around the metaphorical vicious cycle of an analysis where there is always one more possible interpretation to come with its consequence - the endlessness of the analysis. It is from this stalemate that Lacan will resort, at least in part, to the paradigmatic example offered by James Joyces art - to make do with the symptom, 33 as his proposal for the end of an analysis. Far from being irrelevant, Lacan will give an idea of this to make do, exemplifying it as being similar to the re-arrangement of the subjects image. This is something that becomes clearer if we remember Freuds often overlooked remarks on the question of the subjects image. 34
Going back to Joyces work, I propose that his subversion of the mother tongue was his to make do operation for another path of action towards the creative work, and as a consequence, its relation with reality. 35 As he himself writes it in Stephen Hero :
-But that is wrong : that is the great mistake everyone makes. Art is not an escape from life! (Mother): No?
(Stephen): You evidently werent listening to what I said or else you didnt understand what I said. Art is not an escape from life. Its just the very opposite. Art, on the contrary, is the very central expression of life. An artist is not a fellow who dangles a mechanical heaven before the public. The priest 36 does that. The artist affirms the fullness of his own life, he creates do you understand? 37
Very different indeed from the often misleading "religious" reading of Lacans seminar Le sinthome, by many Lacanians. As is the case when Lacan says that a Roman Catholic cannot be analysed - contrary to the Lacanese 38 fervour. He is referring to any religion, 39 though he might have been reinforced in his views by the way Joyce showed the near devastating effects of Roman Catholicism on him, until with his art he overcame the mental jail, pain and pressure from country, Church, friends and his own mother. 40 It is in opposition to the pressures of his mother that he made his choice beyond guilt. It is also here that the analyst might learn something other than the "good news" of a Kleinian reparatory guilt. He may for instance learn, as we have always held, that guilt is irremediably good for nothing, or in Joyces own words :
Look here, Cranly, he said. You have asked me what I would do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use silence, exile, and cunning. 41
Returning just once more to the Lacaneses alluviums, which are usually coupled with the supposed psychosis of Joyce, 42 they forget once again that the only supposition one can count on in psychoanalysis (other than paranoia, of course) is a subject ($).
Let us say that a psychotic is not he who wants but only he who can. I am of course, very well aware of those who write of Joyce as being psychotic. This is not only a view to which I certainly do not subscribe, but also an idea wrongly ascribed to Lacan. In Lacans seminars, this is nowhere to be found and indeed very different from the question Lacan posited in the Seminar Le sinthome; was Joyce mad? To answer this particular point, and to situate things where they belong, we make ours the words of Dali, a contemporary of Lacan who, interrogated on the same question, gave an enlightened answer :
Alain Bosquet : Where is the limit between genius and madness?
Dali: That is a huge problem that has never been resolved. The most prestigious psychopathologists do not know where madness begins and where genius finishes. My case is for me even more difficult. I am not only an agent provocateur, but also an agent simulateur. I never know when I begin to simulate or when I am saying the truth. These swaps finally confused me, but I sort myself out always. It is necessary in any case that the public should never know when I am joking or when I am serious; equally, it is necessary that I should not know it either. I am always with the constant interrogation: where does the profound and philosophical Dali begin and where does the eccentric and absurd Dali finish?43
After all it was Joyce who refused to be analysed. We will deal with this later. And it was Lacan, the psychoanalyst, who stated; I would have wanted to have analysed Joyce. Taking into account what Joyce did with his works, the single question to ask would be; did he, in any case, need to be psychoanalysed? What a scandal if I, as an analyst, dare to say what I will; that he certainly did not!
The other worthwhile question to pose is whether Joyce can teach us something other than the trodden path about sublimation, and to compare this path to Lacans views. For this we have the following sequence of questions and answers after the session of 18 January 1977 :
I tried to convey that art is beyond the symbolic. Art is a make-do (a know), the symbolic is at the beginning of the doing, 44 I think that there is more truth in the saying of what art is than in any other bla bla bla (reference to the wordiness - le verbier - of the book in question).45 This is not to say that art is done by any means. Moreover, art is not pre-verbal 46 rather, it is verbal to the second potency. This second potency is that inaugurated by a discourse. 47
For James Joyce, the artist, the subject ($) - like God in Dante - ought to give way to the Nomina sunt consequentia rerum. The Joycean opus introduces the artist, the artificer, as the God of creation, above the created work, and as such someone who is occupied with other matters rather than recognising himself in the final product. This is a moment in which God, vacating his works, turns to paring his fingernails. 48
Joyce was certain of what to expect from language and from publishing, 49 therefore suggesting their final stages in his Work on Progress(FW) 50 through the fantasm of the pulverised body of Babel. He versifies the failure of communication 51 in a small verse dedicated to his friend Jolas, which finishes with the words of the title of this paper: Après le mot le déluge. It is that failure,52 which Lacan uses as the title of his next seminar :
L insu que sait de l'une-bévue saile à mourre (une-bévue) is as good a translation as any other of the Unbewusst This year, with this (title of the seminar) I try to introduce something that goes farther than the unconscious. 53
The tension between the object a and the Unbewusste finally leads to the litterobject as a residue from "the one mistake" which constitutes the unconscious according to Lacan.
I have no doubt that James Joyce can not only be addictive but prone imitation, as Sollers pointed of Lacans inspiration for lalangue54 in Joyces lelangues.
However, I would like to stress that it was Dali who stated clearly that he wanted innumerable fake Dalis, 55 with his genuine signature, and not Joyce who aspired to it. Joyce announced the identification of the artist with the God of Creation, and this was in actual fact his very displacement of God. With his Après le mot le déluge he almost pre-dated many of Lacans aphorisms. This Après seems a rightful consequence of Freud's discoveries and a very Joycean formulation in Lacans own work. Or, isnt it a datum that our sufferings reside in the fact that we inhabit a body that by decaying becomes progressively a corpse by the deadly effect of language? We tend to suppress that death only exists insofar as we are speaking-beings :
It follows that what language can do better is to show itself at the service of the death drive. This is an idea of Freuds, a genial idea and therefore grotesque. The best is that it is an idea that is confirmed with what follows : language is only effective when it become writing. That is what inspired my mathemes, if I can talk of inspiration in my work that cost me a vigil where no muse visited me. Moreover, it should be believed that I amused without a muse. 56
Or in Joyces own words :
(...) The most profound sentence ever written, Temple said with enthusiasm, is the sentence at the end of the zoology. Reproduction is the beginning of death. He touched Stephen timidly at the elbow and said eagerly : Do you feel how profound that is because you are a poet? 57
Yet reader, if any of the above quotes sound to you strange, ill conceived, abominable or far fetched, or if you dont think that such affirmations keep any relation with psychoanalysis, try again with Freud's usually forgotten own words : The life drive (Eros) is the guardian of the death drive.
The artificer of language that was this frightful Jesuit, as Joyce qualified himself, prefigured with his Après le mot aphorism the ultimate effects of déluge of the logos, notwithstanding the fact that the nomination and the identification of the Ego, the body, and the image are knitted also with the same logos. 58
The way of (Joyce) letting the body go, of the relation with his own body is completely suspicious for an analyst. This idea of himself as body is called ego. If the ego is called narcissistic it is because there is something in a certain level that supports the body as image. However, isnt it that in Joyces case by the fact that the image is not concerned; 59 it shows that the ego has a very particular function?
We will quote Joyces narration of the incident referred to by Lacan, 60 which as you know happens as Boland mockingly asks Stephen :
And who do you think is the greatest poet? ...
Byron of course, answered Stephen.
(After which Boland, Heron, and Nash started hitting him) (...) Struggling and kicking under the cuts of the cane and the blows of the knotty stump Stephen was borne back against the barbed wire fence. - Admit that Byron was no good.
-No. No. 61
At last after a fury of plunges he wrenched himself free. His tormentors set off towards Jones Road, laughing and jeering at him, while he, half blinded with tears, stumbled on, clenching his fist madly and sobbing.
While he was repeating the Confiteor amid the indulgent laughter of his hearers and while the scenes of that malignant episode were still passing sharply and swiftly before his mind he wondered why he bore no malice now to those who had tormented him. He had not forgotten a whit of their cowardice and cruelty but the memory of it called forth no anger from him. All the descriptions of fierce loved and hatred which he had met in books had seemed to him therefore unreal. Even that night as he stumbled homewards along Jones Road he had felt that some power was divesting him of that sudden-woven anger as easily as a fruit is divested of its soft ripe peel. 62
As a matter of fact, and to add insult to injury, everyone 63 who quotes the above, asserting once again, the anomaly, or worse the psychosis, seems to have not gone into the text itself, but rather to have used Lacans reading of it as a protective shield/screen64 to stop short just before getting burned! The long text quoted above is predicated on the implicit fact that while Stephen was being tormented by his peers, he kept himself together by the memory of someone with whom he fell in love. Moreover, that shortly afterwards he was trying to recapture the memory of her fingers over the skin of his hands reproducing the touch with his own hand. It is not surprising then that because of what he kept within him, he withstood the hitting and the humiliation without concessions in such a brave manner by those who were far below him. In principle, Lacan attempts to show this with a Borromean knot.
How to write that in my Bo knot? (...) Let us suppose (that the ring of the Imaginary sets itself free from the other two) what Joyce apparently does (with his body, after he has been beaten). (...) let us suppose that the correction of this failure, (the un-knotting of the Bo knot) of this lapsus, would be corrected by the ego.
This one mistake (blunder) is also the definition of the Lacanian unconscious, 65 as a result of a (Joycean?) transliteration of the German Unbewusste into lune bévue. That is how this one mistake 66 is by the Ego of Joyce restored with a transliteration 67 of the Borromean knot of three into the knot of fourth with the mending function of the ego and/or the sinthome.
(...) what surprises when one reads his text (Joyces) and those of his commentators is the number of enigmas (...) which it contains (...) he has played knowing very well that there will be Joyceans for two or three hundred years, people fully dedicated to resolving the enigmas. (...) Naturally, they always find a reason : he has put something there because after it, there is another word; that is exactly as with my stories of the "abject", "dit-mention" and what follows. I have reasons; I want to express something I made equivocal. But with Joyce one loses what can be called his "Latin" even more when he knew his "Latin" 68 (...) Wouldnt the enigma when written be the consequence of a defective mending of the reparatory function of that ego? 69 (...) This is what I incite you to see; Joyce is the writer of the enigma par excellence. (...) Still, it is necessary to tell you something about his Epiphanies, they are always characterised by the same thing, which is precisely the following: the consequence resulting from this error (in the knot), 70 to know that the unconscious is linked to the Real. Something fantastic, Joyce doesnt speak about it differently. It is completely readable in Joyce that what the Epiphany shows, thanks to the failure, is that the Unconscious and the Real are knotted. 71
(...) If you know a little about what a Borromean knot is, then I will indicate the following : that if the ego is there, we shall see the strict restitution of the Borromean knot in this way: here is the Real; here the Imaginary; here the unconscious and the ego of Joyce. You can easily see on this Bo knot that the interception by the ego liberates the Imaginary relation.73
It is easy in effect to imagine that the Imaginary will abandon the field if the unconscious allows that to happen, and it is indisputable that it will allow it.74
This is, as I see it, the problematic point in Lacans propositions,75 and one on which we have the obligation of interrogating : because to explain Joyces writings and his enigmas as the effect of mending a failure in his Bo knot resulting in the unconscious and the Real knotted together amounts to a kind of about face on his own criticisms on so-called applied psychoanalysis? And isnt it perhaps finally explained by Lacan s own desire? None-other than : I would have wanted to have analysed Joyce, though Joyce was already dead.76 For this reason even when you, reader, might find the comparison questionable; Jungs appreciation of the Ulysses, always remembering Joyces rejection of his "offer" through his analysand McCormick,77 was in a way more candid78 than Lacans assumptions.
Ulysses is a human document of our time and still more, it is a secret. (...) Is this patchwork quilt of words and images perhaps symbolic? I am not thinking of an allegory (heaven forbid) but of the symbol as an expression of something whose nature we cannot grasp. (...) What is so staggering about Ulysses is the fact that behind a thousand veils nothing lies hidden; that it turns neither towards the mind nor towards the world, but cold as the moon looking on from cosmic space, allows the drama of growth, being, and decay to pursue its course. (...) One might suppose that in a world of nothing but nothingness, at least the "I" James Joyce himself - would remain over. But has anyone noticed the appearance among the unhappy, shadowy "I"s of this book, of one single, actual "I"? 79 (...) Ulysses alone is meaning, life and actuality; in him there lies concluded and enclosed the actual phantasmagory of mind and world, of "I" and not "I". And here I would like to ask Mr Joyce a question : "have you noticed that you are a representation, a thought, perhaps a complex80 of Ulysses?81
Among many more things, a problem posed in his seminar Le sinthome is that of Joyces Ego as mending a failure. But wouldnt that in any case be that this is none other than the normal situation? To know that the ego is a symptom?82 This fourth ring of the Borromean knot takes place together with the formulation of a Lacanian unconscious, an unconscious no longer cause but caused,83 that is, a failure, a lapsus, a blunder, a formation itself.84 This new formulation overcomes in a way the problematic second topography85 giving it a different value and direction, showing through the ego-sinthome the pre-Socratic meaning implicitly contained in Freuds Wo Es war soll Ich werden. This is more than a proposition of how to dislodge the It86 by the means of the Ego, and is the opening of perhaps the only possibility left after an analysis has finished; neither in the impossible cure, nor in the continuous self examination, but making do with the sinthome.87 This is exactly what more than two thousand years ago constituted the notion of wisdom for the pre-Socratics.
The consequence of this proposition is that it puts into question the status of the cause, the desire of the analyst, and what is considered to be the end of an analysis.
Yet, let us face it, didnt Lacan in all this find himself in the end, breathless? That the artist, in this case James Joyce, but it could also have been Borges,88 is par excellence the paradigmatic example of what can be expected of an analysis:89 to make do90 with the symptom-creation, neither is a novelty nor is too much.91 It is for the same reason that to comment that Joyces creative work has been the symptom of not having had an analysis92 finds by default its paradoxical formula: in order to reach what an analysis attempts to achieve, one is required as a pre-condition to refuse to be analysed in order to arrive at what an analysis might reach.93 These are vicissitudes94 that à la Picasso95 we might find when cleaning the cobwebs of the loyalty of sacred blindness.
Will we speak of Joyces odyssey? I do not think so, given that he did it already in an insuperable and masterly fashion from the closing pages of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man :
... Mother is putting my new second hand clothing in order. She prays now, she says, that I may learn in my own life and away from home and friends what the heart is and what it feels. Amen. So be it. Welcome, O life! I go to the encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.
... Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead.96
The price paid when the analyst deems to analyse the cause of the artistic creation is well known. He often finishes forlorn in trivia because the gap between the raw material and the created thing is exactly what remains enigmatic.97 The interpretations of the "why" fall always short of giving an account of the gap, feeding it with more sense and perpetuating under other names the same enigma.98
To be understood, this is the reason why I am not a devotee of the traditional theories on sublimation, or their self-serving variants, since this recourse to the so-called unconscious implies re-finding what one has placed in hiding a little earlier. Sadly, something similar happens when what Freud or Lacan have already stated is regurgitated with small changes.
Conversely, it is not difficult to demonstrate the firm coherence with which Joyce pre-dated Lacan carrying out his project of not saying everything, by retaining the enigmatic cipher of his writing.99 To make the exercise of reading Joyces work is to find through a certain version of Aquinas a logic which glows with the three qualities required for beauty : integritas, consonantia, claritas.
In addition, isnt his exile already a kind of Moebius strip much more elaborated and sophisticated than those which we might extract from a textbook of topology or from a psychoanalytic thesis? Dont we find there a bit of a mocking smile, and even of comradeship, if one were to be able to keep up with Joyces pace, and find the path well indicated by him, though with many Dublins100 in the way?
Moreover it becomes crystal clear that his exile101 from Ireland was like his shadow that he was carrying with him in his hatelove writings,102 and so much so, that it is precisely in these shadows that he gave us his own example for the definition of his epiphanies.103 This particular epiphany was like photographic memento to exemplify the paralysis he felt Ireland was in.
In the same vein, it is interesting to notice that although he possessed an exceptional ability and love for language(s), he actually never wanted to learn Celtic. Indeed, after one attempt to learn it, he found it unbearable that the teacher mocked always the English language. This is yet another reason to find debatable the boutade of Sollers : après Joyce langlaise nexiste pas.104 Indeed, but with the proviso that it does not exist any longer ... in French! Like Claire in Marguerite Duras Lamante anglaise, who provided us with the point in question, that is, La ment anglaise (English mint). Sollers statement after having received the blessing of Lacan could be seducing, but I think it might also be misleading. Sollers statement shows the beginning of the end of the Freudian conceptualization of the unconscious and its transition to the Lacanian unconscious.
Regarding Joyces writings I prefer to follow the explanation he himself has to offer when he is interrogated precisely on this very matter - the English language. His answer redoubles his work as an artist. Thus, he says it is not that the five hundred thousand words of the Oxford Dictionary are not sufficient for him to express himself, but that these words were not the ones he wanted to use for his writings.
As a result, we cannot ignore not only that the English language still exists but that it exists in an enriched form since Joyce.
For my thesis I adhere to the same principle in which I base my practice, I believe in what I hear and, as much as I can, I try to avoid to hear or adhere to what I believe.
The exile of Joyce is housed in his creation, it ex-ists as much as it insists, neither by carelessness nor by hazard, his exile is the outcome of a design. As he says himself: The artist as the God of creation has to be above, outside of the work, paring at his fingernails. As such, the verb, the word, the logos is in Joyce both cause and creation.105
For Lacan instead, the verb, the logos does not create but is unconscious, and moreover there is cause only when something does not work. I agree, and to avoid something that Lacan always criticised, it is always convenient to slow down the pace. Otherwise it is facile to impute the source of creation to the (shaky)106 differentiation of perversion, neurosis or psychosis. Today this position that happily reunites everything under the sun for psychoanalytic expertise under the aegis of clinical as well as so-called applied psychoanalysis, is simply untenable.
If the poets, Freud dixit,107 were always ahead of us, are you and we prepared to accept the consequence? Let us not rush to accept it before assessing if we can bear the responsibilities for it, otherwise we may find the consequence of introducing poetry a lot more destabilising than in Freud's times.108
In any case, what could this frightful Jesuit109 with his work add to the problem that is a father?
The question is not idle, as you remember the whole day of the Ulysses conveys also a metaphor for the unavoidable failed encounter of a father and a son. The Joycean idea of a father, which is more Greek than Judaeo-Christian, is expressed in Roman terms - fatherhood is a legal fiction.110 The antecedents of this uncertainty have been present since the outbreak of Western thought in The Odyssey, when Telemachus answering Athena says : no mortal knows who is his father.
Together with the above, we find in Finnegans Wake the co-existence of two parallel and opposite beliefs, which historically were represented by the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church respectively. And it is pertinent to remember how much value Joyce gave to his Jesuit education. Of it he stated, with a very Joycean twist, almost "pre-quoting" Lacan,111 as the submission of the absurd to logic - notwithstanding that apparently for Joyce, in counter-distinction to Lacan, the Son does not resemble the Madonna.
There is a painting, which has been in my head for some time. I was able to remember the proper name of its painter - not without the difficulty proper to my age : Bramantino. It is well done to give faith of the nostalgia that a woman is not a frog, which is there mouth up in the front of the painting. What was more surprising for me in the painting is that the Virgin with the Child has something like a shadow of a beard which has to do with her son as he would be painted as an adult. The relation described of the Madonna is much more complex than usually thought. That worries me. Nevertheless, it remains that with her I located myself better than Freud in the Real, interested of what there is of the unconscious, because the jouissance of the body leans on the unconscious. From there my mathemes, which proceed from the fact that the symbolic would be the place of the Other but there is no other of the it.112
The recognition that both Lacan and Joyce had for the Roman Catholic Church as the "true one",113 for different motives, also deserves our attention. Joyce carries out a struggle to separate himself from religion from the Portrait onwards that culminates in Finnegans Wake with the desiccation of sense.114 Joyce will situate as an example the submission of the absurd (religion) to logic in the middle of a little story in Finnegans Wake at a time in which the Mooks transformed themselves into Gripes,115 the former holding on to the theory of the Filioque, whilst the latter rejecting it. For them everything was ex-Patris.116 This long struggle against (the religion of) sense, the only true one, was also fought by Lacan by shifting the Freu dian unconscious from a cause capable of giving sense117 to such an extent as to abolish all chance, into a structure of transliteration.118
Lacans rejection of sense is what explains why the interpretation works with the equivocal and it is his way of responding to Levy Strauss observation concerning the Other as the re-introduction of God.119
The transliteration is outlined and worked in his 1976/77 seminar, as its title indicates, à la lettre.120 This seminar departs from the exclusivity of the Symbolic proper to the sense making of the Freudian unconscious. As such, the seminar is the culmination of the long process of theorisation by which the unconscious becomes Lacanian, carrying with it the lack of sense, enigma qua enigma, as the quality of the Real.121 This long process can be traced as far back as his seminar Desire and its Interpretation.122
Yet, to produce such change surely impinges on the way the interpretation, indeed the analysis, works. It is within this shift that the use of the equivocal123 is introduced in order to avoid feeding the symptom with sense. As a matter of fact, we can outline the project of desiccation of sense pointing to the session of variable time introduced by Lacan in the fifties as a forerunner for the equivocal.
In the seminar Le désir et son interprétation,124 we find in the lesson of 1 July 1959 a theme that he will be taken up again seventeen years later, as we shall see, on 14 December 1976 in L insu que sait de lune - bévue saile a mourre.125
On 1 July 1959, Lacan interrogates himself, whether in accordance to what takes place at the end of each analytic session and in correlation with the analysis, one should not recognise the role that the cut 126 plays to situate desire.
... the cut is beyond any doubt the most efficacious way of the psychoanalytic interpretation and intervention since in this cut we have to take cognisance of the latent form of the phallic object inherent in all relations of demand as the signifier of desire.
In other words, while Lacan is validating here the cut as a way of bringing to light the demand, not in terms of frustration, but in terms of castration, he is also introducing an outline of the Real. And perhaps anticipating the moment in which his style would be mummified, as happened with Freud127 before him, into a Lacanian technique128 of the short session,129 he hastened to defy his audience to deal with an enigma, introducing for them, in the context of a contrepèterie,130 a line from Désiré Viardots poem Fantomas : the woman has in her skin a grain of fantasy.
And because Lacan was aiming at leading his audience towards a somehow singular point, he offered them immediately the key to the enigma :
What this grain of fantasy opens is what modulates and models the relationship of the subject from whom she demands, whoever he may be, and no doubt it is not for nothing that we find in that place the subject that contains everything, the universal mother yet being as he was, well informed of the danger of the alluvium of psychoanalytic clichés, he warned the audience not to lose their way in the narcissism of completeness.131
Indeed, with the enigma and the cut Lacan was outlining in this last class of the seminar Le désir et son interprétation the beginning of his difference with Freud.132 A difference even more noticeable when we re-read the foretelling way he farewelled his audience : "would they be able with this enigma to go beyond him"?133
Here it is not only a question that we have to desire this grain of fantasy or this grain of poetry of the woman, but indeed of the analysis itself.134
This project gave place ten years later to the reason and (ruse?) for expulsing him from the International Psychoanalytic Association.135
Coming back to the apparent paradox of the title of the 1976/77 seminar,136 we offer some of the possible ways of rendering its title :
The unbeknownst of which the one blunder knows - either - wings towards a guessing game (mora)137 - or - is love (Lamour)138 - or - wings towards destiny (moira),139 -or - death (mort).
As you can appreciate the title depends on the calembour140 one chooses to use.
Still, dear reader (granted, why not use an extremely useful anastrophe and write; reader, read) and before dismissing this question as a superfluous pleasantry, grant me a second, in case I have not been able to out-manoeuvre you before you are about to reject the way words play to remind you that analysis only is possible, and occurs, as couched141 in words.
Nevertheless, quite possibly this affirmation might allow for here comes everybody (HCE)142 to the too predictable question : "and what about the feelings, which (HCE) know are non-verbal"?143 This is a question usually asked by the "good doers", a question rooted in that extremely harmful and corroding blend of self-congratulatory ignorance and laziness. Therefore, how can we even start the beginning of an answer when this was already answered and published by Freud in The Unconscious in German in 1915, in English in 1925.144
Given that these HCE even with a little help of their friends145 lack both imagination and humour, it is only to you dear reader, after your return from consulting Freuds text, that you can read this worthwhile explanation that enriches Freuds and was given by Dali to a somehow similar question :
Alain Bosquet : That does not impede that it is a feeling, a profound veneration on your side (what you have) in regard to Velazquez.
Salvador Dali : ... it is again the feeling, that most prostituted, most dishonest that one can imagine ...146
Certainly I have my propositions and they surely allow me to outline a few things in the immensity of James Joyces works - he is the artist that makes do 147 through an insurmountable condensation of languages, characters and circumstances, he forges reality, as it is, impossible to be distinguished from unreality.
Through language he re-creates the Aleph148 of existence, like God did; things came into existence by naming, the metaphor of the "play on words" by which God has created such a fallible world is a telling irony, without need to have recourse to those theologians who gave God that evil inclination as to have hated his own creation.149
No, Joyce did not hate his creation. Remember his point; to submit the absurd to a logic.150 He crafted his creation with care, so much care as to give it life in the bosom of Dublins everyday life and in this way inverting forever a gaze which rather than taking notice of existing objects created them in the process of name-gazing.151 As such, he fashions himself as a precursor of fantastic realism. Lacan says somewhere in his seminar that Joyce was unreadable because he did not awake empathy in us. This seems to be like a cross reference between Lacan and Borges.152
That is why I would like to clarify, on the so-called question of psychosis in Joyce, that if the psychotic, using Freud's terms, were he who treats words as things, wouldnt James Joyce not be a psychotic?
In the seminar Le sinthome, Lacan observes the famous bashing suffered by Joyce as re-counted by himself in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man that gave place both to the feeling of lack of hate and the skin of his body detaching from his body as a peel, and as a consequence Lacan (see above) will write the Borromean knot differently and will show the value of writing the Bo knot. This writing shows that the moment when the un-knotting of the Imaginary takes place is also the moment in which that failure is mended with the ego, but... would then Joyce be the manifestation of a "compensated" psychotic structure?
However tempting it might be to ascertain this to be the case, we have our reservations,153 such that if the psychotic, according to our hypothesis, is someone who cannot even imagine, contrary to the neurotic, that the signifier is at his service all the time how then could Joyce be a psychotic?
Joyce might have been an un-confessed psychotic in the same way that Lacan confessed that from the viewpoint of rigour he was a psychotic.
As I already stressed above, Joyces writings, Lacan dixit, are a result of having actively refused to have an analysis.
This commentary is not necessarily negative but rather underscores a fairly common position amongst artists, and rightly so, when the version they have of it, is of a so-called applied psychoanalysis, which in fact is the application of a series of psychoanalytic clichés at the service of the analysts prejudices.
We know that in fact, in the twenties, a McCormick (neé Rockefeller), sponsor of Joyce and "recruited" in Jungs couch, suggested forcefully to her protégée, quite likely under Jungs instigation, to enter into an analysis with Jung, at her cost. Not surprisingly, he refused to be analysed, and less surprisingly still, she cut off the funds she allotted for Joyce.
That Joyce was well informed about psychoanalysis and had a clear assessme nt of the ways the opponents scored points on its disputes, can be proved with assurance to the extent that by naming them tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum, he recorded in a superb condensed joke a correlation of mutual scores with musical scores.154 In fact, Joyces humorous joke, far from innocent, was verily caustic in depicting how he saw Freud and Jung scoring points against each other.
Furthermore, could Joyce have been ignorant of the fact that the translation of his surname in German was the same as his contemporaneous Freud? I do not think so;155 moreover both of them knew that the It jouit, but that its jouissance is addressed to no one.156 As a consequence, would Joyce have abstained from refusing his own jouissance (Freud) to Jungs jouissance (Freud)?157
To deem that Joyce would have deprived himself of playing this card is unthinkable. Yet, despite never expressing the demand for an analysis, he was not inhibited to mock both Freud and Jung,158 making use of the discoveries of psychoanalysis. Nevertheless, when everything was lost, he requested an analysis for his daughter Lucia ... from Jung!
Lucia, who finished her days in an asylum in London, and to whom Joyce for a time attributed telepathic powers, was in fact psychotic. That as a father he would have disavowed at all cost the irreparable illness of his daughter, doesnt strike me as strange. But what sounds strange to me is how for some analysts the daughters psychosis may have been displaced, reading backwards, onto the supposed psychosis of Joyce.
Let us go to the rescue of another apparent proof of the so-called psychosis of Joyce159 from A Portrait, specifically, to the dialogue of Stephen with the Dean, that protestant converted to Catholicism and compatriot of Ben Jonson, who awakes in Joyce, within himself, according to his own testimony the strangeness of language :
The little word seemed to have turned a rapier point of his sensitiveness against this courteous and vigilant foe. He felt with a smart of dejection that the man to whom he was speaking was a countryman of Ben Jonson. He thought; the language in which we are speaking is his before is mine. How different are the words home, Christ, ale, master, on his lips and on mine! I cannot speak or write these words without unrest of spirit. His language, so familiar and so foreign, will always be for me an acquired speech. I have not made or accept its words. My voice holds them at bay. My soul frets in the shadows of his language.160
I am quoting the above for the benefit of those who might use it as a proof of the psychotic structure in Joyce, although it is refreshing indeed to recall that Freud used to say, quoting Dostoyevsky; psychology is a double edged knife.
Joyces dialogue just quoted above bears the intrinsic extraterritoriality suffered by the speaking being from the cancer of language161 and this in an uncanny way resembles the work of analysis itself where the mutual exile of analyst and analysand, in a foreign language, is the unavoidable condition in which an analysis can take place - in a language always foreign.
Joyce writes in this quoted dialogue in opposite directions, as you might say, in one dramatic page with insurmountable suffering, while in the other foretelling the artificer he will become. He will create the language of his works and he will perfect it from his first writings, shaping them in The Portrait to the culmination of his final writing, Finnegans Wake.
I found the ethics of Joyces aesthetics very moving, as he chooses Bloom the Jew162 who as Ulysses is a wandering being, for the central character of Ulysses. Yet, if we make the exercise of reading more widely, there is much more to be found elsewhere.
In fact, in Platos Republic , in the chapter concerning the immortality of the soul we find the myth of Er that contains a description of the after-life, which, with the help of Dante, reminds us of the description of Hell in A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man. The myth shows us how Ulysses chooses for his reincarnation the most humble soul, exactly the one, which everyone else has despised and discarded. Joyce, who knew where to find his bones in Plato, redoubles the myth choosing Bloom reincarnating the soul of Ulysses. With Bloom Ulysses blooms again, Ulysses who, like Er, returns to life as a witness and collector of infinite memories, immune to Lethe.
Through the myth of Er Joyce evokes the terrible mark left on him by Father Doyles moral lesson about Hell. The consequence on Joyce for the rest of his life is what I understand Lacan affirms in saying that a Roman Catholic cannot be analysed.163
Joyce with Ulysses, the book o f the day, Finnegans Wake, the book of the night, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Yong Man; forms a trilogy which ends in the waters of the Liffy river, the forgetfulness which, as the prairie of Lethe, runs inalterable whilst erasing the memories of men.
What other thing is death since Freud? If not that one might not remember that once one was what one164 no longer is.
Reader, I would like to tell you that in principle no one - and the analyst qua analyst is no one -165 can be anything other than the effect of what causes him, including of course the transference with which he might be addressed.166 For this singular reason I wanted to share with you the grandness that the words of this poet of the English language conveyed to my reading as the quality of a transient beauty delaying an unavoidable withering.167
Lacan says somewhere that The It dialogues all the time.168 But this is obviously not the same It of Freuds second topography, which Lacan criticises till the end. Then what could be the value of his affirmation of the endless dialogues of the It, which Lacan openly identifies with the Other? Whatever position we may take in regard to this affirmation, it might sound strange to criticise the same thing that one takes care of while at the same time specifying its function, a function that notably differs from that given by Freud. I propose that as always Lacan makes the best use of something even while he is discarding it.169
The It of Lacan corresponds to the status of that which insofar as it is not addressed to a psychoanalyst, can only be considered as outside the proper field of the psychoanalytic act. One notices It speaking, as much as one notices words uttered to no one, one hears them but one doesnt listen to them - in a way, they belong to the neither here nor there.
In counterdistinction, there is unconscious only insofar as someone addresses an analyst, with the unavoidable pre-condition of transference. We know of a small interchange that took place not without some degree of exasperation between Heidegger and Lacan, and it is worthwhile to report it at this moment:
Heidegger : What is the transference?
Lacan : When someone addresses an analyst.
Heidegger : So, thats what it is!170
It should be clear that from the moment in which Lacan initiated his Return to Freud, that moment was in fact the point of no return, as it was shown later with clarity in his assertion that the field is Freudian while the Unconscious is of Lacan; which differs from the It (addressed to everything and nothing)171 and from the Unconscious which only is, if addressed to an analyst. As a result of this and contrary to the prevailing ecumenism, there is no continuity between Freud and Lacan.
Lacans last session of the Seminar Le sinthome closed with these words :
... (one) thinks against a signifier this is the meaning I gave to athought172 (appensée) one takes its leaning on (appuie) against a signifier in order to think. Well, I set you free.173
This last phrase is what Lacan will repeat eight years later with almost identical words, when he declares the dissolution of Lécole freudienne de Paris, saying :
That it would be sufficient that one goes for the others to be set free is in my knot, true of each one, and it is necessary that it must be so, for me174 too, in the School.175
These are the minimum and bare questions that we will need to work. Assuredly, Lacan provided many answers but still with many more clues, enigmas and questions. Let us recall the path taken by Lacan in regard to Joyces art as being capable of producing that sinthome176 which consists of making do with his symptoms as a way of finally approaching what perhaps is to be expected from an analysis.
Above and beyond the seminar on the Sinthome and his comments on James Joyces writings, Lacan had to necessarily find finally that the subject James Joyce escapes as much from him as it escapes from us. Or in the words of Ferenczi;
As a matter of fact, finally, something exists which cannot, does not, need and ought not to be interpreted, otherwise analysis becomes an interminable substitution by the opposite of ideas and emotions.177
Irrespective of the above quote, two analysts expressed in different ways their demand to analyse Joyce, one178 was rejected forthrightly, while the other179 only expressed such demand when Joyce was already dead. The list of willing analysts has been on the increase since his death! In one way or another the writings of Joyce, insofar as there will be a reader - and he aspired to an eternal one that reader will keep perpetuating the enigma,180 as symbol, abject litter, and Real of the letter. Furthermore, as the author of his work he aimed to jouissance rather than transmission181 and he shrewdly excluded himself by paring his fingernails, from being the subject182 to be found in his writings.183
August 1997/April 2004
1 A paper with a similar title was published, in accordance with the circumstances, both in the proceedings of the Lacanoamerican Reunion of Psychoanalysis of Bahia, Brazil, and in Contexto en Psicoanalisis, La Plata, Argentina, August 2000, p 129. The present paper is comprised of two parts. The complete original (though unpublished) Spanish version and notes were written in 1997 and with few additions the paper in its present form was translated into English in 2004. This paper is to be read on the hundredth year of the celebration of Bloomsday, June 16, 2004 in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, The University of Melbourne.
2 Adams, R. M. Quoted in Surface and Symbol - The Consistency of James Joyces Ulysses, New York/Oxford University Press, 1962.
3 See the complete text of the dissolution of Lécole freudienne de Paris in the first volume of the Papers of the Freudian School of Melbourne, 1979.
4 A happy example of the power of the play on words, uniting the name Lacan (instead of Latino) with a metaphorical continent America. The reference is, of course, to the South since in the North psychoanalysis, as Freud very well knew, and contrary to common belief, was and still is Nihil verbum. For the North the field in which psychoanalysis operates is motus animi.
5 We were living in self-imposed exile in Melbourne, Australia, for three years, a fact that did not prevent us from receiving, and accepting, Lacans invitation as part of his Lacanoamericans, to go to Caracas with our work.
6 This was the first Homage to Freud in Australia on the fortieth anniversary of his death. Through this Homage we founded in 1977 a Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis, in Melbourne, Australia, three years before the dissolution of Lécole freudienne de Paris by its founder Jacques Lacan.
7 The qualification of the unconscious as Freudian, today readily accepted, was then not idle exercise.
8 We denominate in this way the passage from the Freudian unconscious to the Lacanian unconscious
8 We denominate in this way the passage from the Freudian unconscious to the Lacanian unconscious
10 Zentner, O. Effectively our intention to pay homage to the teachings of Lacan included the effect of his presence in the meaning intended by Freud to describe one of the possible destinies of the psychoanalytic transference, that of resistance. Even then we were under no illusion of the future. Hence the title of the paper; El inconsciente freudiano, el simbolismo y la censura. Published in the proceedings of the Congress of Caracas convoked by Lacan in 1980, Caracas, Venezuela.
11 Lacan, J. The unconscious is an entity, which I attempted to define by the Symbolic, but it is one more entity - an entity which deals with de savoir y faire [to make do]. Savoir y faire is not the same as Absolute Knowledge. The unconscious changes something, which is reduced to what I call sinthome, sinthome that I write with the orthography that you now know. Seminar Linsu que sait de lune bévue saile à mourre, session of 15 February 1977. My translation.
12 Lacan, J. An enigma, as its name indicates, is an enunciation in which the enunciated cannot be found. Seminar Le sinthome, session of 13 of January 1976. My translation.
13 That re-evaluation took place through the first teachings of Lacan, condensed and perhaps misunderstood, under the heading of a return to Freud.
14 As Lacan says elsewhere; life is like a river going from bank to bank knowing nothing of itself.
15 Rescued by Nora from the destiny of the fire.
16 Zentner, O. Connaissance and Psychosis . Papers of The Freudian School of Melbourne, Vol 17, Editor David Pereira.
17 Zentner, O. From the Verneinung of Freud to the Verwerfung of Lacan. Papers of The Freudian School of Melbourne, Editor Oscar Zentner.
18 Lacan uses delirant. The meaning of delirium from the Latin is to turn aside from the furrow, which is, metaphorically, to think outside of the square.
19 Lacan, J. Caracas seminar, Venezuela, 12 July 1980. Papers of The Freudian School of Melbourne 1980, Editor Oscar Zentner. My translation.
20 Although Lacan commenced elaborating the Symbolic, Imaginary and Real (SIR) from 1953, it is worth noting that it changed into the heresy (in French RSI is homophonic with heresy) of the Real Symbolic and the Imaginary (RSI). However Lacan does not give prevalence to any one of them but to all three, which constitutes the Borromean knot, and of which the sinthome functions as the fourth knot.
21 Something usually forgotten is that Jung gave quite clearly a definite name, after breaking with Freudian psychoanalysis, to his line of thought, being its proper name: Individual Psychology.
22 Lacan, J. Conference on the Symptom, Geneva, 1975. In French à la gâché, means to waste, to squander. Jacques Lacan used this play on words in reference to the behaviourist/psychoanalytic approach of Daniel Lagache.
23 Borges, J L. We have to publish (that is to conclude) what we write because if we dont, we keep changing it, trying all the possible variations, and we dont go beyond that. Borges on Writing, edited by N T de Giovanni, p 73, The Ecco Press, 1994.
24 Usually, though not exclusively, this has been the case when one reads materials from Universities, where it is rather common to find grouped together with Lacan, names like Derrida, Irigaray, Kristeva, and many others. Irrespective of the value of their works, the fact is that they are mutually exclusive from Lacan.
25 Lacan will describe the It elsewhere with almost identical words.
26 I have translated this seminar using Ornicar? And the scholarly rendering of the seminar in Spanish by Rodriguez Ponte, with his invaluable notes, as sources. The same is applicable to the reproduction of the Borromean knots.
27 Lacan stated often that psychoanalysis reintroduces the subject ($) foreclosed by science.
28 Lacan, J. Session of 11 January 1977. My translation.
29 This is why among many other reasons it is important to study the conceptual history of psychoanalysis rather than adopting the convenient latest vogue.
30 Freud, S. Analysis Terminable and Interminable, and The Clinical Diary of Sandor Ferenczi.
31 Certainly this is not unlike the image given by Freud in regard to the way lava preserved Pompeii.
32 A minima, with the Oedipal Complex for Freud, the question is how to go beyond the mother, outside the maternal incest, while in Totem and Taboo, with the killing of the father who has all the women, he castrates, and he nevertheless produces effects of adoration. This pere-version of the father is what is eternalised. From then on the question for Lacan is how to go beyond the father while making use of him.
33 Lacan, J. Seminar Le sinthome.
34 Freud, S. On Humour, St Ed, Vol 9.
35 Zentner, O. Borges and the Fantasm of Reality. Papers of The Freudian School of Melbourne, Vol 21, Editor David Pereira.
36 If we are to apply this beyond literature and indeed to the heart of the psychoanalytic act, it becomes clear why an analysis entwined with the symbolic is what Lacan names the religion of sense.
37 Joyce, J. Stephen Hero, p 86. Four Square, 1966, London.
38 Common neologism to describe religious readings and psychoanalytic positions held by some Lacanians who are more Lacanian than Lacan.
39 Inasmuch as any religion always gives sense to what is otherwise nonsensical. This reflection and comment I made to my old friend Moustapha Safouan while observing the ceremony, ritual and images of the Mass that we were attending on Christmas Night in Cairo at the Coptic Church in Egypt in 1996. What doubt could we have that Christianity was going to prevail?
40 Joyce, J. Stephen Hero.
41 Joyce, J. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Penguin Books, p 247.
42 Sollers, P. There is nothing to know about Joyce because his writing always knows more, a whole lot more, than the him that can be seen by another person. Difficult to admit? Impossible. Impossible to dissipate this final fetishist illusion, to allow that a body is not the source of what it writes but its instrument. ( ) The symptom is there: all the writers who over the last hundred years have pulled "literature" into an irreversible crisis have not looked after their own publication except Joyce . Joyce and Co. Communication to the Fifth International James Joyce Symposium held in Paris, June 1975.
43 Bousquet, A. Entretiens avec Salvador Dali, Editions du Rocher, 2000, p 112.My translation.
44 That is why among other things the traditional training of psychoanalysts is crudely structured in the rituals typical of a church and resembles so closely obssesional neurosis. It is fairly well known that an obssesional is always at the beginning of the doing, always in preparation, and less than seldom, if ever, in the doing.
45 Abraham, N. & Torok, M. Cryptonymie: Le verbier de l Homme aux loups. Editions Aubier, Paris 1976. The English translation is entitled The Wolf Mans Magic Word. The University of Minnesota, 1986.
46 This is another difference with the English School of Object Relations, the Middle Group included.
47 According to Lacan a discourse is the foundation, if not the origin of the social bond.
48 Joyce, J. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
49 Lacan commented on Joyces use of Litter and Letter, to use it for a Lacanian neologism: poubellication, to condense litter (poubelle) and publication.
50 As is well known, Joyce defied his friends while writing his Finnegans Wake to guess the name of his Work in Progress.
51 I still feel some shame for the (little) other who in reference to something I wrote and published at the time, wrote: If psychoanalysis (implying that it is) is about communication, this fails to communicate. (Sic!)
52 On this point Lacan later took stock to define the unconscious as one blunder.
53 Lacan, J. Session of 16 November 1976.
54 Idem. Joyce is not discouraged, he goes on sticking his tongue up. He writes not in langwidge (language at the edge of the wedge with which id is wed Joyces translusion for Lacan s lalangue) but in bursting flows, of languages (Joyces lelangues): umps, cuts singular plural.
55 Entretiens avec Salvador Dali. Yes. I reiterated many times my enjoyment for reproductions. It is one of my permanent formulas: I always encouraged people to reproduce my paintings, because I found the reproductions more beautiful than the originals, p 64. My translation.
56 Lacan, J. Caracas seminar, 12 July 1980. Papers of The Freudian School of Melbourne, Editor O Zentner, 1980, p 106. My translation.
57 Joyce, J. The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Penguin Modern Classics, p 230/231.
58 Logos is understood both as thought and speech.
59 It seems to me that here there is something that Lacan touched upon without resolving, to wit; the difference between the specular and the imaginary, something left unresolved from the Mirror stage as formative of the I. Something also touched on differently from a theoretical view point by Freud; to know that the ego is split according to pre-existent lines of fracture, like a crystal. See The Splitting of the Ego in the Process of Defence.
60 However the blind faith (it is the only proper word for the occasion) with which Lacan sometimes is endowed has often been an alibi which allowed some neither to read nor check the texts under examination. Likewise a rhetorical question like; was Joyce mad? is transformed into Joyces psychosis. The whole question of Stephens maltreatment by his peers has a precedent in the accusation received by Stephen/Joyce of heresy by Mr Tate, the English master, and it should be underscored that this took place in Ireland at the turn of the century. See A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, p79.
61 Could it be that analysts in general cant forgive someone who in the act does not give up on his desire?
62 Joyce, J. Idem, p82/83.
63 As far as I know.
64 Lacan, J. . I am interested to see what happens when my person does not act as a screen for what I teach . Seminar 10 June 1980. My translation.
65 "The one mistake" = lune bévue.
66 Lacan, J. Seminar The unbeknownst, which knows of the one mistake, flies towards love, or death, or the Italian game morra. As one of the many possible translations of the transliteration of the German word for Unconscious in French, that this seminar implies: Linsu que sait de lune-bévue saile a mourre.
67 What Lacan learnt from Joyce he utilised beyond the seminar Le sinthome as is clearly shown in the above quote in which Lacan speaks of what he has learned from Joyce; to know something unthought-of about another way of the Borromean knot rather than the application and extrapolation of the (mended) Borromean knot for a restitution of a supposed psychosis of Joyce.
68 French expression meaning that one is speechless. In this case Lacan uses Latin also in the other sense, that is the Latin language.
69 When Lacan says I have reasons (e.g. for my enigmas and plays on words) and asks whether with Joyce it is not a question of mending, it seems to me that this is an arbitrary question in which on the one hand Lacan does have his reasons, and on the other, Joyce has his failure! This is arbitrary because the importance that Joyce gave to his writings and care for their publication is well documented. In counterdistinction, one is reminded of the resistances with which Lacan published his Ecrits.
70 See footnote seventy-one.
71 Lacan, J. Nevertheless, I will point out something, before leaving you. ( ) the relationship that man keeps with his body is entirely sustained on the fact that man says that his body is something that he has that he possess it, that is to say that he possess it as a furniture of course, however, this has nothing to do with what permits him to be defined as a subject ( ) the Real (already in Freud) has nothing in common with reality ( .) he explains to us what concerns the ego, the Lust Ich, that this stage of primary narcissism is characterised not by the fact that there is no subject, what there is not is a relation between interior and exterior ( ) the famous Epiphanies of Joyce ( ) are always characterised by the consequence of this error: that the unconscious is linked to the Real thanks to the fault the unconscious and the Real are knotted. Session of 11 May 1976. My translation.
73 This has been the statement of Lacan taken by many as a proof of the psychosis in Joyce.
74 Lacan, J. Le sinthome. Session 11 May 1976.
75 Sollers. P. Lacan used to take too many liberties. Conference at Jean Allouchs seminar in Lécole Normale Supérieure, Paris, 14 February 2003.
76 Was this the direction that Philippe Sollers followed when, speaking at Jean Allouchs seminar on 14 of January 2003, he talked about the too many liberties that Lacan took, saying at the same time that Jung should be read?
77 For Jung, not just a question of him wanting, but a question of offering through McCormick, to analyse him.
78 Lacan, J. I will make you a small confession about these beings from whom writing is made. I do not think, regardless of how much has been said about them, for instance about Lenin, that hate or love, that hatelove might have drowned anyone. Do not come to me with the story of Mrs Freud! On that matter I have Jungs testimony. He said the truth, it was indeed his defect, and he did not say anything else. Session 20 March 1973.
79 Jung, C. Ulysses a monologue. Nimbus, p16.
80 Lacan, J. The dreamer there is none in particular: it is the dream itself. It is in this, which Joyce slides towards Jung, he slides in it the collective unconscious of which there is no better proof, no better proof than Joyce, that the collective unconscious is a sinthome. Because it cannot be said that Finnegan's Wake, in its imagination does not participate of that sinthome. Seminar Le sinthome, Session 16 March 1976.
81 Jung, C. Idem, p19.
82 Freud, S. The Splitting of the Ego in the Process of Defence. St. Ed. Vol. XXIII.
83 Although it is clear that the unconscious is structured like a language, it gives priority to the Other and in consequence to the signifier as a cause; from the moment in which the Unconscious would be transliterated into lune bévue not only the unconscious is no longer being caused by the signifier of the Symbolic but by the Real of the object a. And moreover the unconscious can lie! By omission or mistake.
84 Zentner, O. From the Formations of the Unconscious to the Unconscious as a formation. Papers of The Freudian School of Melbourne, 1989. Editor O. Zentner.
85 The It, the Ego and the Superego.
86 Lacan says elsewhere The It dialogues all the time. The It is fundamentally different from the unconscious insofar as there is unconscious only when one addresses an analyst. This shall suffice to understand why the It was always a foreign concept intrinsically speaking to the corpus of psychoanalysis, and moreover why it gave strange ideas to all those who promoted it, beginning with Groddeck.
87 This position should produce at least a questioning regarding the end of the analysis from the perspective of the traversing of a fundamental fantasm.
88 Zentner, O. Borges and the Fantasm of Reality. Papers of the Freudian School of Melbourne, Editor D Pereira, Vol 21.
89 Once the analyst has been thoroughly used and discarded by the analysand, the latter is in a position of making do with his symptoms.
90 I have chosen to translate in this way Lacans savoir y faire avec.
91However it is worth noticing that Sollers spoke exactly of the curiosity felt by Lacan regarding how he, Sollers, was able to do it without an analysis. Sollers in his talk at Jean Allouchs seminar, Lécole Normale Supérieure, 14 January 2003.
92 Lacan, J. Seminar Lsinthome.
93 Conrad, J. There is only one remedy! One thing alone can cure us from being ourselves! Yes; strictly speaking, the question is not how to get cured, but how to live. Lord Jim, quoted by André Gide in The Vatican Cellars, book V.
94 Vicissitudes is the word that Strachey does not betray in his translation of Freuds Triebe und Triebschicksale (Drives and their Vicissitudes).
95 Picasso, P. Catching the desire by its tail. It is in that play written by him that he stated his famous I do not seek, I find.
96 Joyce, J. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Penguin Modern Classics, p 253.
97 Zentner, O. Borges and The Fantasm of Reality, Papers of The Freudian School of Melbourne, Vol 21, p 67.
98 Zentner, O. Idem.
99 He perfected Lacans An enigma is an enunciated in which the enunciation is not founded.
100 Joyce said of his own accord that he wanted to keep the professors busy for the next two hundred years by exploiting to the utmost the possibilities of language not only regarding common accepted meaning, but playing also with transliterations and neologism. Concerning Dublin, I am only reminding the reader of the magnificent metaphor offered to him by the etymological meaning of the word Dublin, which means: Port of hurdles, and Joyce doubtless was playing Dublins/ hurdles all around his works, even finding Jouissance, and moreover, his Joy-Joyce with it.
101 The exile has been supremely condensed by Joyce himself: Après le mot; that is, since we speak we are condemned to exile.
102 Joyce, J. This race and this country and this life produce me, he said. I shall express myself as I am. Do you know what Ireland is? Asked Stephen with cold violence. Ireland is the old sow that eats her furrow. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, p 203. The Viking Press, New York.
103 Joyce, J. A young lady was standing on the steps of one of those brown brick houses which seems the very incarnation of Irish paralysis. A young gentleman was leaning on the rusty railings of the area. Stephen as he passed on his quest heard the following fragment of a colloquy out of which he received an impression keen enough to affect his sensitiveness quite severely .The young lady - (drawling discreetly) O, yes I was at the..cha..pel . The young gentleman - (inaudibly) I .(again inaudibly) I The young lady - (softly) but youre ve ry wick ed Stephen Hero, Four Square Book, p 215.
104 Since Joyce the English language does not exists anymore.
105 Although it is tempting to suggest that the logos is in this situation also the father, this remains to be seen. I for my part choose caution.
106 Allouch, J. Perturbation in Pernepsy . Papers of The Freudian School of Melbourne, Editor O Zentner.
107 Zentner, O. Unconscious and Interpretation. Paper read at Convergencia, 1999, Barcelona, Spain.
108 Zentner, O. Unconscious and Interpretation
109 These are the exacts words employed by Joyce to describe himself.
110 Or as Freud stated it: Pater semper incertus est.
111 Lacan, J. From the viewpoint of my rigour it can be said that I am a psychotic.
112 Lacan, J. Caracas Seminar, 12 July 1980. Papers of The Freudian School of Melbourne, 1980, p 105/6. Editor O Zentner. My translation.
113 Lacan, J. I have taken my position within psychoanalysis. In October 1953 a Congress took place in Rome. So I think, (that the organisers) might have thought to organise this Congress (October 1974) as an anniversary but I have prepared something; and with a lot of care something concerning the relationship of psychoanalysis with religion. These relations are not friendly. Briefly, it is a question of one or the other. If religion triumphs, and this is more than plausible I speak of true religion, and there is only a true one that implies that psychoanalysis has failed. The most normal thing is that psychoanalysis will fail, because it deals with something very, but very difficult. The Roman Catholic (Church) is the only true religion. Simply it is a question of knowing if that truth would be able to resist, that is to say, if it were capable of segregating sense to completely drown us, I do not have any doubt that it will be capable, since it is full of resources for doing it. There are already lots of things prepared for it. Religion will interpret the Apocalypses of St John. It will find a correspondence of everything with everything. That is its function. Press conference, 29 October 1974, Centre Culturel Français, Rome. The Third. My translation.
114 This is still another proof of the correctness of Freuds statement about the poets and it correlates itself with the fact that Joyce did not need to wait for Lacan in order to question religion in the field of sense. By the way sense is always religious, Lacan dixit.
115 Here Joyce uses the thesaurus of the meaning of gripes and implying one synonym he elegantly refers to the Protestants, as well as to the Orthodox, mockingly as the whingers, with which he produces a phenomenal joke!
116 Joyce, J. Finnegans Wake, p154/56. Faber & Faber, 1975.
117 That is why Lacan stated that to interpret an enigma is to keep feeding it with sense, that is, perpetuating it.
118 I am not suggesting that we are already proceeding in the same fashion with Lacan, but I am certain that if psychoanalysis holds any possibility of a future that will also take place. It is sufficient to note how many times Lacan himself complained of the lack of questioning from his audience. So far the very obvious one exception is Jean Allouch.
119 There is in fact a differentiation clarified by Lacan between the Other of discourse, the Other of desire, and the Other that lacks and does not exist, with the following notation: S(ø).
120 Lacan, J. L insu que sait de lune bévue saile a mourre, 1976/77, Ornicar? 12/13.
121 Lacan, J. The field is Freudian but the unconscious is of Lacan.
122 Lacan, J. The last session of the 1958 seminar Le désir et son interprétation.
123 Lacan, J. Le désir et son interprétation in which, as I have shown in Inconciente e Interpretación, he suggests very intently the use of the contrepèterie and the cut as the form to listen and conduct the psychoanalytic session. In the last class of 1958/59.
124 Desire and its interpretation.
125 See (below in the text) the proposed possible renderings into English of the title of the seminar.
126 Among many others, one of the factors for the expulsion of Lacan from the International Psychoanalytic Association was his refusal to standardise the session according to a fixed time. Accused of practicing what was called, even among some of his followers today, short sessions. In the analytic session time is never Procrustean, . . .but rather variable.
127 It is well known that Freud never neither prescribed a session of fixed time nor prescribed the number of sessions a week. So that if you reader asked what was going on, I will give you a hint: Prince Hamlet, for all the weakness that he surely had, he nevertheless stated in Ellsinore that something was rotten in the Kingdom of Denmark.
128 Zentner Rotmiler de M-I, The Follies of Time. Papers of The Freudian School of Melbourne, V17, Editor D. Pereira.
129 As always it is the lapsus linguae of its authors that denounces the actions they procured, showing the distance between their enunciation and their enunciated. To demonstrate the myth in question: the session is not to be confused with a paralyzing obsessionality since it is never short nor it is long, the analytic session is instead of variable time a difference that only takes place when distinguishing between chronological and logical time.
130 There is contrepèterie when a new enunciated appears by interchanging phonemes in a word.
131 As we shall see not only because of the phallic metonymy of the desire is the desire of the Other, but also because of the lack that it announces is beyond the fantasm of Oedipal castration, as the shadow of the anticipation of an object still to be conceptualised, the object (a). From the moment in which this object is conceptualised the cause of desire is displaced from being symbolic (The phallus as the signifier par excellence) to the Real (object a). Lacan goes in the same direction with his commentary on the fantasm of (S a), the woman in the Japanese film In the Realm of the Senses.
132 Zentner, O. Inconsciente e iterpretación. Paper read at Convergencia, psychoanalytic Congress, Barcelona, 1999.
133 We can hear the echo of what Lacan will make explicit later: in order to be able to go beyond the father, one has to be able first of making use of him.
134 Lacan, J. Le désir et son interprétation. Session1 July 1959. Yet Lacan was stating much more than this, as the fine irony with which in The Purloined Letter, he quotes Edgar Allan Poes own irony: Dupin was a bit of a poet and a mathematician.
135 See Lexcommunication, Supplement au numéro 8 dOrnicar? Documents édités par J. A. Miller.
136 L insu que sait de lune bévue saile a mourre.
137 Mora is an Italian guessing game.
138 Lamour, mora, mort are a kind of alliteration.
139 Moira and Ananké are the Greek words for destiny and necessity that Freud employs together.
140 This is a figure of rhetoric consisting of a play on words based on homonymic substitution.
141 The originality of the analytic couch was to encourage the analysand to couch so-called free associations in words, or wasnt it?
142 One of the possible interpretations of the ubiquitous HCE in Joyces Finnegans Wake.
143 The clinical and theoretical bibliography on the question of "unconscious feelings" of one sort or another is too big to be named individually.
144 Freud, S. The Unconscious, Section III, Unconscious Emotions. St.Ed.
145 Lennon, J., McCartney, P. With A Little Help of my Friends. The Beatles are right too, if you reader allow me to change just one word, of the original lyrics: What do you see (feel) when you turn out the lights? I cant tell you but I know its mine. Recorded at Studio Two, Abbey Road, March 29 & 30,1967. Original Title: Bad Finger Boogie.
146 Bosquet, A. Entretiens avec Salvador Dali. Editions du Rocher, 2000, p 62/63. My translation.
147 The savoir-faire avec with which Lacan was concerned as perhaps the only possible way of dealing with the symptom.
148 As always, the magnificent J L Borges is near in our thoughts is, in this case with his story; The Aleph.
149 M Luther, of course.
150 He would have never changed one religion for another (his own example, to become a member of the Protestant Church).
151 There is a group of Bookshops in France that calls itself: Loeil de la lettre, that is, the eye of the letter.
152 It is interesting that a master of the most innovative of fantastic realism like J L Borges judges James Joyce with the following unforgiving words: seventeen years to write a book that none will ever read. Thus confirming Lacans words: Joyce doesnt awake empathy in the other.
153 I am well aware that my reservations run against many Lacanians and at the same time I can see how and why the postulation of Joyces psychosis came into question. Notwithstanding the fact that Lacan himself in his Seminar and his interventions on Joyce, except for asking himself if Joyce was mad, never crossed the threshold to affirm that indeed he was psychotic.
154 According to the Oxford Dictionary tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee refers to two musicians. Also it is the designation of two persons who are considered very alike in appearance, character, opinion, or behaviour, etc. and more rarely of things, modes of conduct, which are very much alike and differ chiefly in name.
155 Joyces command and knowledge of several languages, among others German, is sufficient proof that he was teasing his friend when he asked him, why Jung disliked him, to which his friend answers, tellingly: Dont you know the meaning of Joyce in German? Being Freud, of course.
156 The difference between the unconscious and the It is that while the first is addressed to an analyst, the second is addressed to none and everyone.
157 The fact was historically grounded by Freud himself after having refused - to be enjoyed by his two times young /Jung disciple - to provide further associations of his dreams to Jung on the trip to America.
158 Joyce, J. Be who farther potential? and so wider but we grisly old Sykos who have done our unsmiling bit on alices, when they were yung and easily freudened, in the penumbra of the procuring room and what oracular comepression we had apply to them! , Finnegans Wake, p 115.
159 If I am not wrong and as far as I am aware, this is not quoted by Lacan, which explains perhaps why it is not mentioned by the Lacanese hierarchy.
160 Joyce, J. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Penguin Modern Classics, p189.
161 The question is such that language never belongs to the $, but rather that the $ belongs to it. Or in Lacans formula: A signifier is what represents a $ for another signifier.
162 The Jew endowed with intrinsically despicable characteristics is re-vindicated by Joyce as Ulysses. While crossing the frontier to Switzerland, Joyce would experience a few years later and shortly before dying, the interrogation of the Nazis querying him as to whether he was a Jew, to which he gave his memorable answer: I am an Aryan of Eyre!
163 Miller changes this affirmation into a question in the official translation of the seminar. During the seminar Miller told Lacan that he had said something similar about the Japanese. I think that Miller missed an important point in altering the transcription because the value of this affirmation is to be understood in a way similar to another of Lacans, as when he said that once someone has been analysed in a certain way within a certain school, that someone is incurable. See Zentner, O. Winnicott avec Khan, in Acheronta - Revista de Psicoanálisis y Cultura.
164 This one is here no other than the subject.
165 In due time, as he would be able to conduct an analysis to its end, he would be up-graded from being no one to be discarded as a residue of nothing.
166 Remembering also that it is always transference that permits and produces the analysis and certainly, not the other way round.
167 Joyce, J, ... My great blue bedroom, the air so quite, scarce a cloud. In peace and silence. I could have stayed up there for always only. Finnegans Wake, p 627.
168 Lacan, J. ( ) I do not like (Freuds) second topography, that in which Freud allowed himself to be swayed by Groddeck. ( ) He had the idea of the It as a global unity, which lives in you, while it is evident that the It dialogues. It is what I have designated with the A (Other).It is something that I called the soul-a-three, which is not only the Real but something with which we dont have any relation; with the language we bark after it. Which means that S () in it there is no answer. For this reason we speak alone, until an ego, what is called an I, appears. From this (ego, I) we do not have any guarantee whatsoever, which properly speaking might not be a delirant one. It is for this reason that I underscored ( ) what psychoanalysis is. Between madness and mental debility we dont have any other choice. Seminar L insu que sait de l'une-bévue saile à mourre. session of 11 January 1977. My translation.
169 Which is the best expected way both of finishing an analysis as of dealing with the père-vervsion.
170 This shows both Lacans theoretical tenets, in and out of the seminar, and the fact that Lacans malice met his match. On the other hand we know today of Heideggers comment on receiving one of Lacans letters: The psychiatrist needs a psychiatrist, This is the same Heidegger who during ten years dedicated time to a study group on existential psychoanalysis in Switzerland. See Zollikon Seminars, Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Illinois, 2001, p280/281.
171 Borges, J.L. Everything and Nothing.
172 Neologism condensing leaning on and thought.
173 The quality of the Borromean knot resides in the fact that it is enough to cut one of the rings to set the others free!
174 Was it that the me of Lacan was functioning as a fourth knot, like a mending ego for his school (L'école freudienne de Paris)? And if that was the case, the school was not necessarily condemned to finish, as he hinted, in a failure?
175 Lacan, J. Dissolution. Papers of The Freudian School of Melbourne, Homage to Freud, 1979. Editor Oscar Zentner. My translation.
176 The word sinthome condenses many meanings that vary from: sin as the failure in the Borromean knot, mended sometimes by the sinthome, or even the egosinthome; sin as the Original Sin, as Sainthome, thus condensing Saint Thomas Aquinas, and more Montaigne Essayes. Translated by John Florio,1603: Scribling seemeth to be a Synthome (simptøme, in French original) or a passion of an irregular and licentious age, chapter IX, Of vanitie, book three, Oxford University Press. This seems to be a time in which the English language apparently received via a translation, from French another of the injections of Greek language. Joyce¹s Ulysses and Lacan¹s seminar Le sinthome, aspired for both English and French, to the same re-injection of Greek language. See Lacan¹s opening of the Seminar Le sinthome: sinthome is the old way of writing what later was written as symptome. I allowed myself to use this orthography that signals the time in which the injection of Greek in what I called lalangue, my mother tongue Because Joyce¹s Ulysses aspired to a similar injection in the English language. Session 18 November 1975
177 Ferenczi, 30.10.1932
178 Namely Jung suggesting his analysand McCormick, Joyces benefactor, to enter in analysis with him, according to our hypothesis.
179 Lacan, who expressed explicitly that demand.
180 Zentner, O. Inconsciente e interpretación. Op cit.
181 Zentner, O. From Psychoanalysis - what is Transmitted is no Taught. Papers of The Freudian School of Melbourne.
182 Thus establishing the difference between a subject, that is; what is always represented by a signifier to another signifier( $), by (S1 to another S2) and an author, as the originator of a discourse.
183 In this way fulfilling - surprisingly - according to Lacans characterisation of science, one of its requirements: the foreclosure of the subject of science.