Summary: With his twentieth seminar entitled Encore (Still, 1970-1971), Jacques Lacan places a ‘point’ at the end of a sentence constituted by the combined titles of the eighteenth (Of a Discourse that Might Not Be a Semblance, 1971-1972) and nineteenth (… Or Worse, 1972-1973) seminars. Returning to the fifth (1957-1958) and sixth (1958-1959) seminars, in which Lacan described, in the context of his ‘graph of desire’, the point as that what in a chain of signifiers functions as a stop retroactively granting the chain with meaning, De Kesel presents Encore as functioning like a point that reflects on Lacan’s former seminars. Like the earlier work, Encore (Still) portrays human beings as subjects of desire. Linking people’s unquenchable desire for satisfaction to feminine jouissance and the ecstatic experiences of mystics – a fleeting, momentary fulfillment of an endless desire for the absent (divine) lover – Encore states, once more, with another set of signifiers, that the hoped-for attainment of the object of desire – the signified meaning, closure must be suspended, yet again.
Summary: Lacan’s seminar Encore is often read, and not unjustly, as a seminar on enjoyment, jouissance, and especially ‘other jouissance’ or jouissance of the Other, while the topic of desire, so important in Lacan’s earlier work, seems to fade into the background. Contrary to this impression, the paper argues that desire plays a key role in Lacan’s construction of the other jouissance, and explores the complexity of the relationship between desire on the one hand, and enjoyment and drive on the other. The paper also explores the social and political aspects of desire and hysteria as its key figure.
This essay is intended as a scholarly contribution to the construction of a detailed biography of Lacan’s 1966 Écrits, which is conceived here as a living entity whose influence continues to radiate around the world, within as well as outside psychoanalytic circles. Documenting and re-evaluating the historical circumstances presiding over the book’s gestation, birth and coming of age, the essay first argues that, despite the multiplicity inscribed in its title, Lacan’s volume constitutes an integrated unity rather than a mere collection of disparate papers written over a period of thirty-odd years, albeit a unity that is fundamentally incomplete. Subsequent to this, it is proposed that Lacan’s choice of title (Écrits, writings) occasioned the crystallisation of his own theory of the letter, writing and (knowledge) transmission. Even though this theory was already contained in statu nascendi in two of the papers collected in Écrits, it was only through a process of deferred action that Lacan came to appreciate its significance. Aligning writing with the object a, as cause of desire, Lacan’s theory both underpinned his opposition to Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction of logocentrism (and his concurrent promotion of writing as a primordial trace), and informed his own protracted consideration of the transmission of psychoanalytic knowledge during the 1970s via a series of (mathematical and topological) writings.
This paper starts by addressing a number of common interpretations of love. Initially we recognise a conceptualisation of love as a ‘compatibility degree’, interspersed with an idyllic and rational set of ideas where the other is searched for as a duplicate of the self. We contradict this mindset by formulating an alternative that is primarily backed up by elements of the Graphe, where the emphasis is put on the interplay between lack and desire. In our effort we create space for an idea of love where tragedy can be reintroduced and hereby demonstrate facets like difference, subversion and incalculability. The theory is subsequently given a vivid and human illustration because different myths and a parable lend themselves excellently towards this task. The figurehead of the interplay between lack and desire is to be found in the parable of Samson.
Lacan’s notion of “objet a” designates the paradox of an object which gives body to a surplus over all determinate objects, an object which gives body to a lack constitutive of desire. What happens with this object at the end of the psychoanalytic treatment? The text proposes a parallel between the final moment of the treatment and the final reversal in telling a joke: in both cases, the sudden shift of perspective enacts what Lacan called the fall of the object, its change from a fascinating mystery to an excremental remainder.