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Summary: Jacques Lacan entered an ongoing dialogue between psychoanalysis and Catholicism when he delivered his Discourse to Catholics (1960) to the Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis. In the 1950s, the Catholic Church under the leadership of Pius XII taught its members to be wary of psychoanalysis due to its focus on desire in the unconscious. Lacan instead argued the essential connection between ethics and desire in Freud’s work and the role of psychoanalysis in facilitating the articulation of desire. Later, in The Triumph of Religion (1974), Lacan argued religion incompletely excretes meaning to conceal problems science discovers, and the world is confronted with the Real. While psychoanalysis directs attention to the Real, “what doesn’t work in the world,” Lacan predicted religion would eventually excrete enough meaning to make psychoanalysis irrelevant. Yet the Church’s position in this dialogue has changed. Joseph Bergoglio attended psychoanalysis in the 1970s and, as Pope Francis, has sought to move the Church away from the moralism of the past, which tied ethics to behavior compliance, and towards nonjudgment which sees ethics enacted through mercy. Rather than continue to sustain concealment of the Real (as the Church has done with clergy sexual abuse), Francis wants to move the Church closer to the Real through his emphasis on people on the margins, evidence of what is not working in the world.


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.

Lacan’s écrits revisited: on writing as object of desire

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.

Dancing as Delila

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.