Milan Kundera and the sorrow of Don Juan

The Czech author Milan Kundera, one of the most famous contemporary “literary analysts”, is recognized as a master story-teller of the relationship between men and women. In this article, Kundera’s perspective is compared with the Lacanian statement that “there is no such thing as a sexual relation”. In a critical way, some of Kundera’s protagonists (Tomas, Klíma, Martin and Havel) are confronted with the Freudo-Lacanian interpretation of the Don Juan character. Through a short historical review, the author examines how Don Juan has evolved through the centuries from vulgar libertine to romantic hero. Kundera’s characters are situated within this evolutionary continuum. Both from a phenomenological and a structural viewpoint, a clear distinction is made between the characters of Don Juan and Casanova. The question is whether Kundera’s characters are Don Juans or Casanovas.

“Suddenly, they appear…”: On genuine, small and other Freudian case-studies

Reflecting on the three symposia recently organised by Idesça in cooperation with the Gezelschap voor Psychoanalyse en Psychotherapie, the author queries the status of so-called “small case-studies”. With reference to (i) his own clinical experience; (ii) so-called small Freudian case-studies (in contrast with Freud’s case-studies of Dora, The Ratman, The Wolfman, Little Hans and Schreber); and (iii) the short stories of the Belgian writer Peter Verhelst (Mondschilderingen [“mouth paintings”] (2002)), it is argued that a small Freudian clinical fragment bears witness to (i) the enigmatic presence of the clinician with respect to the sudden appearance of the unconscious; (ii) the use of a certain style and a certain measure; (iii) the circumvention of imaginary reality; and (iv) the clinical structure of fantasy.

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Silently Self Evident: on Memory and Fantasy

The author argues that there is a self evident relation between memory and fantasy. In the first part of the paper some fantasies about memory are brought to the fore. Also several factors that play a part in the availability of memories are discussed. Special consideration is given to conscious and unconscious repression. The second part concerns the inseparable interrelation of memory and fantasy, at which point the author explains the statement that every act of memory is also an act of imagination. Finally the vicissitudes of certain fantasies and their significance for implicit relational patterns are discussed. Particular attention is paid to the possible transition of a fantasy from the explicit to the implicit memory system.