In 1965 Lacan paid tribute to Marguerite Duras and her novel The Ravishing of Lol V. Stein. In his homage Lacan claims that Duras’ art seemed to possess a certain knowledge. The authors argue that this knowledge relates to the difficulties for a speaking being of identification with the body. The novel is about the triggering of a psychosis at the specific moment when a woman is invited by a man to participate in a sexual act, while her strategy involved avoiding being positioned as object of male sexual desire. This case is compared with a case of paranoia described by Freud, in which the destabilizing factor also lies in the sexual sphere. For both women the triggering factor lies in the confrontation with the enjoyment of the Other and the impossibility to become the subject of the sexual demand of the Other.
In his PhD defence the author discusses the theoretical evolution of the Lacanian concepts jouissance and psychosis. He analyses how nuanced shifts in Lacan’s thinking on psychosis influence his theory on jouissance, and vice versa, and how changes in his conceptualization of jouissance force a reconsideration of his theory of psychosis. This is done based on the cases Lacan presents throughout his writings and seminars.
On the Staging of Fundamental Fantasy, Jouissance and Gaze in Stanley Kubrick’s Cinematography: A Lacanian Perspective
This essay is based on the public defence of a dissertation in which the cinematography of Stanley Kubrick is analysed in light of Lacan’s concepts of fundamental fantasy, jouissance and gaze. Four of Kubrick’s films are discussed and located in the academic literature and the methodological and theoretical frameworks are outlined. In the thesis it is proposed that the narratives of these four films are underpinned by a concrete scenario of a fundamental fantasy: “C observes: A overpowers B”, and that this scenario forms the basis of both the staging of a taxonomy of jouissance and of the evocation of the gaze as instance of the object a. In conclusion, it is outlined how these findings align with the methodological point of departure of the research project.
This article analyzes Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (1987) in the light of Lacan’s concepts of the (fundamental) fantasy, jouissance and the gaze. We criticize McGowan’s (2007) thesis that Kubrick’s staging of the gaze and fantasy confronts spectators with a blind spot for the obscene underside of authority. Firstly, we refer to McGowan’s statement that Kubrick’s cinema reflects fantasy’s quality of structure. Where McGowan does not indicate what kind of fantasy structure these films stage, we argue that Full Metal Jacket is underpinned by the concrete scenario of the fundamental fantasy: “C observes: A overpowers B”. Secondly, we criticize McGowan’s tendency to univocally link Kubrick’s depiction of derailed father figures with the real-life functioning of authority. By referring to Freud’s early theory on the etiology of hysteria and Lacan’s interpretation of Freud’s (1919e) article “A Child is Being Beaten”, we argue that the film’s staging of its main authority figure – the drill instructor – also illustrates how the fantasy of the abusive father can function as a mediator for the fantasizing subject’s own jouissance. Finally, we question McGowan’s remark that, despite Kubrick’s staging of the gaze, the director’s cinema ultimately leaves spectators “unscathed”. Building upon other academic analyses and press reviews of the film, we argue that Full Metal Jacket does not leave spectators unharmed. On the contrary, we hypothesize that the gaze appears when the viewer loses his distance from the film’s depictions of violence, by momentarily coinciding with a vanishing point of jouissance himself.
It is argued that what is at stake in psychoanalytic theory, is first of all psychoanalytic practice, i.e. the endeavour to guide the psychoanalyst in bringing his conception of his experience above the level of common sense knowledge. Secondly, psychoanalytic theory must be constructed in such a way that it holds out from a scientific point of view. More specifically, Lacanian theory is a theory on the subject, on desire and on jouissance and must be situated in the intersection of cognitivism (the symbolic) and ethology (the imaginary), while it introduces a third dimension, that of the jouissance (the real). Furthermore, it is argued that psychoanalysis discovered that in the human animal language has emancipated itself from its operational function in that it parasitizes and transforms animal jouissance.