The oedipus heralds the loss of the pre-symbolic identity of the subject, that is forced to live, to think and to talk in a common language. Unspoken, preverbal identity elements are abandoned. Poetry is perhaps a form of language that brings to mind these pre-oedipal hidden sentiments. In other words, the question is what are the traces of this mutilation and these losses? Julia Kristeva’s theory of the semiotic, and also the work of Wilfred Bion, Lou-Andréas Salomé and Ingeborg Bachmann, are discussed in detail with regards to their contributions to the individuality and singularity of this pre-oedipal and preverbal condition. The importance of poetry (also in the psychoanalytic cure) is highlighted by an evocation of the literary survival attempt by Serge André, not least his personal comment on the book Flac that he wrote to free himself from the threat of physical risk.
In this article, the reader is introduced to the fascinating fictional universe created by the Dutch writer Gerard Reve. Far from searching for the person behind the work, we examine how Reve creates his personality through his fiction, how he forges a new language for his (homosexual) desire: a mixture of irony and religious piety, of romantic and vulgar idioms, of fairy tales and memories, a language that enables him to cope with his fears and his disturbed relationship with his parents. It is argued, with reference to the theoretical framework of Kristeva, that Reve’s work helps to assure his subjectivity, to protect him from “going mad” as he puts it, but at the same time also provides a place where, via the irony, the metaphors, the style, the humour, via everything that defies the symbolic law, the writer celebrates the jouissance of the Other, in the text.