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.
“J’ai retrouvé ce journal dans deux cahiers des armoires bleues de Neauphle-le-Château. Je n’ai aucun souvenir de l’avoir écrit. Je sais que je l’ai fait, que c’est moi qui l’ai écrit, je reconnais mon écriture et le détail de ce que je raconte, […], mais je ne me vois pas écrivant ce Journal. […] Je ne sais plus rien” (Duras, 1985a: 12). With these words, Duras ensnares the reader. With remarkable clarity, she describes waiting for Robert Antelme. How are we to understand her forgetting of this manuscript? Are we dealing with a Freudian forgetting? Has Duras really forgotten that she wrote her pain? Is it a simple lapsus or can we learn something new about forgetfulness here? Does something like a true forgetting exist, and if so, how should we characterize Duras’ manuscript, forgotten, but nonetheless recognizable? With these questions as signposts, the author moves from Duras’ book La douleur (1985a) to Laure Adler’s biography of Duras.