The mythification of memory: Freud, Lacan and Sebald’s Austerlitz

This paper explores the theme of memory and the process of remembering, linked to the inception of psychoanalysis and Freud’s work with his first hysterical patients which taught him that remembering, or rather, reminiscing, forms a crucial part of every analysis. Remembering is imprecise and is therefore of immense significance. What doesn’t fit into the narrative of life is “trauma.” It is what could not be assimilated by the subject and thus it is separated from “memory” (Braunstein, 2010, p. 6). In developing this, I will assess Freud’s early work with female hysterics and his work on technique, as well as Lacan’s elaborations of Freud’s technique in his work in the fifties which instrumentalise the importance of “dialectic” in supporting the analysand’s speech and remembering. What is essential is the “reconstruction” of the past and not simply reproducing it. W.G. Sebald’s compelling novel Austerlitz (2001) serves as a complimentary text in assessing the subjective significance of memory and remembering.

In The Course Of Events Everything Will Become Clear: Repetition and Temporality in Lacan’s early Seminars

This paper looks at how the concepts of repetition and temporality were being conceptualised at the early stage of Lacan’s work in terms of his interest in cybernetics, and explores how repetition and temporality were being brought together within the overarching framework presented in the postface to the seminar on The Purloined Letter. Consideration is given to how Lacan theorises the automatic, autonomous nature of unconscious contents, their timeless indestructible character, and the distinction between conscious and unconscious memory. Adding to this Freud’s concept of Nachträglichkeit, the author looks at the difficulties in conceptualising a psychoanalytic notion of time within the context of repetition compulsion.

Writings around Das Ding

In this article das Ding is characterized as the structural a priori condition for memory and, more broadly, for the subject in its desire. First, the fundamentally conflicting nature of the psychical apparatus as outlined by Freud in his Project for a scientific psychology (1950a[1895]) is examined. The elaboration of the opposition between the primary processes or the pleasure principle on the one hand and the secondary processes or the reality principle on the other is of crucial importance. The ambiguity that characterizes this opposition is related to the Freudian notion of das Ding as the residue of the process of judgement through which a subject tries to grasp the outside world and the Nebenmensch. Das Ding, as the primordial outside of the subject, is then characterized, with Lacan, as the centre around which the subjective world of the unconscious is organised but from which it is nevertheless excluded. Finally, the implications of this theory for the desiring subject on the one hand and for an articulation of the ethics of psychoanalysis on the other are addressed.

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.

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.