On the pitfalls and perils of publishing/poubellication: some lessons from the field

This paper will present the results of a field study that was inspired by the theories of Maleval on the functions of writing for the psychotic subject. More particularly, we wanted to find out to what extent these theories remain valid in the specific context of Villa Voortman, a non-residential meeting place for people with double diagnosis (psychosis and drug abuse) in Ghent (Belgium), where a substantial part of the visitors is engaged in writing. While the study confirmed the three major functions of writing as identified by Maleval (depositing of excess jouissance through the physical act of writing, pouring enjoyment into signifiers, and dumping excess jouissance through publishing), a fourth and major function emerged: the identification with an artist. It is reasonable to suggest that this is a particular effect of Villa Voortman’s policy to facilitate and stimulate subjects to build up an identity beyond their psychiatric label.

Lacan’s écrits revisited: on writing as object of desire

This essay is intended as a scholarly contribution to the construction of a detailed biography of Lacan’s 1966 Écrits, which is conceived here as a living entity whose influence continues to radiate around the world, within as well as outside psychoanalytic circles. Documenting and re-evaluating the historical circumstances presiding over the book’s gestation, birth and coming of age, the essay first argues that, despite the multiplicity inscribed in its title, Lacan’s volume constitutes an integrated unity rather than a mere collection of disparate papers written over a period of thirty-odd years, albeit a unity that is fundamentally incomplete. Subsequent to this, it is proposed that Lacan’s choice of title (Écrits, writings) occasioned the crystallisation of his own theory of the letter, writing and (knowledge) transmission. Even though this theory was already contained in statu nascendi in two of the papers collected in Écrits, it was only through a process of deferred action that Lacan came to appreciate its significance. Aligning writing with the object a, as cause of desire, Lacan’s theory both underpinned his opposition to Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction of logocentrism (and his concurrent promotion of writing as a primordial trace), and informed his own protracted consideration of the transmission of psychoanalytic knowledge during the 1970s via a series of (mathematical and topological) writings.

Terror, Negation, and Writing, Blanchot’s Reading of Sade

In the middle of the last century, numerous French thinkers were interested in the literary works of D.A.F. de Sade, among them Lacan and Blanchot. Blanchot saw Sade as the ideal writer and this author argues that Blanchot’s assertion was based on a conceptualisation of Sade’s literature as revealing both the materiality and the autonomy of language. According to Blanchot, Sade’s language balances on a border: between the things to which language refers on the one hand, and the content that is normally expressed by language on the other. It is further argued that this balancing act is also reflected in the regime of Terror in France, and the universe described by the Marquis in his writings.

Frege and Lacan: A Transcendental Line of Thought

This paper analyses the idea that Frege and Lacan can be connected through a transcendental line of thought. From this viewpoint Frege’s development of modern formal logic is considered as a moment in modernity that shows that the challenge of formalization or mathematization is in fact a challenge of identification of both subject and object. Lacan’s thinking is in accord with this endeavour, but it articulates more explicitly and symbolically the connection between formalization and identification. A crucial point in our argument is that a transcendental viewpoint is not necessarily incompatible with a lacanian viewpoint, to the extent, namely, that attention is paid to the idea that subject and object are first and foremost of the order of writing or the symbolic.

Care and Repetition: About good, truth and writing

This article deals with the formidable challenge of repetition for therapeutic or educational care. Two forms of repetition are differentiated: one driven by the Oedipal life drive, the other by the death drive. Through a close reading of the classic myth of Oedipus Rex, the encounter of these forms of repetition is demonstrated. This myth also offers three main perspectives from which this work may be grasped: good, truth and writing. Originating in a project for abandoned children in a school for special education (De Sassepoort), the possible benefits of assisting children through writing is supported.

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