Summary: It is not by chance that in Seminar Encore Lacan criticizes the reduction of the mystical jouissance to a substitute of the phallic relation. Indeed, what is aimed at in mysticism, in Lacan’s reading, is not the reduction of the Other to the One. It is rather a matter of knotting the phallic One to the real Other, which is outside the symbolic, but in such a way that the Other of language finds itself barred.
In showing us (rather than demonstrating it to us) that, beyond all that is, there is an ex- sistence, without name and without attributes, an ex-sistence in the face of which all that is, is devaluated, even erased, and which the mystics call God, mystical writing compel us to take up, with Lacan, the question of knowing to what kind of the real this relation to a being that cannot be known opens access.
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.
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.
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.
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.