In this article, the author examines the validity of an interpretation of literature based on psychoanalytical theory. In the first part, he considers the metaphor that compares the text to a woman and the woman to a text, and investigates the relationship between the (psychoanalytical) interpretation of desire, and the desire for interpretation itself. Is the place where a text longs for an interpretation not also the place where the interpreter yearns for his long lost object a? Moreover, is the text, like an accomplished femme fatale, not able to use this desire against us? The author argues that any reading of a text is influenced by this desire. This makes it impossible to master a text, just as it was impossible for Sigmund Freud and his literary pendant Sherlock Holmes, both outwitted by the women they believed they mastered. In the second part of the paper, the author gives an overview of the theoretical work of Julia Kristeva, who rejects too rigid an opposition between the word and the body, between the symbolic father and the pre-oedipal mother. This also implies that our bodily desire and our knowledge are inseparably linked. In the last part of the text, Kristeva’s theory is used to propose an alternative reading strategy, as a mixture of jouissance and savoir, a strategy that creates, rather than discovers, truth. Opposed to the idea of an absolute Truth, as much as resisting an absolute nihilism, reading is presented as an act that brings us “in process”. If every theory is an imaginary construction, a fiction, Kristeva shows us the importance of this fiction in giving the subject the chance to create a poetic language for his desire.
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Addiction Aggression Applied psychoanalysis Architecture Art Body Case study Child analysis Collecting Death death drive desire ethics Fantasy Freud Gaze Hysteria Identity Institution interpretation Jacques Lacan Jouissance Lacan Language Literature Memory Narcissism Object a Oedipus Outsider Art Psychoanalysis Psychosis Real Repetition Repression Sade Signifier Subject Sublimation the Gaze Transference Trauma Unconscious Violence Writing