State University of New York Press

SUNY series in Psychoanalysis and Culture

Henry Sussman

Published by: State University of New York Press

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Acting Beautifully

Henry James and the Ethical Aesthetic

What is the matter with the women in Henry James? In The Portrait of a Lady, The Wings of the Dove, and his short story “The Altar of the Dead,” one woman returns to a monster of a husband, another dies rather than confront the truth of her lover’s engagement, while yet another stakes her all on having a candle lit for a dead lover, only to promptly reject it. Exploring these strange choices, Sigi Jöttkandt argues that the singularity of these acts lies in their ethical nature, and that the ethical principle involved cannot be divorced from the question of aesthetics. She combines close readings of James with suggestive tours through Kantian aesthetics and set theory to uncover the aesthetic underpinning of the Lacanian ethical act, which has been largely overlooked in the current drive to discover a Cartesian origin for the subject as the subject of science.

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After Lacan

Clinical Practice and the Subject of the Unconscious

After Lacan combines abundant case material with graceful yet sophisticated theoretical exposition in order to explore the clinical practice of Lacanian psychoanalysis. Focusing on the groundbreaking clinical treatment of psychosis that Gifric (Groupe Interdisciplinaire Freudien de Recherches et d’Interventions Cliniques et Culturelles) has pioneered in Quebec, the authors discuss how Lacanians theorize psychosis and how Gifric has come to treat it analytically. Chapters are devoted to the general concepts and key terms that constitute the touchstones of the early phase of analytic treatment, elaborating their interrelations and their clinical relevance. The second phase of analytic treatment is also discussed, introducing a new set of terms to understand transference and the ethical act of analysis in the subject’s assumption of the Other’s lack. The concluding chapters broaden discussion to include the key psychic structures that describe the organization of subjectivity and thereby dictate the terms of analysis: not just psychosis, but also perversion and obsessional and hysterical neurosis.

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End of Dissatisfaction?, The

Jacques Lacan and the Emerging Society of Enjoyment

Exploring the emergence of a societal imperative to enjoy ourselves, Todd McGowan builds on the work of such theorists as Jacques Lacan, Slavoj Zðizûek, Joan Copjec, and Theresa Brennan to argue that we are in the midst of a large-scale transformation—a shift from a society oriented around prohibition (i.e., the notion that one cannot just do as one pleases) to one oriented around enjoyment. McGowan identifies many of the social ills of American culture today as symptoms of this transformation: the sense of disconnection, the increase in aggression and violence, widespread cynicism, political apathy, incivility, and loss of meaning. Discussing these various symptoms, he examines various texts from film, literature, popular culture, and everyday life, including Toni Morrison’s Paradise, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, and such films as Dead Poets Society and Trigger Effect. Paradoxically, The End of Dissatisfaction? shows how the American cultural obsession with enjoying ourselves actually makes it more difficult to do so.

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Ethical Dimension of Psychoanalysis, The

A Dialogue

Addressing the common ground between ethics and psychoanalysis, W. W. Meissner asks “Does psychoanalysis have anything to contribute to ethical understanding and reflection?” and conversely, “Does ethics have anything to offer analytic understanding of the complexities of human behavior and decision-making?” Both disciplines focus their interest and concern not only on the inner well-being of the individual, but also on questions of his or her adaptation to the outside world, including both intimate personal relations as well as broader societal and communal relations. This book explores and explicates areas of interaction and common interest between these two disciplines in the hope of opening the way to further exploration and dialogue in the understanding of the human phenomenon.

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French Fairy Tales

A Jungian Approach

Bettina L. Knapp explores the universal and eternal nature of fourteen French fairy tales, including the medieval Romance of Mélusine, Charles Perrault’s seventeenth-century versions of Sleeping Beauty and Bluebeard, and Jean Cocteau’s film version of Beauty and the Beast. She demonstrates the relevance of these fairy tales for modern readers, both for the psychological problems they address and for the positive resolutions they offer. Through her careful examination of these tales, Knapp shows that people in past eras suffered from such supposedly “modern” problems as alienation and identity crises and went through harrowing ordeals before experiencing some sort of fulfillment. By imparting the age-old wisdom embedded in these works, French Fairy Tales triggers new insights into psychological problems and offers helpful ways of dealing with them.

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Later Lacan, The

An Introduction

This book includes essays by some of the finest practicing analysts and teachers of psychoanalysis in the Lacanian community today. The writings offer an essential introduction to the later teachings of Jacques Lacan, illuminate the theoretical developments introduced by the later Lacan, and explore their clinical implications with remarkable acumen.

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Logic of Sexuation, The

From Aristotle to Lacan

In The Logic of Sexuation, Ellie Ragland offers a detailed account of Jacques Lacan’s theories of gender, sexuality, and sexual difference. Exploring Lacan’s rereading (via Aristotle) of Freud’s major essays on feminine sexuality, Ragland demonstrates that Lacanian theory challenges essentialist notions of gender more effectively than do current debates in gender studies, which are typically enmeshed in an imaginary impasse of one sex versus or interchanged with the other. Although much American feminist thought on Lacan has portrayed him as anti-Woman, Ragland argues that Lacan was, in fact, pro-Woman, as he felt that no advances in analytic cure, or in thinking itself, could evolve except by embracing the feminine logic of the “not all,” with its particular modes of jouissance. Ragland also aims to make sense of the terms phallus, castration, sexuation, the object a, jouissance, and so on, in relation to the question of sexual difference. In doing so, she uncovers Lacan’s theory that the learning of sexual difference is what makes it possible to think dialectically at all.

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other Side of Desire, The

Lacan's Theory of the Registers

Explores Lacan's theory of the registers through readings of a wide variety of texts. The other Side of Desire puts Jacques Lacan’s theoretical constructs to work on texts as varied as Plato’s Symposium, Hamlet, Tootsie, and the journals of Sylvia Plath, making the techniques of Lacanian analysis accessible to a wide variety of readers. Moving from oppositional readings of Lacan himself, through Lacan’s search for an alternative to oppositionality, to his solution in the theory of the registers, Van Pelt rereads Lacan’s most significant essays on aggressivity, the mirror stage, the subversion of the subject, and the signification of the phallus, making explicit the reading practices implicit in Lacan’s first seven Seminars and his Écrits. Throughout, Van Pelt demonstrates Lacanian theory’s pivotal role in the intellectual transition from the poststructuralism of the mid–twentieth century to the post-humanism of the twenty-first.

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Post-Jungian Criticism

Theory and Practice

This groundbreaking collection brings the range and diversity of post-Jungian thought into the realm of contemporary literary and cultural criticism. These essays explore, expand, critique, and apply post-Jungian critical theory as they revisit and reread Jung’s own writings from numerous perspectives. No longer treated as a source of clear, unequivocal, authoritative pronouncement, Jung’s writings are themselves subjected to critical, deconstructive readings, and several of the essays confront head-on Jung’s evident racism, antifeminism, anti-Semitism, and political conservatism. While not downplaying such charges, the contributors outline an alternative, post-Jungian theory responsive to contemporary feminist, postcolonial, and poststructural concerns. The result is not just a critical reinterpretation but, more important, a regeneration of Jungian thought.

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Reading Seminar XX

Lacan's Major Work on Love, Knowledge, and Feminine Sexuality

This collection offers the first sustained, in-depth commentary on Seminar XX, Encore, considered the cornerstone of Lacan’s work on the themes of sexual difference, knowledge, jouissance, and love. Although Seminar XX was originally popularized as Lacan’s treatise on feminine sexuality, these essays, by some of today’s foremost Lacanian scholars, go beyond feminine sexuality to address Lacan’s significant intertwining concern with the rupture between reality and the real produced by modern science, and the implications of this rupture for subjectivity, knowledge, jouissance, and the body. The essays clarify basic concepts, but for readers already familiar with Lacan they also offer sophisticated workings-through of the more challenging and obscure arguments in Encore—both by tracing their historical development across Lacan’s œuvre and by demonstrating their relation to particular philosophical, theological, mathematical, and scientific concepts. They cover much of the terrain necessary for understanding sexual difference—not in terms of chromosomes, body parts, choice of sexual partner, or varieties of sexual practice—but in terms of one’s position vis-à-vis the Other and the kind of jouissance one is able to obtain. In so doing, they make significant interventions in the debates regarding sex, gender, and sexuality in feminist theory, philosophy, queer theory, and cultural studies.

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