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  • Fragment of a Case of Posthysteria:D’or Owns the Jewel
  • Shannon Bell (bio)

A major radical transformation from the nineteenth-century hysteric to the twenty-first-century posthysteric is a transformation in discourse and, of course, in the agency embedded in that discourse.

In this narration Dora becomes the posthysteric D’Or. The French meaning of the name D’or is golden. Freud gave his star hysteric the name of his sister’s maidservant, Dora (O’Neill 80). Lacan refers to Dora and two other hysterical patients as “mouths of gold” for the knowledge Freud gathered from them (Lacan XVII 99). It is said of the name D’or that:

People with this name tend to initiate events, to be leaders rather than followers, with powerful personalities. They tend to be focused on specific goals, experience a wealth of creative new ideas, and have the ability to implement these ideas with efficiency and determination. They tend to be courageous and sometimes aggressive. As unique, creative individuals, they tend to resent authority, and are sometimes stubborn, proud, and impatient.


The name alteration indicates that the posthysteric has gone beyond the hysteric’s positioning as a servant to Freud and psychoanalysis: in the [End Page 189] nineteenth century, the tracks of psychoanalysis were laid on the back of the hysteric. In the twenty-first century the posthysteric drives a gold spike through these tracks and in so doing reroutes the way and destination. In the name alteration, the missing a that changes Dora to D’or is the a of object a, the truth position in Lacan’s famous four discourses. Object a is embodied in D’or as the agent who occupies the discourse positions of Master s1, Analyst a, and University s2, in addition to the position of Hysteric $. This, of course, changes the agent position of the barred subject $ of the hysteric to the posthysteric position that blends the structural positions of truth/agent/production/other into a new agency that can be written as a-$-s2-s1 and a new discourse: the Discourse of the Posthysteric.

In presenting the case of D’or I take my utterances regarding the case and the assertion of my interpreted scenarios as reality; this is to say that what I in the dominant position of the Master (s1) detail about D’or in subsection 4, “Eighteen year old D’or,” is presented as objective fact and I refuse to acknowledge that the scenarios derived are constructed. What I in the position analyst (a) in subsection 5, “D’or Owns the Jewel: D’or and Female Ejaculatory Agency,” re-member is accomplished through the postmodern techniques of queering and speed; what I in the dominant position of Knowledge (s2) in subsection 5 reveal is the techné of female ejaculation; and, what I in the dominant position of posthysteric ($) bring forth in subsections 4 and 5 is an ownership of the female phallus by providing the blade for the hysteric’s double-edged sword questions: “What is the female organ?” “What is it to be a woman?” (Lacan III 171). It is the additional third question that D’or asks, “How to [female] ejaculate?,” which reworks the hysteric’s two questions and in so doing not only brings the “the master to heel” (Lacan XVIII, X, 11), which the hysteric was capable of doing, but also brings psychoanalysis to its knees.

A Matheme in which the hysteric $/s1/s2/a becomes posthysteric a-$-s2-s1

This subsection sets out 1) the formal structure of Lacan’s Four Discourses, paying particular attention to the vectors or arrows of the circuit, 2) the matheme of Lacan’s Discourse of the Hysteric, and 3) my matheme of the Discourse of the Posthysteric. [End Page 190]

Formal Structure (Lacan XX 17 and Lacan, Milan Lecture)

The one speaking, the agent, addresses herself to the other (arrow 1) from the truth sustaining the speaker agent (arrow 2). The truth through symptoms of daily life (slips of the tongue, faulty actions) and also pathological symptoms addresses itself indirectly to the other (arrow 3). The other responds to the subject with a...


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