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An Intolerable Rejection

The Letter, Issue 66/67, Autumn 2017/Spring 2018, Pages 3 - 10


Malachi McCoy

In New Studies on Hysteria,[2] Charles Melman identifies four concepts: traumatism, incompatibility, repression and unconscious. Beyond the image is to be found a repressed and rejected cast-off; the constitution of whom, Melman asserts, is freshly preserved. Unremittingly, this original signifier’s infiltration presents the hysteric’s psychosomatic manifestations. Sounding out that foreign body, Freud’s discovery assures us that psychoanalysis alone, in deciphering the language of symptomatology, gives recognition to and discharges that real place of suffering.

Keywords: Freud; Melman; repression; hysteria; incompatible; rejection; signifier.


It is intolerable. It is rejected. Its rejection becomes an intolerable and highly charged infiltrating agent. In New Studies on Hysteria[3] Dr Charles Melman restores Freud’s inauguration of the essential concept of repression and of the unconscious, because one is correlative with the other.[4] The development of these new writings presents us with an idea of the freshness with which hysteria signifies the embodying preservation of an ancient, pervasive, unconscious text. What is it that we don’t want to know about the history of our subject; what implicates a traumatism so incompatible? The psychoanalyst has something new to tell us; firstly, fundamentally, he refers us to Freud.

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