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From the Lacan-Joyce Correspondence

The Letter, Issue 37, Summer 2006, Pages 8 - 17


Oscar Zentner

What is the neutrality of the analyst?

If not exactly this, the subversion

of sense, that is a kind of aspiration, not towards the real, but by the real Jacques Lacan

Mors aut honorabilis vita James Joyce

On the one hundredth anniversary of Bloomsday I gave in Melbourne the reasons for, as well as my thoughts on, my debt to Joyce.[2] Following on from that, in the land of Ire,[3] and in Dublin, his city, I wonder if we can miss the irony that it is only over Joyce's dead body that we are today here as analysts.

Joyce's works were designed to create aspiring Theseuses who, contrary to the myth, will remain in the Joycean labyrinth under the spell of his enigmas. My wager instead will be elsewhere. I will examine the Joyce effect that psychoanalysis has suffered as a result of his writings.

The rigorous decomposition - not of language in Joyce but of lalangue beyond the sensical of the symbolic unconscious - served Lacan to formulate the one blunder that knows.[4] Furthermore, Joyce presented Lacan with another challenge: if the unconscious was structured like a language and not like lalangue, strictly speaking, Joyce was never unsubscribed from the unconscious,[5] rather he was unsubscribed from the unconscious ... of the others.[6] What Joyce certainly did not subscribe to altogether was to his lalangue, and this might clarify the lack of empathy[7] from the other.[8]

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