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Issue 35: Editorial

The Letter, Issue 35, Autumn 2005


For this issue of the journal – devoted as it is to a selection of papers presented at the Joyce-Lacan Symposium held in Dublin in June this year – I have asked Patricia McCarthy as one of the principal players in the organization of the event to write the editorial. The event which will be fondly remembered by many for a long time to come, was an exercise in painstaking attention to detail, to scholarship, and to fun! The glorious warm days of early summer served as the perfect backdrop to the glittering elegance of Dublin Castle, and the even more glittering performances housed therein over the days of the Symposium. (Ed.)

It is a great pleasure to pen these introductory remarks to an issue of The Letter which is devoted to a selection of papers presented at the Joyce-Lacan Symposium held in Dublin Castle in June of this year.

These papers come to us from thirteen of the Irish contributors and given that there was a total of seventy five speakers over the course of the three days we can expect that further contributions will grace these pages in future issues, not only from among the remaining Irish voices but from among our many international contributors. Because of the momentousness of an event celebrating the work of Lacan and Joyce being held in Dublin, around Bloomsday, the initial call for papers, not surprisingly, led to high numbers wishing to contribute. Ray O’Donnchadha flagged the title for his paper to me at least one year in advance! The measure of this diverse and lively interest among our analytic community is reflected in the following pages.

First up, special thanks are due to Cormac Gallagher for the generous and seemingly effortless way he translated Lacan’s twenty-third seminar Joyce and the Sinthome for us in plenty of time. Over the course of the year preceding the event, this allowed many – especially in the Monday Night Reading Group – prepare some coherent thought on the importance that Lacan attributes to the work of Joyce. We welcome his paper which also formed the opening address to the Symposium.

The work of another Reading Group is also reflected in the contributions of Denise Brett, Kay Murphy and Florencia Shanahan who read Ulysses over many long preparatory months. This effort is surely mirrored in the excellence and variety of their contributions. Terry Ball, Bernard Kennedy, Medb Ruane and Helen Sheehan also made singular contributions which are sincerely welcome.

Final mention is reserved for the following, Pauline O’Callaghan, Olga Cox Cameron, Sandra Carroll and – dare I include her – myself. Our contributions here in The Letter doubtless excellent in themselves, have to be understood as particularly heroic, brought forth as they were – in the lead-up to June -“in the midst of the most frantic organizational effort imaginable. With fortnightly and then weekly meetings of the Organizing Committee, these stalwarts, among others, struggled to put something coherent down on paper while endlessly finalizing the Symposium programme, scrutinizing menus and squaring finances, agonizing over potential translation disasters, organizing trips to Clongowes Wood College and the Forty Foot, arranging the ideal location for Seamus McGuinness’ moving art piece 21 Grams, sourcing the perfect blue cord for name tags, photocopying ‘for Ireland’ and generally pitching in for all they were worth. They were heady days forever captured for me by the image of all of us, late one evening after a particularly bruising meeting, sitting around the table trying to string together a less than perfect version of the Lass of Aughrim.

Memories are made of this. I sincerely hope that a gloriously sunny weekend in late June 2005, in Dublin Castle ‘out of doors gentle summer morning everywhere’ will be memorable for you as you ponder the presentations in this issue recalling an event that was a little bit out of the ordinary and a little bit memorable for that.

Carol Owens

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