top of page

Issue 48: Editorial

The Letter, Issue 48, Autumn 2011, Pages v - vi


Melman raises the age-old question - who authorises us? He links this to the lack of difference between inside and outside which is revealed in the clinic. Lacan’s use of topology facilitates our conceptual understanding of this paradox. His connection of mourning to the dead father is thought-provoking, as is his reading of insight into the distinction between the Real and reality, and how this had such an impact on Schreber’s father, and consequently Schreber himself.

Richardson’s paper on Marilyn Monroe develops the relationship with the Real which was so constitutive of the ultimate tragedy of Monroe’s life. He shows how the Symbolic Order wove an unbreakable thread from her grandparents and became established in the third generation. The image on the silver screen was the re-embodiment of Monroe’s mirror stage, and its captivation as gaze was what caught the rapture of her global audience. Richardson’s paper was so moving that when he delivered a similar paper in Israel he is said to have brought some of his audience to tears.

Sheehan’s paper is a very erudite and thoroughly researched paper on the earlier days of psychoanalysis. She faces the question of didactic analysis squarely and its role in the transformation of the analyst – a distinction that was so important to Lacan. She shows how psychoanalysis was so transformed in the United States that it became something foreign to the way in which Freud envisioned it should be. Her conclusion that analysis is an on-going life-long process for both analyst and analyser (and are they so different?) is of the utmost importance for to-day’s obsessional focus on qualifications and certification process.

Howard shows how Lacan’s development of a schema of the unconscious changed (and continued to change throughout his life) when he gave Seminar XI. The unconscious was one of the four fundamental concepts and Howard gives a concise view of the importance of distinguishing between Cause, Location and Ontology and how these distinctions aid the reader when approaching Lacan’s more obscure treatment.

Bailly takes us through the very difficult terrain of how to deal with the practical issues which so many psychoanalysts meet in the course of their work. How do we manage the complicated interlacing of psychoanalysis with the institution, and in particular institutions where psychoanalysis is held in such low esteem. The paper comes from the experience of one who has had to confront a wall of indifference and has managed to keep alive and incorporate alienation in a thriving way, and his account of how this can be achieved, allows hope to survive.

Bailly also contributes a book review of Tom Dalzell’s book on Freud’s Schreber. It is a worthy tribute to an author who has managed to bring such a complex matter into the psychoanalytic libraries of the world.

Tony Hughes

Related Posts

See All


bottom of page