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L’Insu que sait de l’une-bévue s’aile à mourre. An Overview

The Letter, Issue 61, Summer 2016, Pages 31 - 34


L’INSU QUE SAIT DE L’UNE-BÉVUE S’AILE À MOURRE. AN OVERVIEW[1],[2]

Marc Darmon


This overview of Lacan’s Seminar XXIV from 1976-77 addresses the many layers of meaning discernible in its title L’insu que sait de l’une-bévue s’aile à mourre. Lacan’s remarkable return to the topology of the torus, his subtle musings on the unconscious, love, poetry and the real convey a sense of the urgency regarding the task that, even in these final years of his teaching, he regarded as unfinished.


Keywords: l’une-bévue; torus; poetry; Dante; Didier-Weill; game of la mourre/game of Morra


The equivocal title of the seminar calls out for interpretation. Written in lalangue or rather in l’élangues,[3] the central element commanding our attention in the title is the word l’une-bévue. This translates into English as the a-blunder. Lacan is using a method he came across in Joyce the year before the seminar in fashioning this word. In its enigmatic grammar, it is readable in French as une-bévue and can be partly understood in German as Unbewusst. The translation of Unbewusst by l’une-bévue is in itself a witticism, that is to say, an attempt on Lacan’s part to invoke a formation of the unconscious such as the parapraxis, the lapsus, the dream, or the symptom. What is a parapraxis or a lapsus if not a blunder, une bévue? But such a translation almost gives credence to the phrase cited by Dante, who, when speaking of the word ‘love’ evokes the perfect fit between the word and the thing: nomina sunt consequentia rerum (names are the consequence of things). L’une-bévue does not possess the defect of being a negative word like ‘the unconscious’ and it does not run the risk, like it, of being confused with unconsciousness.


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