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La Femme Donne A La Jouissance D'Oser Le Masque De La Repetition

The Letter, Issue 24, Spring 2002, Pages 83 - 88


Claude-Noele Pickmann

Lacan's phrase can be translated thus: 'The woman gives to jouissance to dare the mask of repetition'. However, this morning during the congress, Jacqueline Rose proposed another more easily understood translation: 'The woman issues to jouissance the challenge of wearing the mask of repetition'. You will find this quotation from Lacan in Seminar XVII, L'envers de la psychanalyse, in the session of 11th February 1970.

In French, it is indeed a very poetic and beautiful phrase since it carries with it the promise of a gift, the gift that the woman should bring to jouissance in daring to make use of the semblant as a way to jouir. Of course, the Lacanian woman, as you know, is a woman who is not lacking jouissance. This could even oppose her to the Freudian woman. The Freudian woman is riveted to the missing phallus and to the dissatisfaction that this missing phallus leaves her with, unless she finds its equivalence in maternity. The Lacanian woman offers another point of view on feminine sexuality insofar as Lacan is able to make 'The Woman' (the one who doesn't exist) equivalent to jouissance. For Lacan, not only is woman fully in phallic jouissance, but she also has access to a supplementary jouissance. This supplementary jouissance is beyond the one she obtains when consenting to refer herself to the phallus.

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