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Lacanian Approach To Problems Of Affect And Anxiety In Psychoanalysis.

The Letter, Issue 7, Summer 1996, Pages 67 - 96


The system of language at whichever point you take hold of it never results in an index finger directly indicating a point of reality, it's the whole of reality that is covered by the entire network of language.[1]

It has become common among psychoanalytic writers both critical and sympathetic to Lacan who are not themselves Lacanians to criticise Lacan for ignoring the role and place of affect in his theorising. Thus Kennedy in a co-authored work on Lacan states that 'unlike many other post-Freudian analysts, he (Lacan) gave little place to any theory of the affects, or feelings, and the importance of pre-verbal structures. These omissions may seem to represent a denial of much analytic experience'[2] and he adds 'it is for this reason his work can seem over-intellectual'.[3] Similarly, Green makes the point that 'with the exception of Lacan no modern psychoanalytic theory underestimates the importance of affects'[4] while Smith in his epilogue to Interpreting Lacan writes 'Green's formulations ... like the Kristeva and Vergote chapters goes toward correcting the inattention to affect in Lacan'.[5] Indeed, it could well be argued that Lacanians themselves have by and large not taken up Lacan's call to produce an 'intellectual accounting' for the affects and one purpose, therefore, of this paper is to raise debate in just this area.

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