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Oscar Wilde: Aesthete and Homosexual.

The Letter, Issue 8, Autumn 1996, Pages 1 - 16


OSCAR WILDE: AESTHETE AND HOMOSEXUAL*

André Michels


Cormac Gallagher:

It is a very great pleasure to welcome Dr. André Michels who has come to us from Luxembourg to give a lecture this evening on Oscar Wilde which he has entitled Aesthete and Homosexual. It probably sounds much better in French or Luxembourgeois but we have decided to keep the title anyway. Tomorrow morning he will be giving a talk in St. Vincent's Hospital, to which you are all also very welcome, on The Hatred of the Father in Perversion, that is, the hatred of the father in perversion. This evening's lecture we had planned, and he had intended, to be a more literary and general introduction to the problem of perversion. Tomorrow morning's talk will be perhaps a little bit more technical.

I would just like to say a word or two. One of the reasons why Dr. Michels is here is that I read an article in a Strasbourg journal called Apertura in which he was one of the very few people that I have come across who has actually approached the question of Freud's study of the Witz, the witticism, and the way in which it impacts on the style of analytical interpretation. Subsequently, we also met at the Congress of the European Foundation for Psychoanalysis in 1992. More recently again he has published an article in the last issue of The Letter, which I can recommend to you warmly, entitled Writing and Oedipus, in which he proposes some very interesting, I would say, axes for reflection. By training he is a doctor and a psychiatrist, trained, I just learned tonight, in part at least, with a very famous and I would hate to hesitate to say (but for me anyway), an almost avuncular figure in French psychoanalysis called Lucien Israel, who hasn't been translated much into English but whose work has been extremely influential, who incidentally as Dr. Michels just said, wasn't very interested in theory but was, I think, pretty much of a clinical genius - from what one hears. Dr. Michels is also a frequent visitor to the United States where he has lectured on a regular basis in New York and in. Boston and notably also in Clarke University. Those of you who have done the first three weeks of your psychoanalytical studies programme will I hope know that Clarke University is best known for having awarded a doctorate to Freud on its twentieth anniversary. Now, I don't know what we are going to do in LSB or who we are going to award a doctorate to on our twentieth anniversary, but it gives you a sense of perspective when you see this university remembered for something it did on its twentieth anniversary. All of that having been said, we are delighted to have you with us tonight André and I'll now let you read your paper.

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