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"Struggling with Lacan’s L’Etourdit and Fierens’ Second Reading"

The Letter, Issue 59/60, Summer'Autumn 2015, Pages 39 - 46


Mary Cullen

The paper outlines a circling around L’Etourdit and Christian Fierens’ second reading of it in order to find a ‘way in’. Starting from a place of ‘sense’- that of the universal, language, and current public discourse – attention is then brought to focus on the rigour of the requirement of an analytic formation. The work of Winnicott towards the end of his life in attempting to describe the place where life begins is juxtaposed with the ‘Real’ of Lacan, leading to a grappling with the effect of the structure coming from the unconscious and an outline of progression to date in understanding Fierens’ second and third formulae of sexuation.

Keywords: public discourse; modal structure; Winnicott; second formula of sexuation; third formula of sexuation.

Lacan ‘… is uniquely by equivocation that interpretation works. There must be something in the signifier that resonates’[2]

Sunset Hails a Rising

Dying by inches, I can hear the sound

Of all the fine words for the flow of things

To mark the path into the killing ground

The poets and philosophers have used

Perhaps their one aim was to give words wings,

Or even just to keep themselves amused…

These lines by Clive James, from the last poem in his recent publication,[3] - written as he believed himself to be dying - evoked for me the notion of the signifier that resonates.

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