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Katharine Swarbrick – Lacan Reads Rousseau – a Narrative Instance of the Body-In-Pieces


THE LETTER 19 (Summer 2000) pages 92-116


Lacan reads Rousseau: a narrative instance of the body-in-pieces


Book VII of Rousseau’s Confessions involves the story of an encounter between Jean-Jacques and Zulietta, a Venetian courtesan, which presents one of the richest highlights of an autobiography whose status is paradigmatic. I have read this episode in conjunction with a spectrum of Lacanian theory which has as its focus the psychopathological incidence of anxiety and its effects on the emotional and perceptual faculties of the human subject. My objective in bringing Rousseau and Lacan together is to look afresh at the possibilities yielded by psychoanalytic inquiry into the work of Rousseau, and to provoke further exploration and discussion of the ways in which our understanding of autobiographical texts can be revitalised by detailed readings inspired by the work of major psychoanalytic thinkers.

Lacan Reads Rousseau – a Narrative Instance of the Body-In-Pieces

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