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Cormac Gallagher – Lacan’s Viator and the Time Traveller’s Wife


THE LETTER 36 (Spring 2006) pages 1-19




When I was asked two months ago for a title for this paper I was still reading what is called an international best-seller that I had begun earlier in the summer. The Time Traveller’s Wife is not going to win a Pulitzer Prize or a Mann Booker award but it does chime in uncannily with Lacan’s discussion of the fundamental phantasy that ‘supports all of those who want to be non-dupes in structure: namely, that their life is only a journey. Life is that of the viator (the pilgrim, the traveller). ‘That they live in this lower world as strangers in a foreign land’.


In psychological terms this journey means that life begins with birth and passes through various stages until death – think of Erik Erikson’s ‘Eight Ages of Man’. This notion of life as a journey that is determined by something called development is, Lacan argues, a radical error and ends up by negating everything that Freud’s discovery of the unconscious has revealed to us.

Lacan’s Viator and the Time Traveller’s Wife

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