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Cormac Gallagher – Nets to Knots – The Odyssey to a Beyond of Barbarism


THE LETTER 35 (Autumn 2005) pages 1-18


Bhi se ar intinn agamfailte a chuir romhaimh as Gaeilge…


I was thinking of welcoming you in Irish but I was persuaded that the translation service already had enough to cope with, so I will get straight to the paper I have prepared for you.


The title of our symposium and Jacques Lacan’s own remarks about how fateful had been his meeting as a young man with James Joyce might lead you to expect that Joyce had been one of his main interlocutors throughout his long career as a teacher and writer, especially as they both lived in Paris for nearly twenty years between 1920 and 1940.


I will leave it to the Joyce specialists to explore whether his torment over his daughter’s schizophrenia ever made him aware of the existence of the brilliant young psychiatrist, consulted by Picasso among others, whose earliest publications included a revolutionary thesis on paranoia and a study on ‘inspired writings’. But the expectation of a substantial Joyce influence on Lacan is strengthened by the fact that few analysts have given such a central place to the way in which the productions of literary and pictorial artists anticipated psychoanalysis in articulating crucial aspects of human subjectivity. For Lacan, this was not simply a matter of passing references. His extensive commentaries have often radically changed the way in which these artists are seen by specialists and has generated a sub-literature of its own. Let me recall some examples and stress that many of these themes return repeatedly as leitmotifs punctuating his writings and his seminars.

Nets to Knots – The Odyssey to a Beyond of Barbarism

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