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Martin J. Daly – The Nightmare


THE LETTER 30 (Spring 2004) pages 122-129


Lacan in his seminar on Anxiety refers to ‘the most massive, unreconstituted, ancestral experience, rejected onto the obscurity of ancient times from which we are supposed to have escaped, of a necessity which unites us with these ages, which is still current and which very curiously we speak about only very rarely… it is that of the nightmare’. He asks: ‘Why do analysts interest themselves so little in the nightmare?’.


Lacan goes on to say that if there is already an established and very remarkable literature, to which we should refer, it is – however forgotten it may be at this point – Ernest Jones’ book on the nightmare, a book of incomparable riches. Lacan recalls for us the fundamental phenomenology: the anxiety of the nightmare is experienced properly speaking as that of the puissance of the Other. The correlative of the nightmare is the Incubus or the Succubus, it is this being who weighs with his whole opaque weight of alien puissance on your chest, who crushes you under his jouissance.

The Nightmare

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