5 de enero de 2011

14 - 2010/2011 (EN) Towards London 1 / Vers Londres 1: Jacques-Alain Miller - Transference, Repetition and the Sexual Real

Messager 14 - 2010/2011

Towards London 1 / Vers Londres 1: Jacques-Alain Miller -

Transference, Repetition and Sexual Real


Towards London 1 / Vers Londres 1

Jacques-Alain Miller

Transference, Repetition and the Sexual Real - A reading of Seminar XI,

The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis

We begin the dissemination of ‘preparatory texts’ to the congress in London with a text by Jacques-Alain Miller on Seminar XI. This Seminar occupies a particular place in Lacan's teaching, constituting a moment of rupture, whose coordinates and stakes J.A. Miller has at various times laid out. Here, we have taken a seminar of his course of the year 1994/1995 (‘Silet’) where he shows in a clear way how Lacan relates the four fundamental concepts – the unconscious, repetition, transference and the drive – to a common structure, thereby “pouring the Freudian concepts into completely new mathemes”. The Freudian series of the four concepts “leads to a presentation of psychoanalysis on the basis of the relation between the subject of the unconscious and object a”; thus, “Seminar XI is a comment on the antinomy between the subject and jouissance”.

Seminar XI, where Lacan examines “what founds psychoanalysis as praxis” is a major reference in our preparatory work for the Congress; we put it forward for study in several Societies and Groups of the NLS. For this reason we are especially glad to be able to disseminate this commentary and to have translated it into English, and we very much thank Jacques-Alain Miller for his permission.

Anne Lysy

Note: This text, unpublished in France, was established and translated into Dutch for issue number 4 of iNWiT, the journal of the Kring, published in Mai 2008. It is published in this English translation by Russell Grigg in issue 22 of the Psychoanalytical Notebooks, forthcoming.

The French version of this text was circulated on NLS-Messager 14 - 2010/2011 (14 December2010)



A reading of Seminar XI,
The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis

Jacques-Alain Miller

Changing the Order of Freud’s Concepts

I illustrated modes of enjoyment last time, with the amusement that illustrating them comprises. Today I will locate what founds these illustrations and which is, to put it in a condensed way, the conjunction of a mode of jouissance and repetition. To address this issue again, not at the level of examples but at the level of concepts, I intend to begin with the series of four fundamental concepts that Lacan stated in his Seminar XI, a seminar in which he took on the task of summing up what he had established over the first ten years of his teaching and developing thenext stage.[2] These four fundamental concepts are a selection that Lacan takes from Freud’s work and all four concepts were spelt out by Freud himself. Did Lacan choose these with the intention of keeping them alive? My answer is no. He stated them – this is how I think of this today – in order to demonstrate that a single structure is at work in Freud, and this leads him, if not to abandon them, then at least to classify them by virtue of referring them to a structure that is common to them all. This series is as follows: the unconscious, repetition,transference and the drive. This selection Lacan made from Freud’s work, has as its aim to reduce the Freudian conceptualisation to his own. This is what I am going to try to show today.

This selection, reduced to four terms, first of all emphasises a disjunction that is new and explicitly advanced as being new, namely the disjunction between repetition and transference. This is why Lacan can observe, it would seem quite unambiguously, “I am saying that the concept of repetition has nothing to do with the concept of transference”.[3] Despite what he re-evokes concerning the affinities between transference and repetition in Freud’s work and in the analytic experience, despite everything that links transference phenomena with repetition phenomena, he announces aradical disjunction between these two concepts – a disjunction that opens up the definition of the transference on the basis of the subject supposed to know, which happens to be absent from every definition of repetition.

The formula I illustrated from the section of Seminar XI on repetition is in some ways repeated in the section on transference: “…the transference, as operating mode [read as operating mode in the analytic relation] cannot be satisfied with being confused with the efficacity of repetition (…)”.[4] Lacan is here disputing what in the analytic literature has led to transference being referred to as repetition. We have, then, in the first instance an explicit and new disjunction between transference and repetition.

But a second disjunction is also in play in this selection: the disjunction between repetition and drive. This second disjunction is destined to disappear from Lacan’s teaching, since the progress of his teaching will on the contrary lead to repetition and drive always being increasingly identified with one another.

This is my starting point today, then, namely this double disjunction: repetition and transference; repetition and drive – the former becoming deeper and deeper, while the second is destined to close over, as if there are two separate destinies. It is not a question of illustrations here but of concepts. This is more austere than the last time. Let us try however to spell out the difference that Lacan establishes between repetition and transference in relation to the unconscious.

Disjunction Between Repetition and Transference

In order to simplify this disjunction, I will say that Lacan initially situates repetition on the side of the symbolic and the transference on the side of the imaginary, and that, in his series of four concepts, he is, in the first instance, only making thisopposition explicit.

The Transference as the Closing of the Unconscious

Let’s take transference first. As his starting point in Seminar XI Lacan chooses to situate transference as resistance. This is what he explicitly formulates, p. 130, when he makes the transference “the means by which the communication of the unconscious is interrupted, by which the unconscious closes up again”. That is, he is inviting us to consider the transference as a type of resistance to the unconscious and thus to establish a type of disjunction between transference and unconscious – the double bar being how I express this in some way dynamic opposition between these two concepts:

Transference // Unconscious

This definition of the transference as resistance to the unconscious is only conceivable on condition that we define the unconscious on the basis of the possibility of closure. And this is what animates this seminar: the attempt to situate the unconscious within a temporal structure of oscillation between opening and closing. This is initially raised in the definition of the first of these four concepts, theunconscious – this definition in terms of opening and closing is expressly intended to be followed by the definition of the three others.

In relation to this binary temporal structure, transference is situated on the side of closure. There is a sort of paradox here, mentioned by Lacan, in that classically the transference was attached to the very possibility of interpreting the unconscious. However, in this Seminar XI, and with the fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis in view, Lacan links the transference to the closing of the unconscious.

This only has the effect of making his presuppositions explicit. Take the beginnings of his teaching where the transference, instead of being considered a mode of access to the unconscious, was always situated as its closing. To convince yourself of this, you only need to refer to what precedes his manifesto, “Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis”[5], namely his text, “Intervention on Transference”[6], which attempts to draw out the lessons of the avatars of the Dora case for Freud.

Symbolic Dialectic and Imaginary Stagnation

This text – which is the written version of an ex tempore presentation – stresses the symbolic dialectic of this case of hysteria. It is only at the end that Lacan raises the question of what transference is. He responds by situating transference in relation to the dialectics of the case, as a moment of stasis, a moment of immobilisation of this dialectic: “(…) even when it [transference] reveals itself in an emotional guise [that is, by an affect], this guise has a meaning only as a function of the dialectical moment at which it occurs”.[7]

That is, initially, at the start of his teaching, and even after this start, at its origin, he situates transference with respect to the symbolic dialectic and as a moment of stagnation within it. This is the definition of transference he gives at the time: “(…) the appearance, at a moment of stagnation in the analytic dialectic, of the permanent modes according to which she [the subject] constitutes her objects”.[8] That is, he initially situates transference in opposition to the dialectical dynamics, which are essentially mobile, and situates it as the appearance, in experience, of a permanence that arises from the subjective constitution of the object.

What he initially situated as stagnation of the symbolic dialectic is to be found again in this Seminar XI in the form of the closing of the unconscious. That is, initially he situated transference in the imaginary register, in the register where the object iscorrelative to the ego, on the diagonal of the square of analysis that he will later spell out. He thereby binds transference and libido relative to the relationship between the ego’s narcissism and the object relation. This is moreover what leads him, at the beginning of his teaching, to accept the concept of countertransference, in so far as countertransference relates to the inertia of the analyst’s ego.

To speak of stagnation concerning transference is to refer it to the dynamics of the symbolic dialectic which both gives it its meaning and is capable of surmounting it. It can therefore be said that one of the consequences of the disjunction between the imaginary and the symbolic, where Lacan himself recognises the starting point of his own teaching, properly so-called, is to assign the transference to the imaginary.

The “Enactment of the Reality of the Unconscious”

In Seminar XI, when he lists this sequence of four, this is what he takes up, on the one hand, since he locates transference as the closing of the unconscious, that is, rewriting the dialectic’s stagnation. But at the same time, something changes here, in so far as this time around Lacan defines transference as “the enactment of the reality of the unconscious”.[9] What does this expression mean? It means that the transferential stagnationdoes not stem from the imaginary but from the reality of the unconscious. Here the term “reality” is meant to be contrasted with the term “imaginary”; it is meant to indicate that the transference does not belong to the order of this imaginary illusion. The term “reality” is meant to be contrasted with the imaginary, and what gives it its ballast is the expression “sexual”. The sexual as Lacan constructs it in his Seminar XI does not belong to the imaginary order.

If, however, transference as the enactment of the reality of the unconscious is the closing of the unconscious, then we have to suppose – and this is what Lacan develops in this Seminar – that there is an antinomy between the unconscious and its sexual reality. This in any case is what I propose in order to read this Seminar XI: there is both an antinomy between the unconscious and its sexual reality and the necessity for a concept that mediates these two terms.

This mediating concept, to put it in Freudian terms, is libido, which Lacan tries to locate at the meetingpoint of the unconscious and its sexual reality. Ultimately, there is a constant need for such a mediating concept in Lacan. He discovers it in Freud in terms of the libido and he rediscovers it in terms of desire. With the concept of desire he translates the Freudian concept of libido as being at the meeting point between the unconscious and sexual reality. On the one hand, he shows desire linked to the field of demand, linked to the signifier – all the syncopes of the unconscious can be presented therein – and on the other hand he shows desire united with sexual reality. This is where desire appears in this series of four concepts: not at the first level but at the second, as a mediating concept, one that enables the unconscious and sexual reality to be conjoined.

Repetition and the Opening of the Unconscious

Having situated the concept of transference in this roughed out way, let’s turn to the concept of repetition. The concept of repetition in this Seminar XI appears in an essential way at the opening of the unconscious and at its closing, as is the case for transference. This is the point at which Lacan is able to say that “the very constitution of the field of the unconscious is based on the Wiederkehr”[10],whichis repetition. Lacan says that the return of the same signifiers is proof of the unconscious. Henceforth, we can be confident of the presence and efficacy of the unconscious by repetition, by the effect of repetition. Repetition appears to be located on the side of the opening unconscious, whereas transference appears to be located on the side of its closure.

In Lacan’s teaching, reflection on the repetition automatism[11] has an essential place concerning the very definition of the unconscious – this is not the case with transference. One can say that repetition is essential to the Lacanian definition of the unconscious. That the unconscious is structured as a language means – I refer you to p. 21 of Seminar XI – that linguistic structure “gives the unconscious its status”, in so far as this structure enables us to locate and think the autonomous play of signifiers, and this, as Lacan says, in a presubjective manner. In this sense, the repetition of the same signifiers precedes the subject. This is what makes language and repetition, as the repetition of the same signifiers, the very condition of the subject in the unconscious.

To be sure, in Seminar XI Lacan is careful to differentiate between the subject of the unconscious and repetition – the subject manifesting itself as a stumbling, a fading away, a crack, a discontinuity, a vacillation in this repetition. In order for it to manifest itself there has to be repetition. This also brings us back to theorigins of Lacan’s teaching. In “Seminar on The Purloined Letter” one finds that the emphasis is on repetition as intersubjective repetition.[12] One can see subjects being determined by repetition and the displacement ofsignifiers. The demonstration is directed at constituting repetition in thesymbolic order, by opposition to transference which is in the order of the imaginary.

In putting together his “Seminar on The Purloined Letter” Lacan shows what the signifying syntax of repetition is: repetition is symbolic through and through. When he explicitly refers to the repetition automatism it is in order to mark the fact that this automatism has the value of Freudian memory in the strict sense; the value of this remembering is conceivable only in the symbolic order, that is, as charged with the subject’s entire history. And it is in relation to this symbolic repetition that he locates Freudian desire as indestructible, as situated in the symbolic chain, which has its own requirements. One could say that at the beginning of his teaching Lacan makes the unconscious only a repetitive sentence that obeys the laws of symbolic determination.

We have here a frank opposition between repetition and transference: transference is the imaginary order, being libidinal stagnation, and the unconscious being a symbolic chain that repeats according to the demands of its syntax. We have the echo of this in Seminar XI which draws out the consequences of the first ten years of Lacan’s teaching.

Repetition and Lost Object

However, Lacan has never failed to stress the link between repetition and the object as lost object. This reference accompanies every one of his definitions of the concept of repetition. He never stopped locating repetition as an effort to refind thefundamentally lost object. He never stopped placing object loss at the origins of repetition. It could be said that the reworkings of his teaching came from reflection on what object loss is.

At the outset the lost object is thinkable on the basis of the signifier’s fundamental binary structure, of which one of the major examples is given in the episode of Fort – Da, in the signifying exclamation accompanying the presence and absence, the appearance and disappearance, of the object. In one sense, and this is the first that Lacan picks out, this little story shows us the natural object annulled by the signifier and, by this very fact, purely and simply enslaved to the symbol. It is in this sense that Lacan is able to develop the symbolic character of repetition. Ultimately, in Seminar XI, Lacan shows that there is repetition and there is repetition. For this he has recourse to the difference between automaton and tuché in Aristotle. If he uses this reference it is in order to introduce a split in repetition, that is, to reduce what up to that point he was calling repetition to being nothing but automaton, return, the insistence of signs.

Transformation of the Concept of Repetition

Up until Seminar XI, it looked like repetition purely and simply meant the object’s erasure, and that everything that was of the natural order, that was real, given at the outset, had passed over into the symbolic, without remainder. But what Seminar XI indicates is that the relation of repetition to the object is not simply one of annulment. If the object is annulled, struck out, it remains the case that repetition continues to be directed at it and that, being so directed, it misses it. On this basis, one can say that this repetition goes out to meet a real that it misses.

Here you have a profound transformation of the concept of repetition that Lacan illustrates by referring to the concept of traumatism in Freud, and by making it into the Freudian concept of the inassimilable to the signifier. This is the motor of repetition in Seminar XI: repetition, as symbolic as it is, appears to be determined by traumatism as real. This changes the concept of repetition from top to bottom. Repetition as automatism is henceforth restored as the avoidance of and, at the same time, appeal to an encounter with an initial real, the real of traumatism.

The Conjunction of Repetition and Transference: the Sexual Real

This initial real – for which Lacan takes his bearings from traumatism in the Freudian sense – appears at the level of the sexual. It is this term “sexual” that, definitively, combines with the concept of transference. Inside the disjunction between repetition and transference, between symbolic function and imaginary stagnation, there is a common element, which is this relationship to the sexual real.

The disjunction between repetition and transference is therefore not the final word of Seminar XI. On the contrary, this disjunction is only intended to emphasise what is in common between repetition and transference. This is why Lacan can say that in the transference there is a relation to the real and not only to the illusory. This is what he expresses, going quickly, when he says that “we can succeed in unravelling this ambiguity of the reality involved in the transference only on the basis of the function of the real in repetition”.[13]

Undoubtedly, things are not clear in the transference. In the transference an illusory element is mixed in with the real, but Lacan invites us to think about what is at stake in the transference on the basis of repetition insofar as it is concerned with thereal. In this Seminar XI repetition is not only the automatic repetition of signifiers. It is a repetition that has the value of avoiding the real as sexual.

With respect to repetition defined in this manner, transference is, then, the enactment of sexual reality, in such a manner that it appears now as the tuché of repetition. What repetition is destined to miss, and to do so in perpetuity, is found to be enacted in the transference.

The disjunction between repetition and transference disguises, then, a more secrete conjunction. Ineffect, repetition is the continued disappointment of the encounter with the object a, whereas the transference presents this object a. And therefore, underneath the disjunction between the two Freudian concepts of repetition and transference, Lacan discovers a more secrete conjunction, namely, that these two concepts are both articulated to the object: repetition as missing it (it only misses itbecause it aims at it), and the transference as presenting it.

This gives quite a different value to what Lacan was previously aware of as imaginary stagnation. What he had been calling imaginary stagnation comes to be discovered as the permanence of the real, in the same place, despite the dialectical dynamics of the signifier. Let’s just say that this translation translates the passage from jouissance of the imaginary to the real. This is what Seminar XI is about.

To be sure, Lacan refrains from pronouncing this term “jouissance” when he speaks of repetition. Nevertheless, when he evokes the real with which repetition attunes itself but misses it,that is, the traumatic real, the term that he keeps back is in fact “jouissance”. This is to be seen when he speaks of the Fort-Da episode in which the signifier seems to annul the object, as if it were a “self-mutilation on the basis of which the order of significance will be put in perspective”.[14]

With this term “self-mutilation” he is indicating the schema that is for him implied in the relationship between repetition and transference. Repetition, as automatism, is equivalent to a signifying chain, which both eludes and designates the central place of the real that transference enacts:

This schema in which I correlate repetition with transference is the schema of the drive that Lacan proposes at the end of The Four Fundamental Concepts. One could say that it is where the entire Seminar is headed.

To be sure, this Seminar XI does not deploy the concept of jouissance. What comes in its stead is the concept of the sexual. Repetition appears as the symbolic function that avoids the bad encounter with the sexual. It continues on, with its automatism, but without ever encountering it. Transference, on the other hand, is like the presentation in short-circuit form of this sexual reality. And the drive appears as the articulation of repetition with the transference, that is, as a signifying repetition the product of which is jouissance.

The Subject of the Unconscious and Jouissance

In this series, these four concepts, which Lacan presents in an aligned manner (these concepts are all different from one another), are, in the end, made to be linked together all on the one schema. And the schema that binds them together is apt to translate the concept of the unconscious insofar as it is animated by a pulsation that is linked to sexual reality. The unconscious appears as divided between the repetition automatism and the presentation of asexual reality – which is what this translation of Lacan’s sums up as being in the end the subject’s relation with the object ($ <> a), the subject of the relation of the unconscious with jouissance present in sexual reality.

If you read The Four Fundamental Concepts, you will see that this Freudian series of four concepts is designed in the end to culminate with the schema of alienation and separation, that is, with a presentation of psychoanalysis on the basis of the relation between the subject of the unconscious and the object a. The demonstration that is at work in this Seminar is the demonstration of the similarity in structure between the various Freudian concepts. These four concepts of Freud’s can be accounted for on the basis of the relationship between opening and closing, alienation and separation, between subject and object.This is why Lacan can say that the place of the real goes from trauma to fantasy, that fantasy is the screen that hides what is determinant in the function of repetition, and that he can therefore elaborate, in the place of these four concepts, the object of psychoanalysis.

What is achieved in Seminar XI is the demonstration that Freud’s four principal concepts are liable to be reduced to a unique schematism, and that this schematism rests on the conjunction and disjunction between the subject of the unconscious and the object a. It is in this respect that from this seminar on Lacan will never again take up this theme of Freud’s concepts. This is what he had done over the first ten years of his teaching. Each of the seminars is centred on one of Freud’s major texts. But after Seminar XI, and this structural summary that he contributes, Lacan will never again have this privileged reference to any of Freud’s texts. On the contrary, he will demonstrate in what way he pours the Freudian concepts into previously unheard-of mathemes.

What this Seminar XI is commenting on is the antinomy between the subject and jouissance. The unconscious is centred on the subject as barred subject, that is, as what he calls a complement of being. Defining the unconscious as barred subject is saying that it calls for a complement of being. Repetition is above all introduced as asplit between automaton and tuché, that is, as a split between signifier and real. Transference is conceived as a short-circuit that gives access to sexual reality. And as for the drive, it is testimony to the forcing of the pleasure principle and the fact that there is jouissance beyond this principle.

Three Ways of Writing Libido

Lacan has successively given us three distinct ways of writing the Freudian concept of the libido. First – and this was for him a real epistemological obstacle – he locates libido in the imaginary register. He locates libido on the basis of the reversibility between narcissism and the object relation. And this is why he saw libido above all as coming into the species of stagnation in relation to the symbolic dialectic.

Second, he tried to locate libido as a Freudian concept in the symbolic register, thereby turning it into desire. Lacan’s theory of desire is the rewriting of the Freudian concept of libido as a function of the symbolic register. And this leads to the equivalence between desire and meaning, precisely metonymic meaning. Desire is conceived as meaning running underneath the signifying articulation without ever appearing as such: (-) s.[15]

Finally, thirdly, he gave a writing of libido qua jouissance, which is of the real register.

It can be remarked that in these three avatars of the libido Lacan never failed to maintain the link between libido and the instinct or the death drive. Initially, when he makes libido a term of the imaginary register, he does not fail to stress what in aggressiveness is attached to the libidinal object. The aggressive intention that he stresses is for him the mark of the death instinct—for example, in the object in the mirror stage.

Secondly, when he makes libido desire in the symbolic register he stresses the annulment of the object by the signifier, and he considers that death thereby enters into life by the operation of the signifier. He still sees therein the reason for the death drive.

Thirdly, when it is in the real register that he accounts for Freudian libido he stresses that jouissance goes against the pleasure principle, which is the principle of survival, in such a way that jouissance goes in the direction of death and destruction. This is why he privileges what I mentioned last time, namely the Sadean introduction ofjouissance.

Conjunction of Repetition and Drive: Seminar XVII

Here, then, is a mapping that what we are calling Lacan’s teaching on jouissance proposes to us. It is certain that Lacan approached the relations between signifier and jouissance in many ways before fully working them out. For example, the second part of “Daniel Lagache”, which bears on the doctrine of the Freudian Id, takes as its object, as its theme, the confronting of subject with jouissance under the rubric of the signifier and the drive.[16] It is in this way that in this text Lacan relates the fragmentation of the unconscious combinatory and the decomposition of the drive. It is in this way that he is able to relate the subject, with respect to its original place, and the annulment or nothingness of what he calls the Thing. It is an effort to situate the subject in relation to jouissance.

But it is in The Other Side of Psychoanalysis[17] that the confrontation between signifier and jouissance is made clear. This Seminar XVII is designed to present what is in some way the culmination of this quaternary that I illustrated for you before. It is a seminar that articulates the conjunction between repetition and drive. What Lacan calls “knowledge” in Seminar XVII is the transcription of the Freudian fable of repetition. What he calls knowledge is repetition insofar as it is in relationship with jouissance. He elaborates here – and leaves aside all precautions – the fundamental, intimate relationship between repetition and drive. He says that repetition is not thinkable, has no value, except on the basis of jouissance, on the basis of the drive. This is the theme of this Seminar.

On the one hand, no doubt, he makes jouissance a certain limit of knowledge, just as in Seminar XI he wasable to make repetition the signifying chain that always missed the real. But it is only so as to reassert that repetition is founded on jouissance, and that the signifying apparatus of repetition, or of knowledge, only inserts itself for the human being by means of jouissance.

Surplus Enjoyment

This is where the term that he introduces in those years, “surplus jouissance”, derives its value. What does “surplus jouissance” mean? It means that the signifier undoubtedly annuls the natural object, annuls the satisfaction of this object, transmutes it into a symbol, but that at the same time there is a remainder. It is this remainder that was misunderstood at the beginnings of his teaching, and it is this remainder that he calls surplus jouissance. Lacan does not renounce the operation of annulment by the signifier, but he adds that this annulment leaves a remainder, surplus jouissance.

To say that it is a remainder is to devalue the terms “forcing” and “transgression” that, still in the Seminar, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, he was linking with jouissance. As he says inSeminar XVII, “(…) we don’t ever transgress. Sneaking around is not transgressing”.[18] No one ever transgresses insofar as, whatever happens, there is a remainder, a remainder which is the very condition of the signifying chain. It is in this respect that what necessitates repetition is this surplus jouissance that the signifier never manages to annul. In this sense, repetition not only misses the real, as Lacan describes it in Seminar XI, but is also a search for jouissance. In this respect repetition itself is not the expression of the pleasure principle but itself goes against life. This is the displacement which makes repetition, as the expression of the pleasure principle, the very articulation of the death drive.

Meaning and Jouissance

In this respect, repetition reflects both the symbolisation of jouissance and its annulment, but also the loss of jouissance. This is what gives it its ambiguity. It is also what enables Lacan to say both that knowledge is a means of jouissance – which I made a title of one of the chapters of Seminar XVII – and that truth is the sister ofjouissance. To say that knowledge is the means of jouissance is to say thateven as it works towards its articulation, knowledge continuously produces and reflects the loss of jouissance, and thus jouissance flows under the signifier. Henceforth, this jouissance that flows under the signifier is the equivalent of meaning. This is what will lead Lacan to speak of jouis-sens, enjoy-meant, in the sense of meaning enjoyed. Henceforth, truth as the meaning of the signifier appears as the parent of this metonymical jouissance.

Lacan previously made meaning and desire equivalent to one another, whereas this new definition of repetition makes meaning and jouissance equivalent to one another. This is why he is able to say, in Seminar XVII, that jouissance is the barrel of the Danaides, that it is always what finds itself leaking out, as meaning, under the signifier. In his “Introduction to the German edition of Ecrits”[19], it is beginning with the barrel of the Danaides that he tries to conceptualise the meaning of meaning.

So, then, I will stop there for today on this trajectory, and I will try to illuminate it a bit next time.

Translated from the French by Russell Grigg

[1] Lecture given 15th March 1995 as part of J.-A. Miller’s course, The Lacanian orientation, in the year 1994-1995. “Silet”, unpublished. Text and notes have been edited by Anne Lysy, authorised by J.-A. Miller, not reviewed by the author.

[2] Lacan, J. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, tr: Sheridan, A., Penguin London 1994

[3] Ibid., p.33

[4] Ibid., p.143

[5] Lacan, J.; Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis, Ecrits, tr: Fink, B., Norton London 2006

[6] Lacan, J.; Intervention on Transference, Ecrits, tr: Fink, B., Norton London 2006

[7] Ibid., p. 184

[8] Ibid.

[9] Op.cit., p.146

[10] Op.cit., p. 48

[11] [TN]This is Freud’s ‘compulsion to repeat’.

[12] Lacan, J.; Seminar on “The Purloined Letter, tr: Fink, B., Norton London 2006

[13] Op.cit., The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, p.54

[14] Ibid., p.62

[15] Lacan, J.; The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious, or Reason Since Freud, Ecrits, tr: Fink, B., Norton London 2006

[16] Lacan, J.; Remarks on Daniel Lagache’s Presentation, Ecrits, tr: Fink, B., Norton London 2006

[17] Lacan, J.; The Other Side of Psychoanalysis, The Seminar Book XVII, tr: Grigg, R., Norton, London, 2007

[18] Ibid., p.19

[19] Lacan, J.; « Introduction à l’édition allemande d’un premier volume des Ecrits », Autres écrits, Seuil, Paris, 2001, pp. 553-559.

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