The Late Lacan on Jouissance with Reference to Camus's ‘The Stranger’

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The early Lacan believed, as did Freud, that the symbolic dominates and even mortifies the body and its jouissance. The late Lacan no longer holds to this thesis. Jouissance, especially in its destructive and violent forms, erupts again and again, defying law and ethics both in personal life and in the political arena. The recent case of Governor Eliot Spitzer in New York State and the ongoing violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Israel, and various countries in Africa are examples of such eruptions. The Symbolic is not a strong enough barrier against such outbreaks. I will be explicating various forms of jouissance in the late Lacan -- namely what he calls Jouissance One, Phallic Jouissance, Feminine Jouissance, and Jouis-sens -- and demonstrating their relevance to two novels, Camus’s The Stranger and Lispector’s Stream of Life.


Keywords: Lacan, Camus, Lispector, Jouissance, ‘The Stranger’, ‘Stream of Life’, Violence, Enjoyment, Jouissance One
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. Maire Jaanus

Professor of English, English Department, Barnard College/Columbia University
New York, NY, USA

Maire Jaanus, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Barnard College and Columbia University, is the co-editor of Lacan in the German_Speaking World (SUNY Press, 2004), Reading Seminars I and II: Lacan's Return to Freud (SUNY Press, 1996) and Reading Seminar XI: Lacan's Four Fundamental Concepts (SUNY Press, 1995). She is the editor of Ethics and the Superego in Freud and Lacan, a special issue of Literature and Psychology XXXXII no.1-2 (1997) and the author of She - a Novel (Doubleday, 1984), Literature and Negation (Columbia University Press, 1979; Paper Rept., 1988), and Georg Trakl (Columbia University Press, 1974). Most recently she has published "A Psychoanalytic Reading of Socrates: Lacan on Plato's Symposium," ed. Ann Ward, Socrates Reason or Unreason as the Foundation of European Identity (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007), “Estonian Time and Monumental Time” and "Estonia and Pain in Jaan Kross’s The Czar’s Madman" in Baltic Postcolonialism (Rodopi, 2006), "The passage à l’acte in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina" in Psychoanalytical Notebooks No. 14, (2005), the Introduction and Notes to Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (Barnes & Noble Classics, 2004), and “The Concept of Jouissance and its Significance for the Humanities,” International Journal of the Humanities, vol. 1, (2003).

Ref: H08P0531