text: “Unconscious and Interpretation” (A Lysy-Stevens)

in his talk at the 2009 Paris Congress of the NLS, published as “The Hurtful Word” in Hurly-Burly, n. 2., Jacques-Alain Miller noted that “one’s own practice of interpretation is strictly correlative to the notion one has formed of the unconscious.”  Certainly, the symptom or sinthome may represent one of these points of articulation between unconscious and interpretation in the treatment.  Anne Lysy-Steven’s paper, prepared in preparation for the Congress,  offers a careful reading of interpretation against the backdrop of Lacan’s and Miller’s concepts of both the unconscious and  of the symptom and sinthome.

Unconscious and Interpretation

Anne Lysy-Stevens

This text, based on my introductory presentation from the “Knottings”[1] Seminar held in Tel Aviv in November 2008, reflects the position I had reached at the start of a year’s work. I have been trying to locate the conceptual framework in which interpretation is situated in Lacan’s teaching by rereading some of the fundamental texts and by relying heavily on Jacques-Alain Miller’s lectures, which clarify the logic of Lacan’s teaching. I will certainly not be covering every detail of this trajectory here. Instead, in the first part, I will present you with some of the findings it led me to, and in the second part we will pause together at a specific moment, the lectures of 1975 which seem to me a most enlightening way of approaching Lacan’s final teaching. The hypothesis that has served me as Ariadne’s thread through this investigation is the tight correlation between two concepts, unconscious and interpretation.

1. Some points of reference

What do we mean by interpretation?

Let us take things from the simplest angle, starting with the analytic session. There are two people present, the analyst and the analysand. The first is invited to speak, to free associate, to speak about his suffering. He suffers from symptoms without knowing the reason why, and without yet knowing what he is suffering from. The analyst is expected to listen, to listen in a particular way, beyond what is spoken, but is also called upon to respond. Even when silent for long periods, the analyst must also appear present. Between the two, there is thus a knowledge in waiting (un savoir en souffrance), a knowledge which is not known, according to Lacan’s definition of the unconscious. One speaks, without knowing what is said, the other knowing nothing in advance of this knowledge; but something will be produced, which will have some effect. You will have gathered here that I’m describing the phenomenology of what Lacan formulated with his formula of the subject supposed to know. Here we can refer back to Jacques-Alain Miller’s schema, called the “triangle of transference”[2], which indicates the association of three terms: the analysand, the analyst, and unconscious knowledge.

Up to this point, everything seems surprisingly simple. The questions arise when we try to define these terms in relation to each other. And these are the questions that Lacan endeavoured to answer throughout his teaching. Who speaks? The ego? The subject? What is the function of this speech? Is it to communicate, to be recognised, to establish a new dialogue? Or does one speak alone, and the other inserts themselves into this dialect? What is it to listen? What is it to hear? What is it that must be heard? How does one respond, or give no response at all, or even respond without delay; but then respond to what, when, and how? What are the means, and to what end? Is it to gain access to unconscious knowledge, to remove the symptom, to modify the mode of jouissance? And finally, what is it that allows someone to respond in an effective way? Is this something that can be learnt? What makes it possible to sustain such an operation?

We can see recurrent themes in these answers; we can also see that the concept does not exist in isolation – we can, for example, explore them in pairs, some of which are classic: interpretation and transference, interpretation and unconscious, interpretation and language, etc. In brief, we can see that this trajectory involves important conceptual shifts: how could interpretation remain unchanged, when essential concepts such as language, the subject, therefore the unconscious, the symptom, are profoundly modified?

Let me remind you of a guiding thread running through Jacques-Alain Miller’s reading in his course. Lacan attempts to find an articulation between two heterogeneous dimensions that appear together in Freud’s work from the outset: on the one hand, the unconscious as a language, in the Freud of the Traumdeutung and the formations of the unconscious; and on the other, the dimension of the drive, or jouissance, in the Freud of Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. Lacan initially privileged the former. His “return to Freud” was an innovative return to the dimension of speech and language, as both the heart and the instrument of the analytic experience. The thesis “the unconscious is structured like a language” was his point of departure, and for a long time would remain the point of reference for his teaching. In fact, gradually, and in diverse ways, the drive is linked to the signifier, in particular with the introduction of the object petit a, heterogeneous to the signifier and the imaginary – initially heavily embodied[3], it quickly adopts a logical consistency, an element included in the signifying logic of discourse[4].

It is only with Seminar XX Encore that a complete inversion of the above perspective is achieved, which J.-A Miller has indexed as the subversion and devaluation of the concept of language in favour of lalangue. Up to that point, jouissance remains subordinate to the signifier, whereas now the signifier and jouissance become equal, and it is even fair to say that the latter is accorded primacy. The thesis is now: “There, where it speaks, it enjoys” (Encore), in contrast to the former thesis: “Jouissance is prohibited to him who speaks as such” (“Subversion of the subject”). It is a complete inversion with regards to the role of the signifier! Up until then, it deadened, now it has an effect of jouissance. I will cite the whole sentence from Encore (p. 95): “The unconscious is not the fact that being thinks . . . the unconscious is the fact that being, by speaking, enjoys, and, I will add, wants to know nothing about it at all”. Here the unconscious appears in a completely different light than that of an articulated signifying chain S1-S2, responding to the signifying laws of metaphor and metonymy.

In his course “The flight of sense” (1995-1996), J-A. Miller stated that a theory of interpretation worthy of the name is also a theory of the unconscious[5]. The relation between unconscious and interpretation is evident in “Function and Field” or in “The Instance of the Letter” and “The Direction of the Treatment”. Interpretation is a signifying operation on a signifying substance. But things get rather complicated when it is jouissance that becomes central: what happens to interpretation at this point? It is a term that becomes more and more problematic, J.-A Miller says, to the degree that the mode of jouissance becomes the core of the analytic experience. On this matter we witness a change of tone in Lacan concerning the possibilities of interpretation and, more generally, the analytic experience itself. Early on, primarily in “Function and Field”, there is an affirmation of the power of speech and a faith in the advent of the truth of the subject. Whereas, at the end, in 1977 for example, Lacan poses the question, somewhat dramatically, of the very possibility of psychoanalysis: if the real excludes meaning, if the bridge between things and names is cut[6], how does psychoanalysis, a practice that works with meaning, manage to operate?

The observation to which this trajectory leads me, through these shifts, is that of a double-sided constant: 1) interpretation bears precisely on what escapes, on what cannot be said – what escapes is formulated in different ways depending on the stage; 2) to have an effect, it appeals to the “poetic” capacity of language – a capacity which is also given various formulations, even if ‘equivocation’ is the term most frequently used.

In “Function and Field of Speech and Language” (1953), what escapes is the “censored chapter” or “imprisoned meaning”. The aim of analysis is the “advent of authentic speech” and “the subject’s assumption of his history”, a subjectivisation through the construction of meaning and intersubjective recognition by the Other. The unconscious is clearly defined here in the dimension of language in the Saussurian sense, but it is presented as the “censored chapter” (the truth of which is inscribed elsewhere) that interpretation – “the exegesis” – will restore, thus reestablishing its continuity. Interpretation is the “act of freeing imprisoned meaning” from the symptom. The responsibility of the analyst is to be the one who “intimates the subjective function” for the subject (“you are my wife”, is of this kind). It is he who punctuates the discourse of the analysand, at once “scribe” and “master of the truth of which the discourse is the progress”. It is he who plays on “semantic resonances” and on the “property of language to imply what it does not say” – interpretation is a form of indirect communication, one that uses the poetic resources of language.

In “The Direction of the Treatment” (1958), that which cannot be said is unconscious desire, the signified of the chain S1-S2, as slippery as an eel. The entire treatment must be orientated in a way that preserves a place for desire and lack, without covering it in demand; it is necessary to “take desire to the letter”, follow it at every turn, leading the subject to “the avowal of desire”; but this avowal is impossible, since it comes up against “the incompatibility of desire with speech”. This is, moreover, why interpretation must always be (or by structure can only be) “allusive”, and the psychoanalyst, “well lettered”.

With the object (a), Lacan introduced an element “left blank” by linguistics (according to his expression in “Radiophonie”), heterogeneous to the signifier and the imaginary. From then on analysis will be oriented in relation to the real. A real defined from the start as “impossible”. “That which never stops not being written” is the real for psychoanalysis: the impossible writing of the sexual relation. We find this formalisation among others in “L’étourdit” (1972)[7]; it is here that he proposes equivocation as the possibility of delimiting [cerner] the real – equivocation which is moreover homogeneous to the unconscious, made up of lalangue – and he distinguishes three modalities: homophony, grammar, and logic.

The last phase of Lacan’s teaching, from the knots onwards, is oriented more and more on the real and is built on the incompatibility between the real and meaning, or the real and truth, or, again, between jouissance and meaning. Joyce, by way of his symptom, by way of Finnegans Wake, testifies to this “mark of the unintelligible” and to the “jouissance peculiar to the symptom. Jouissance, opaque for having excluded meaning”[8]. How can psychoanalysis, as praxis of meaning, operate on what is excluded from it? Here again, Lacan appeals to poetry as a point of reference for interpretation – not just any poetry, since he refers specifically to Chinese poetic writing or to the use of “double meaning”, in other words to poetry which is “effect of meaning but also effect of hole”[9].

And finally, the ultimate stage of his teaching, as shown last year by J.-A Miller, will devalue in a certain way the place of interpretation, since in his final writing, “Preface to the English edition of Seminar XI”[10] – designated by J.-A Miller as “L’esp d’un laps” – he brings about a disjunction between the unconscious and interpretation: we can be sure that we are dealing with the unconscious when “the space of a lapsus no longer carries any meaning (or interpretation)” – it is here that he names it, and seldom elsewhere, “the real unconscious”.

2. The lectures of 1975

Following these giant steps through Lacan’s teaching, I suggest we move on now to some texts and read some extracts together, but still following our thread of interpretation-unconscious. I refer to the lectures in which Lacan develops in a concrete way some renewed concepts, introduced in Encore, in particular the unconscious, lalangue, and the symptom (le symptôme), and where he speaks of interpretation in a pragmatic manner. These lectures were given in Nice (end of 1974), Geneva and the United States (1975)[11].

In Nice, Lacan poses with insistence the question of knowing how a statement (un dire) can have effects. “We know that some words hit the mark, and some don’t. It’s what we call interpretation”. And he recalls how he began from here 21 years earlier – i.e. in 1953 – and this met with “opposition” or deafness… “I asked my colleagues how it came about that they were able to work…with words. There are some processes that are effective and that only work with words.” The question is, “How does this actually work?” And on this point, Lacan answers his own question, and shifts the emphasis: it’s not whether language communicates that’s important, he says, nor that it serves the truth – since words are used just as much for lying as for telling the truth: “The fact is, it helps. Full stop.” And therefore we notice “there are statements (des dires) that work, there are statements that have no effect”. They operate in the sense that they go beyond the idle chatter that the subject is invited to. They have a power of modification (N).

This impact is possible because a human being is a being of language. He is, says Lacan, parasited, even “afflicted”, by language (US); this is the unconscious (N). In Geneva, “the unconscious is the way in which the subject was impregnated, if this can be said, by language”. And in the United States the unconscious “is a discovery of a very specialised type of knowledge, intimately entangled with the material of language, that sticks to the skin of each person, by virtue of the fact that he is a human being.” He continues: it’s a “lesion” (G), “a pest” (N), “a wound” (US)… This is why he proposes substituting for the term “unconscious” that of “parlêtre”, “speaking being”: to equivocate on “la parlotte”, “chin wag”, “chatter” and on the fact that it’s to language that we owe our being and our belief that there actually is Being. (US, N)

The language of which Lacan is speaking here is not abstract language; it’s not language as structure, like what linguists have constructed as a system, “elucubration of knowledge about lalangue”[12]. Nor is it theoretical language (G). He revises and comments anew on his fundamental thesis, “the unconscious is structured like a language”. He introduces a qualification about the word “structure”; it’s as if this thesis presupposed the existence of a structure, he says in the United States. But “what creates the structure, is the way in which language emerges in a human being at the beginning”. A subject does not learn a language, he receives it, he is impregnated by it; right from the start, he has a relation with lalangue – which Lacan writes as one word – which is the “mother tongue”, in the sense that the child receives it from his mother (US). He chose this word so “it was as close as possible to the word “lallation” (G) – i.e. the babble that precedes words and syntax. “The unconscious is structured like a language”; yes: and “not like language”; “language is too general” he indicates further, “too logical” (US). It’s a very particular language which the subject receives. “It’s in the way in which lalangue was spoken and also heard for such and such in his particularity, that something will then arise in dreams, in all kinds of slips, in all kinds of ways of speaking. It’s in this motérialisme that the foothold of the unconscious resides” (G). This neologism accentuates the materiality of the signifier. It is a question of “marks”; the unconscious is made up of these marks, left by “the encounter of these words with one’s body” (G). “The unconscious takes root” (N). In this sense, it is no longer an abstract chain of S1-S2, but a lawless series of S1. Lalangue is also a concept that subverts language as a system. Lalangue does not serve either for conversing or for communicating[13]. J.-A Miller says that it’s the concept which shows that the signifier has effects of jouissance and not, in the first instance, effects of sense[14].

The symptom itself is redefined on this basis. Lacan defines it in his Seminar “R,S,I” as “that of the unconscious which is translated by a letter”. It sustains itself with marks of the unconscious, marks which Lacan indicates in Geneva carry traces of the parents’ desire: “The way in which a mode of speaking was instilled in him can only carry the mark of the mode under which the parents accepted him”. In Nice he says that they are the traces of the missed encounter of the two spouses, of the two parlêtres. “A symptom is the inscription, at the level of the real, of this projection of the unconscious” – he uses here the image of “projectiles” that mark, pierce, and perforate a surface; “The symptom is the inscription of the perforation of the parlêtre by the statements of the two spouses (…)”. The symptom is therefore “the core mark of the human dimension” (US, G), it’s “what many people have that is most real” (US).

This new definition of the symptom, no longer a message to be deciphered, entails that the symptom is “an event of the body”[15]. As formulated by J.-A. Miller in his lecture series on “Spare Parts”[16], it’s something that happens to the body as a result of language. A symptom is a composite in Lacan’s final teaching; Lacan says things about it that go in different directions[17]. “Jouissance, opaque for having excluded meaning”, he states in relation to Joyce, who incarnates the symptom detached from any effect of meaning – illegible, pluralising signifiers without a quilting point, producing, exactly thereby, equivocation ad infinitum. He says elsewhere, “It’s the only thing that is truly real, that is, that preserves a meaning in the real”[18] – which, on the side of der Sinn, leaves a possible foothold for the analytic process to operate with meaning.

So how then does Lacan situate interpretation in this context? He presents these matters very clearly. I will pick out some formulations.

Firstly, in Nice: “There is (…) a strong chance that what is most effective is a statement that does not have any meaning”. Freud discovered the connection between jokes and the unconscious. “And a Witz is equivocation. And equivocation is language”. So: “If a Witz has meaning, it’s precisely through equivocating. It’s precisely this that gives us the right model for analytic interpretation.”

“It is at the level of lalangue that interpretation has effect” (N). Since lalangue is the locus of equivocation, “in lalangue of which one has received an imprint, a word is equivocal”, he says in Geneva; he gives the example of not-knot, that echoes the d’eux-deux from Encore. He takes this up again in Nice and in the United States, where he returns to Freud’s well known example in his essay on fetishism, where he sees the origins of a fetish, the shine on the nose, in a German speaking person, in an equivocation between two languages: the “Glanz auf der Nase” in German, can be interpreted as “to glance at the nose” in English – English which was the language spoken by this subject when he was small, the language of his parents at his birth, by which he was fashioned. “Glanz” (shine) in German sounds like “glance” in English.

I see there an example where “interpretation must always – for the analyst – take into account the fact that in what is said, there is something that sounds, and what sounds must resound with what is unconscious” (US).

In the United States, Lacan reiterates that interpretation must be equivocal. It should not be “theoretical, suggestive, or in other words imperative”; one should never “impose words that only make sense for the analyst himself”. “It’s from analysands that I learn everything…I borrow my interventions from them”. And he continues; “Analytic interpretation is not made to be understood; it is designed to make waves”. But for that, he adds, “one has to have been formed as an analyst”: “having observed how a symptom completes itself”.

He also says that what the analyst has to say to his analysand is of the order of truth. This may appear somewhat of a surprise to see this term of the early Lacan reappear here. Is this once again the analyst as “master of the truth” of “Function and Field”? The connotations have changed, since he highlights immediately that truth is not-all, it can only be half-said, and this is precisely what must be made clear to the analysand: that it’s not a generic truth. The analyst only intervenes from a particular truth, since the child is not an abstract child, he has his own completely particular history – it’s not the same thing to have had your own mother and not your neighbour’s (US). One is far also from the history of the subject defined by the universal! The stress on particularity permeates these lectures, from every point of view, down to the details of Lacan’s formulations – thus, for example, he doesn’t say “the human being”, but refers to it as “a human being”[19].

Finally, equivocation is “the only weapon we have against the sinthome”[20]. “Targeting the sinthome”[21], is the goal, indeed, of Lacan’s final teaching. But what is meant by “targeting the sinthome”? The relation between interpretation and the sinthome, which I can only touch on here, is not simple, since the final teaching of Lacan provides us with no single answer to this “aporetic problem”[22]. As it is the exclusion of the real and of meaning “that provides the axis of Lacan’s Borromean period”, “how are we to think the unthinkable of meaning-in-the-real?”[23]

As J.-A. Miller has fully developed it in the past few years, the symptom that Lacan formalises on the basis of the teaching he draws from Joyce – and which he rewrites as sinthome – is no longer the symptom as “the signifier of a repressed signified” or formation of the unconscious to be deciphered. The symptom as “an event of the body” has a fixity which it owes to its character as knot of jouissance and lalangue. The symptom of which Joyce offers us an abstraction, has “cancelled its subscription to the unconscious”, and is “unanalysable”[24]; “jouissance, opaque for having excluded meaning”[25]. Does psychoanalysis, thus, surrender its weapons before the symptom? In any case, Lacan makes clear, the absolute value of this jouissance that excludes meaning is “devalued” by the fact that analytic practice makes use of meaning in order to dissolve it. Analysis thus becomes the dupe of the father.[26]

Perhaps we can imagine things as follows: there are two sides to the symptom, the side of meaning, and the side of the real – I refer back to J.-A. Miller’s paper in Madrid in 1998: Sinn and Bedeutung. The analyst is concerned only with what the patient says, with the Sinn of the symptom, which returns back to the symptom as its reference, its Bedeuntung[27]. By allocating them a distinct place in the analyst’s discourse, J.-A. Miller differentiates them: on one side, at the locus of truth is the S2, the variable truth of the symptom, a knowledge which is only supposed, and on the other side, at the locus of the real is the S1, the symptom as “that of the unconscious which is translated by a letter”:

(T) S2 │ S1 (R)

Sinn │ Bedeutung

Supposed Knowledge│ letter

These distinctions enable me to better locate the various elaborations of Lacan in his lectures of 1975. Indeed, on one hand he can say that: “That which concerns us is the symptom. The symptom is an effect that is located in the field of the real” (N). And on the other hand that the analyst “is supposed to speak the truth (…) which the analysand must hear (…) for what he expects, namely to be liberated from the symptom”; and that this “supposes that the symptom and this kind of intervention by the analyst (…) are of the same order. The symptom also says something. It says, it is another form of vrai dire, and in short what the analyst does is attempt to do something a little better than simply skate over it. (…) The symptom, it resists, and it’s not something that will go away by itself” (US).

Lacan uses the knot with four loops, where the sigma of symptom ∑ forms a circle with the symbolic S; in this way, it does not exclude the unconscious; “it’s as much a part of the unconscious”. The symptom and the unconscious form the ring: “a screw endlessly drilling. And we never reach a point where everything comes out. Urverdrangung: there is a hole. It’s because there is a knot and something real that remains at the bottom” (US). Interpretation touches on the symptom to the degree that it is supported by lalangue. “When we interpret we form a circle with ∑, giving free rein to what can be supported by lalangue, whereas what the analysand always bear witness to is his symptom” (US). Equivocation, which is what interpretation plays on, is then said to be what closes the circle between a symptom and the symbolic. For, intervening in a certain way upon the symptom, one finds onself equivocating” (US).

In these lectures it is equivocation that serves as the paradigm of interpretation; it’s the path by which analysis might perhaps succeed in reaching the Bedeutung by way of the Sinn. As highlighted last year by J.-A. Miller, an interpretation carries real weight only when it has effects on jouissance. Taking as the starting point that the symptom is a fixation of jouissance, the question is then asked to what it is “that may be displaced of jouissance” in analysis. There are not only revelations, truth events, produced in analysis – there are also events of jouissance: “interpretation is to be judged according to the jouissance event it is ultimately capable of generating”.[28]

3. Questions:

Many questions arise in me in the course of this reading, and there are as many points in need of clarification that must be followed up. They meet to a degree with certain issues addressed by Pierre-Gilles Guéguen and Alexandre Stevens, in their orienting texts for the next Congress of the NLS, to which I refer.[29]

In addition to this difficult problematic of the symptom that I have just outlined, there is also equivocation: what is exactly meant by equivocation? Could this be the play on words ad infinitum that managed to pass for a whole epoch as the nec plus ultra of a Lacanian practice? If this was the case, it would seem to me a misreading of the core of the real in the symptom. Nor is it equivocation to entrust oneself to meaning(S1→S2). Instead, the lectures suggest that it is a “statement without meaning”, like a means of touching the irreducible marks of jouissance, isolated S1 of lalangue. This leads me back to J.-A. Miller’s intervention “Interpretation in reverse”[30], where he suggests an “other way” of interpretation that aims not at interpreting “by emulating the unconscious”, by deciphering (S1→S2), but by “bringing the subject back to his truly elementary signifiers, on which he has, in his neurosis, had a delusion”, which means by circumscribing the S1, “senseless”, “as it was before it was articulated in the formation of the unconscious which gives it the sense of a delusion”. Such a “post-interpretative practice” takes its bearings, according to him, “not on punctuation, but on the cut”, which we can imagine “as a separation between S1 and S2”. Rather than adding the S2, it withholds it, rather than looping back on meaning, it cuts it.

Consequently, how do we locate equivocation in relation to the cut?

Lacan introduced the cut in “Function and Field”, to account for his practice of the short session, or sessions of variable lengths; it can be considered as a mode of interpretation, as a handling of time. The cut is a concept that is used in his topology, whether in the form of operations of cutting of surfaces such as the torus – evoked particularly in passages on interpretation in “L’étourdit” – or in the handling of the knots.

One then needs to examine the relation between equivocation and the cut, and how equivocation as a use of lalangue becomes a “mode of saying” that produces a cut? Or how a particular usage of language can at once make sense and make a hole, as with a certain type of poetry, which interpretation should take inspiration from, in 1977[31]. What then is the relation between equivocation and the letter?

Lastly, silence: where does it find its place?

There are interpretations that are silent. The cut of the session, without a word, is one example. The testimonies of the AEs have provided us at times with more examples. But more generally, Eric Laurent highlights that “Lacanian interpretation has to aim at silence, and has to include silence”, adding: “Equivocation does not mean that all meanings are possible. Equivocation means that the play on meaning is sufficient for there to be some silence, for the signifier to be able to be decomposed, to be broken, for there to be neither an endless concatenation nor a frozen signification.” It is an “interpretation as a separation from the Other”[32]. Equivocation is therefore a mode of saying which produces, or which includes silence. Lastly, always on the question of silence in what is said (le dire), I will cite a final reference to be explored: the intervention in the United States of December 2, 1975, entitled “Impromptu on the analytic discourse”. I will only refer to one fragment, the distinction between “what is enunciated” and “what is not said”, and an aspect of the commentary about a over S2: “The analyst only speaks in words (…) This S2, which the analyst is supposed to know, (…) is only ever said in the form of a half-said of truth”. “It is as a semblant of waste (a) that he intervenes at the level of the barred subject S/”. Lacan writes besides S2 on the schema of the analytic discourse: “half-said of truth”, and next to (a): “semblant of waste”, and in brackets: “silence”. “Silence corresponds to the semblant of waste”.

Translated by Keith Al-Hasani for NLS Messager.

Revised by Roger Litten. Thanks to Russell Grigg for his feedback.


1- This is a re-written text of my introductory intervention at the “Knottings” seminar of the NLS, on “Lacanian interpretation”, in Tel Aviv, November 15, 2008.

2- In his seminar, “Les us du laps”, Lacanian orientation, at the Department of Psychoanalysis, University of Paris VII, lesson of the 17th November 1999, unpublished. I had previously adapted this schema in a paper on transference in psychoses, Mental 19.

3- In Seminar X, on Anxiety, (1962-1963), L’angoisse, Seuil, Paris, 2004.

4- I refer back to these modes of articulation in the developments of “The six paradigms of jouissance” (Cause freudienne, 43) or to “Barcelona Seminar on Die Wege der Symptombildung”, in Le symptôme charlatan, collected works by the Fondation du Champ freudien, Seuil, Paris, 1998. “The Seminar of Barcelona”, in Psychoanalytical Notebooks of the London Circle, Issue No 1, 1998.

5- J.-A. Miller, “La fuite du sens”, lecture of the 20th March 1996, unpublished.

6- J. Lacan, Seminar “L’insu que sait de l’une-bévue, s’aile à mourre”, 8th March 1977, Ornicar?, 16, automne 1978, p13: “(…) to arrive at the idea that the only real there is excludes any kind of meaning is exactly the opposite of our practice, since our practice is steeped in the idea that not only names, but also simply words, have an effect. I don’t see how to explain it. If names did not in some way stick to things, how would psychoanalysis be possible? Psychoanalysis would in some way be a fake, I mean a semblant.”

7- J. Lacan, “L’étourdit”, Autres écrits, Seuil, Paris, 2001, pp. 449-495.

8- J. Lacan, “Joyce le Symptôme”, Autres écrits, p.570.

9- See his seminar on “L’insu que sait de l’une-bévue, s’aile à mourre”, 1976-1977, lectures of the 19th April, 15th March and 17th May 1977 respectively, Ornicar ?, 17/18, spring 1979, pp. 7-23.

10- J. Lacan, “Preface to the English edition of Seminar XI”, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, The Hogarth Press, 1977.

11- In Nice: «Le phénomène lacanien» [“The Lacanian Phenomenon”], (30 November 1974), Les cahiers cliniques de Nice, 1, June 1998, pp. 9-25. In Geneva: “La conférence à Genève sur le symptôme” [“The Geneva seminar on the symptom”] (4th October 1975), Le Bloc-notes de la psychanalyse, 5, 1985, pp. 5-23. In the USA: “Conférences et entretiens dans des universities nord-américaines” [“Lectures and discussions at various North American universities]” (November-December, 1975), Scilicet 6/7, Seuil, 1976, pp. 5-63. I refer to them in the text by the letters N, G, US.

12- Seminar XX, Encore, Paris, Seuil, 1975, p. 127.

13- J. Lacan, Encore, p. 126.

14- J.-A. Miller, « Pièces détachées » [“Spare Parts”], Cause freudienne, 60, p. 165. See also “Biologie lacanienne” [“Lacanian biology”], Cause freudienne, 44, p. 46-47.

15- J. Lacan, “Joyce le Symptôme” [“Joyce the symptom”], Autres écrits, p. 569.

16- Cause freudienne, 61, p. 152.

17- See J.-A. Miller, “Barcelona seminar”, and “Le symptom: savoir, sens et réel” [“the symptom: knowledge, meaning, and real”], Le symptôme charlatan, op. cit.

18- Seminar “L’insu que sait de l’une-bévue…”, 15th March 1977, Ornicar ? 17/18, spring 1979, p. 9.

19- “What creates the structure, is the way in which language emerges at the beginning in a human being” (USA).

20- J. Lacan, Le Séminaire Livre XXIII, Le sinthome, Seuil, Paris, 2005, p. 17 (lesson of 18th November 1975).

21- Cf. J.-A. Miller, « L’interprétation à l’envers », Cause freudienne, 32, p. 11: “Une pratique qui vise dans le sujet le sinthome n’interprète pas à l’instar de l’inconscient (…) ». [“Interpretation in reverse”, Bulletin of the NLS, 4, 2008, p. 72: “A practice which targets the sinthome in the subject does not interpret like the unconscious.” And Eric Laurent uses this expression in “Interpréter la psychose au quotidien”, Mental, 16, p.21; “Interpreting psychosis from Day to Day”, Bulletin of the NLS, 4, 2008, p. 93.]

22- Cf. J.-A. Miller, “the symptom: knowledge [savoir], meaning, and real”, Le symptôme charlatan, p. 60.

23- Ibid., pp. 57-58.

24- J. Lacan, “Joyce le symptôme”, lecture of June 16 1975, in Le sinthome, pp. 166-167.

25- J. Lacan, “Joyce le symptôme”, in Autres écrits, p. 570.

26- Ibid. See J.-A. Miller’s commentary in his lecture on May 14 2008 (online at AMP website).

27- J.-A. Miller, “Le symptôme: savoir, sens et réel”, op. cit., p. 58.

28- J.-A. Miller, lecture on March 12 2008, Ten Line News n°384.

29- P.-G. Guéguen, “L’interprétation lacanienne”, NLS-Messager 500, June 10 2008; published in English in Bulletin of the NLS 4. A. Stevens, “L’interprétation lacanienne”, courrier électronique VIIe Congrès NLS, (French and English) October 24 2008, published since in Lettre mensuelle de l’ECF n°273, December 2008.

30- J.-A. Miller, “Interpretation in reverse”, op. cit.

31- J. Lacan Seminar “L’insu que sait de l’une-bévue, s’aile à mourre”, op.cit., May 17 1977.

32- E. Laurent, “Interpréter la psychose au quotidien”, Mental 16, pp. 22-23; ‘Interpreting Psychosis from Day to Day’, Bulletin of the NLS, 4, p. 95.


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