The exuberant event of Paris, the 15th of June 1975, was to star Jacques Lacan at the opening of his XXIII seminar Joyce le Symptôme. And yes, Lacan had acquired the favor and sympathy of Jacques Aubert, indeed an eminent Joycean. As David Hayman writes in "My Dinner with Jacques," Lacan's seminar had the effect of "...opening up the rather insular Joyce community to what became lasting influences."
"Joyce, the Joyce of Finnegans Wake, that is the dream... the dream he legates, puts something like a term..."
Lacan's remark leading right into the word Finnegan, its intrinsic meaning should remit to an end (Fin: final), and you can forward the actual meaning to the second word in the title: a Wake is the corollary of sleep. So much for the sharp disentangling of the sign inside the actual signifiers, you are however left with the deciphering of the dream.
If said to put an end, this dream "...is setting off the end of not being able of doing better."
Doing better in reference to what? whose patterns are they? The claim addresses the subject in matters of destiny. Supposed to shape its fate because it speaks, the subject thinks it speaks what it wants, the dilemma is that this is not so. "You speak what others want... more precisely your family. Your family speaks to you... you are spoken." Still it is you who makes hazards that drive you... into something like a web. Destiny, bound to get to terms, the Wake should reveal the desire of an Other inside this web... dreamwise?
Non-signifiable, however symbolized, the name of the symptom is up to disclose the Other, as well as the absence of this Other, to whom you happen to comply while "...not being able of doing better."
More for concern of further understanding, the speaker took on the name of Joyce himself. "Joyce is in rapport with joy jouissance..." And in this there is the symptom jouissance the symptom.
The father as name and the father as he who names, is not the same thing... Thereupon the division of the symbol and the symptom. If the symptom is bound to condition language, it depends on a structure where the Name-of-the-Father is the unconditional element, "...without the Name-of-the-Father nothing's possible in the knot of the symbolic, of the imaginary, of the real." However there is in the case of Joyce "foreclosure" of the Name-of-the-Father, since the father of Joyce, now lacking, now devoid of authority transmitted nothing to his son. "...while leaving him to the care of Jesuits in an institution."
Lacan's leading premise, which takes into consideration that Joyce's daughter was a psychotic, prompts reluctance in concern with the writer's intellective condition. How is it that solely the daughter is assigned to this category? Did Joyce manage through his art to supply for his own parental deficiency? If the work of art, in its exaltation, as Freud would say, is supposed to uncover the repressed by all, by the many, it's precisely there that Joyce becomes a question: the huge concentration of puns in his writings doesn't provoke this effect, no laughter is on the side of the reader. It came to be known though, through the account of his wife Nora, that Joyce laughed thoroughly while writing Finnegan's Wake. "You get to read it, but because you feel the presence of the jouissance of he who wrote that."
"...jouissance is the orgasm beyond orgasm..." with Adrian Dannatt in "The Crack," while "The paradise of perfect jouissance is where the struggle of communicative significance of words is not necessary," according to Patrick Healey in "Joyce: Through the Lacan Glass."
Lacan, calling on the equivalence between a letter and a litter, acknowledges the letter as an object, insofar as it stays after it has been read. Something will always happen to the letter.
"...I remembered the still unfinished letter to David and wondered how long it would take for me to get back to the things I wanted to tell him.." says Raphael Rubinstein in "Italics," or "...Elizabeth shoved the letter under a stack of junk mail. She ignored it for a day. Then she took it out," in Lynn Tillman's "Next to Nothing."
Did Joyce achieve through literature what an analysand is bound to attain at the end of analysis? The seminar of 1975-76 complied with the specific research.
Joyce le Symptôme. Not the father of Joyce naming Joyce, nor even Lacan naming Joyce, but rather Joyce himself renaming himself; "...it is pure jouissance of such writing..." with Jacques-Alain Miller in "Joyce avec Lacan Preface;" or "...a specific last word on the real of jouissance and its empty place in the symbolic," with Jorge Alemán in "Lacan: the End."
"There is a power in literature..." Lacan undertook the supplying function of literature in three levels:
Within the dimension of the symbolic, whereas Joyce cannot count on the Name-of-the-Father, what comes instead is "the will to make himself a name." Not the will for recognition through the biggest name, what Joyce's will was about, involved making himself a name that has an effect, that sets to work, that comprises not only a public of readers, but scholars who he wants occupied through three centuries.
Relative to the imaginary, Joyce creates a double: distress and agony make for something like the patching of the ego Daedalus an imaginary ward... or a redoubled imaginary, such as the twins in Finnegan's Wake. Thus in the Portrait of an Artist, Joyce mentions the loss of his body when being attacked by an older student. And the case is not straightforward sublimation. For Lacan sublimation in Joyce will stand only in reference to glorious bodies; there, where the symbolic folds over the imaginary.
If Eric Laurent warns against misunderstanding in concern with the actual concept, "What does for the redoubling is that there is a 'set out in continuity' of the real and the imaginary,"1 it is because this construction is meant to be effectual over the joy of Joyce: over the real of his jouissance.
Joyce is not satisfied with supplementing desire while making himself a name or building up a glorious body. He chooses to believe in the symptom.
With Slavoj Zizek, Joyce's writings "...are not simply external to their interpretation but, as it were, in advance take into account their possible interpretations and enter into dialogue with them," in "From Joyce-the-Symptom to the Symptom of Power."
The place of Woman in Joyce is altogether paradoxical. Lacan will attest Joyce's and Nora's relationship is psychotic. "...there is sexual rapport between them..." If the case was depreciation, said to convey vivid traits of repugnancy, "...it is yet depreciation itself to make for a chosen woman." Should degradation be then what fixes, the relationship isn't less of a patch than the strong ego with which Joyce came to clothe himself.
Of art and Lorna Simpson, Jan Avgikos writes "...Poetry suffices for truth... The project remains incomplete. Her work is never done... in "The Woman Who Filled Up the World Because She Didn't Know How to Exist In It."
With John Yau in "Genghis Chan: Private Eye XXIII" it is, "...Tall signs, Point to sudden breath."
Subscribe to Lacanian Ink click here.