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30th January 2020

Towards “Question d’Ecole” – Paris, 1st February 2020
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Interview with Laurent Dupont


L’Hebdo-Blog: Clinic of the School is the subtitle of the Study-Day. This is an equivocation, isn’t it?

Laurent Dupont: Question of School” [Question d’École] already contains this equivocation: who questions who? And about what? It has become an indispensable rendez-vous for all those who want to know how the ECF (École de la Cause Freudienne) questions the world, the master, the clinic, but also how the School is questioned by the “subjectivity of its time” [1]For this questioning we lean on Freud’s teaching, on Lacan’s, and on the Lacanian Orientation delivered by Jacques-Alain Miller. The title Potency of Speech has clinical relevance. By speaking, Adèle Haenel, Vanessa Springora, Christine Angot, many others also, Paul B. Preciado at the 49th Study Days last November, for example, show that the demonstration is no longer needed, they are –in a certain way- children of psychoanalysis, they believe in speech, in its potency. Whether one agrees or not. Besides, many of those who try to carry their words, have done an analysis. So, the subtitle makes the dimension of interpretation contained in speech resonate: to interpret current times, to be interpreted by these words which are taken and launched into speaking as a testimony. A School as alive as ours cannot miss this opportunity. 

L’H.-B.: The title says potency of speech” and not “power of speech”. What is the nuance in your opinion?

L.D.: “Potency of speech” is a citation from Jacques-Alain Miller’s course in 2011 [2]. It is a turning point. It is the ultimate point of the effect of sense, of truth. Speech has a “creationist” effect [3], says J.-A. Miller. An effect of transformation: there is a before and after for the subject, it is the side of self-revelation proper to the Freudian analysis, the lifting of the repressed. But this potency of speech is opposed to the humility required before jouissance; this implies for the analyst to “become humble”. There, it is the reading of the sinthome, the silence of reading. It is the body as marked, traces from the initial, traumatic encounter, with the signifier all-alone. Hence, a turning point: what becomes of interpretation at this moment so that it can lead the subject towards the recognition of that which cannot be transformed, of what is incessantly repeated, of what can only be attested? The testimonies of the A.S. (Analysts of the School) can account both for that which had an effect of transformation, of revelation to themselves, but also for these moments where meaning is let go of and something is unveiled, and it can “be seen/ be known” (se ça-voir).

L’H.-B.: The analyst is not situated on the side of elucubration, he operates like a “rhetorician” [4] which means somebody who knows how to do with oratorical art.  How does this nuance concern the potency of speech?

L.D.: This concerns interpretation directly. Let’s never forget that interpretation is on the side of the analysand: it is he who, retroactively, will hear the effect of truth that was or was not obtained. The question is not to say that one should no longer have recourse to this exercise of speech against the background of silence or of rarity. It is not about saying that one mode of interpretation would be superior to others; for this reason the later Lacan does not cancel out the earlier Lacan. Oftentimes a long analysis in the name of sense, of truth, of working-through is needed in order to hear what is there, beyond being.

L’H.-B.: Surprise on the side of the analysand, humility on the side of the analyst. What distinctions does this distribution operate?

L.D.: It is interesting to note that surprise precedes the truth-effect. This is a bit like the analysis of a dream: the dream surprises us, it arrives encrypted and in analysis it is possible to obtain a truth-effect. And, at the same time or some years later, the same dream delivers another aspect in the interpretation one gives to it, it is detached from meaning but testifies to something singular, index of the real, proposes J.-A. Miller. The very word effect, and also the word surprise, allow us to hear that, from the very beginning, the body is not absent. This body that we bring to analysis is not without effect from the start, but it is the end which testifies to the “that’s it” (c’est ça) of the body.

L’H.-B.: there is a thread that runs between analysis and supervision. This thread is extended, shortened, even rolled up at different moments, depending on how the index of the real is experienced in one’s analysis. What can be said about this thread, which is sometimes clearly visible and other times imperceptible?

L.D.:  Supervision and analysis are not the same thing. But there can be analytic effects in supervision and teaching effects in analysis. This is something like a Moebius strip. In fact, Lacan really demonstrated that the analyst is not luminary of his practice. Always becoming, says J.-A. Miller [5]. The biggest danger for psychoanalysis would be for someone to believe he is an analyst, to regard himself as an analyst. Supervision, analysis, cartel work, also, with its value to transform exposed knowledge, are all means so as not to fall asleep. Sometimes a powerful word is required to wake us up; this may also be a scream, a silence, a movement of the analyst, of the supervisor, of the plus-one…There is no equivalence between analysis, supervision and cartel; the aim is to prevent us from falling asleep, and to allow us to have a lively practice.

The event “Question of School” has always had this role too, to be the sting aiming at keeping us always on the edge of our singular desire.


 Translated by Peggy Papada

From Hebdo-Blog [Puissance de la parole. Clinique de l’École – Entretien avec Laurent Dupont, President de l’ECF)]

[1] Lacan, J., “The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis”, Écrits, Norton & Co, 2006, p. 264.

[2] Miller J.-A., “Lacanian orientation. The One all alone”, Teaching presented in the context of the Department of Psychoanalysis of the University of Paris VIII, course of 11 May 2011, unpublished.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Lacan, J., Seminar XXV, “The moment to conclude”, lesson of 15 November 1977, unpublished.

[5] Cf. Miller J.-A., “Presentation of the theme of the Study-Days of the ECF 2009”, La Lettre mensuelle, no 279, June 2009, p. 4.  

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