Reading Lacan’s Seminar XX: Encore
Chapter 1: On Jouissance
With president of the NLS Alexandre STEVENS
Reading Lacan's Seminar XX: Encore
Those of you who followed our online reading of Jacques Lacan’s Seminar XVII (April – July 2020) might recall that in it, Lacan draws the line at any suggestion that the Freudian discourse might be based on biological facts of sexuality. Indeed in 1935 Freud wrote: “I object to all of you (Horney, Jones, Rado, etc.,) to the extent that you do not distinguish more clearly between what is psychic and what is biological, that you try to establish a neat parallelism between the two […] I would only like to emphasise that we must keep psychoanalysis separate from biology just as we have kept it separate from anatomy and physiology". But Seminar XVII is also the seminar in which Lacan distances himself from Freud by rendering the Oedipus complex “strictly unusable”, criticising him for choosing to pursue his theory of the Oedipus instead of being oriented by the knowledge gained “from all these mouths of gold” of Anna, Emma, and Dora.  We follow Lacan in his path beyond the Oedipus complex, opening up to the field of jouissance and the question of its feminine mode which, Lacan declares, Freud abandoned. In fact, Freud could go no further insofar as he encountered the rock of castration.The field of jouissance—a field Jacques-Alain Miller named ‘Lacanian’ by giving this title to the chapter elaborating on it in Seminar XVII—highlights the cut between libido and nature. It is what the formulas of sexuation will come to articulate in Seminar XX insofar as the side chosen by each speaking being is not akin to any biological given or socially constructed gender but is instead a choice of jouissance. Having left behind Freud’s famous question about woman’s desire, Lacan provides a metaphor instead: “[Woman] lends herself to surplus jouissance because she, the woman, plunges her roots, like a flower, down into jouissance itself".  Thus Lacan uses his most political seminar to introduce what will come to be articulated in the subsequent seminars, and especially in Seminar XX, as the not-all, opening the path to the singular which characterises the ethics of our orientation.Seminar XX is a seminar dedicated to the psychoanalytic themes of sexuality, love, desire, and jouissance. Most of Lacan’s famous aphorisms are found in it: the formulas of sexuation, the Other jouissance, supplementary jouissance, the not-all, and Woman does not exist. With Encore Lacan introduces a novel approach to sexuality that constitutes a break from traditional knowledge and its organisation around binaries. How can we think differently to man / woman? How can Lacan help us understand gender fluidity in today’s civilization? What are the consequences of the fact that there are women and not the Woman; a “Feminine principle” rather than a jouissance monopolised by women? We are inviting everyone to join us in our reading of Encore, which is a logical continuation of Seminar XVII, but also constitutes part of our preparations for the WAP’s Great International Online Conversation: “Woman does not exist" ; it brings together the seven schools and friends of the WAP in a great conversation of epistemic and clinical significance.
 Freud, S., (1935). “Letter to Carl Muller-Braunschweg”, published as ‘Freud and female sexuality: a previously unpublished letter’, Psychiatry, 1971, pp. 328-9. Lacan, J., The Other Side of Psychoanalysis: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book XVII (1969-70), ed. J.-A. Miller, trans. R. Grigg, New York/ London, Norton, 2007, p. 99. Lacan, J., Ibid. p. 78. See Alberti.C. (2021) “Woman does not exist”, opening argument for the WAP’s Great International Online Conversation, available online: “Woman does not exist” – Grandes assises AMP 2022 Grandes assises AMP 2022 – Paris
All meetings will take place online. Advance registration for each seminar is required.To register for the reading of the first chapter "On Jouissance" by Alexandre Stevens on Sunday 10th October please CLICK HEREFor more information about this and other activities of the London Society of the NLS please visit our website at www.londonsociety-nls.org.uk