Report on ‘The Body at the End of Analysis:The Voice’

des Sociétés et Groupes de la NLS

Activities of the Societies and
Groups of the NLS


on ‘The Body at the End of Analysis: The Voice’ – Dr.
Ruth Gorenberg


the 11th of May 2016, NYFLAG reconvened under the supervision
of Maria Cristina Aguirre at The Graduate Center, to host a
lecture by Dr. Ruth Gorenberg on her new book, The Music
of Lalangue:
 The Incidence of Object Voice in
. She titled her talk “The Body at the
End of Analysis: the Voice”. NYFLAG wishes to thank Dr.
Gorenberg for her exceptional presentation.


Gorenberg began her lecture by quoting an anecdote from Lacan:
“Lacan tells us that somebody, once, went to consult him and
said: “What I am in need of, is your voice”. And Lacan
replied: “It isn’t a sonorous thing, if the object a is
what say, we must not confuse phonetics and the phoneme”. This
muted voice is the voice without sound that Lacan talked about
in his Seminar X—i.e. the muted voice beyond the sound
substance; that is to say, the voice as one of the drive’s
objects, the voice as object a

voice as object a is defined by Jacques-Alain Miller
in his essay “Jacques Lacan and The Voice”, (published in The
Later Lacan, An Introduction
, Edit. Voruz &Wolf,
New York: Suny Press, 2007) thus: “(…) the voice as object
 does not in the least belong to the sonorous register
(139). “I would say that the instance of the voice deserves to
be inscribed as a third term between the function of speech
and the field of language” (140). “The voice is everything in
the signifier that does not partake in the effect of
signification” (141). “In this respect the voice, in the very
special use Lacan makes of this word, is doubtlessly a
function of the signifier—or better, of the signifying chain
as such” (142). “This is exactly where Lacan uses the termvoice in
the first place: every signifying chain has several
voices—which indeed makes voice and enunciation equivalent”


voice is the part of the signifying chain that the subject
cannot assume as “I” and which is subjectively assigned to the
Other” (144). “It contains a charge of jouissance that cannot
be integrated in the signifying chain (here I really make
jouissance an equivalent of libido)” (144). “The instance of
the voice is always present as soon as I have to locate my
position in relation to a signifying chain is always situated
in relation to the unspeakable object. In this respect, the
voice is precisely that which cannot be said” (145). “If there
is the voice, it is due to the fact that the signifier
revolves around the unspeakable object. And the voice as such
emerges each time the signifier breaks down, and rejoins this
object in horror” (145).    

Miller’s definition as her point of departure, Gorenberg then
questioned the relationship of the voice as object a to
the notion of semblant as developed by Lacan in his
later teaching by asking: “I wonder about the articulation
between object a and semblant. How could an
analyst perform his function, if not from a radical
transformation of his relation to semblant?”. To
illustrate her point, Gorenberg used the testimony of the Pass
of Luis Tudanca. 


the course of his analysis, his analyst isolated the signifier
“poor” and connected it with the anguished maternal speech
that marked, so far, his destiny. The work of analysis
consisted, from there, in transforming the muted signifier
“poor” into something that could finally be heard, by giving
to it, through certain intonations of the analyst’s voice, a
comicality or irony. It is thus through the modulation of the
analyst voice that the analysand could reintegrate the
signifier “poor” within his signifying chain. By privileging
the sound over meaning, the analyst’s intervention made it
possible for the drives to stop shouting and to find a form a


make her point clearer, Gorenberg then used another clinical
example. L became a singer because singing gave her a very
specific position during her childhood—to which she attached a
fantasmatic jouissance—the position of the “chosen one”. This
specific position was then related to her mode of singing by
her analyst through the signifier “hitting”. L, as an
analysand, kept complaining about the way she was hitting
certain notes—as if her body was marking through this
“hitting” a form of excessive jouissance. Reintegrating the
muted signifier, “hitting”, into the signifying chain enabled
L to change her way of singing. 


Ruth Gorenberg concluded the talk by stating that the use of
the voice, which the analyst employs during an analysis,
represents a chance for the analysand to transform his
relationship to semblant through the fall of certain
master signifiers which organize his modes of jouissance.  

Frederic-Charles Baitinger
York Freud Lacan Analytic Group


Lacanian School

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