20 nov. 2003

Postscript on Literary Lacanianism

To the extent that PA theory is already always literary, many critics simply skip the step of seeing PA as a valid theory of how the psyche actually functions. You simply read Lacan, say, as a rather eccentric reader of Poe. The vagueness is inherent to this method. The "unconscious is structured like a language" is not a statement about the human mind, if it is merely heuristic. I'm wondering whether that statement even has a meaning that can be debated. What if it isn't "true"?

Lacan saw both Freudian PA and structural linguistics as valid. He was trying to work with the best concepts developed in those fields up to that date, fusing them in a brilliant synthesis. I would think a contemporary critic would also want to master the best available linguistic and psychological theories that have been developed up until now. But no.

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