Editor’s Introduction

Welcome to our latest regular issue, Volume 10, Number 2, featuring four articles, an interview, an obituary, four translated articles from the Spanish and two book review essays. Future issues will tend to follow this template, as we work towards featuring the global nature of the journal via curated translations from the Spanish and Italian sides of EJP.

Trevor Pederson launches our issue with an insightful theorization of the phantasy body in his article, The Bodily Ego, the Phantasy Body, and the Polymorphus Mimicry of Primary Narcissism, an intricate and manifold approach with high clinical utility. Deploying an intricate reading of Freud, Pederson argues for a transcendental materialism that further develops the Kantian framework employed by Freud in his model of the mind. The issue continues with Jack Wareham’s intriguing Modernity and the Desexualization of Thought: The Freudian Unconscious as Historical. Fashioning a deep contextualization of Lacan’s thinking, Wareham argues that psychoanalysis’ subversive force and interpretive limitations can only be understood via an examination of how psychoanalytic truths are historically mediated.

Moving forward we come to Tim Themi’s absorbing essay, Perversion and Nonknowledge as Technique for Madness. Bringing together Lacan’s discussions on perversion with Bataille’s notion of nonknowledge as a technique of inner-experience, Themi argues for their utility in managing madness. A brilliant and subversive article, it merits a close and detailed reading. Nitzan Familia’s A Critique of Michèle Montrelay’s Theorizations of Masculine and Feminine Sexuality: On Psychoanalysis, Queer Theory, and the “Queer” Signifier rounds out our initial set of four articles with a thoroughgoing and well-researched argument for the relevance of Michèle Montrelay’s theorizing for contemporary explorations of human sexuality, jouissance and desire. Staging a sophisticated encounter or dialogue between Lacanian psychoanalysis and queer theory, Familia goes on to develop theoretical positions on a “queer” modality of jouissance and the notion of a “queer” signifier. 

EJP, and its previous incarnation, the Journal of European Psychoanalysis (JEP), often featured lengthy interviews with noteworthy thinkers and analytic clinicians. This issue follows in that tradition with my interview of Benjamin Fong on the occasion of his new book, Quick Fixes: Drugs in America from Prohibition to the 21st Century Binge (Verso, 2023). Following up on a set of reflections found in his text, our focus throughout the conversation is the relevance of his research and theorizing for the actual clinical practice of psychoanalysis. 

It has also been an EJP tradition to publish obituaries of leading figures in psychoanalysis and philosophy as a way of honoring their contributions to the field at large. In this issue, we feature a detailed, personal and enlightening obituary of Pierre Legendre by his devoted colleague, Per Magnus Johansson. Making our way through his essay, we encounter a variety of facets of Legendre and his work, and we receive a well-detailed sense of what it was like to engage with one of the intellectual giants of our time. Johansson’s essay ends with a detailed bibliography of Legendre’s prodigious output of work.

As noted above, this issue marks an editorial initiative to highlight the global dimensions of EJP. Working in four languages, Spanish, Italian, Russian and English, EJP’s very structure is trans-linguistic. Wanting to make the most of this unique arrangement, we have chosen to feature four articles in translation from our inaugural Spanish issue published last year. Current and future efforts in this direction fall under the subtitle of Idiom.

We kick off Idiom with a brilliant essay composed by the late Néstor Braunstein, entitled Psychoanalysis in Spanish. His essay addresses the origins of psychoanalysis and the linguistic transmigrations of Freud’s work from the Austro-Hungarian empire to the Spanish language and then to English, and its adaptations transfigured by Lacan. Braunstein examines the relationship of Spanish to German by contextualizing various translation efforts. Historicizing psychoanalysis and articulating how it has come to be understood and practiced, the author examines the effect of its multilingual transformations. Finally, Braunstein tackles the complicated problem of how the terms of psychoanalytic theory can and should be translated, while at the same time being untranslatable.

In the second entry in this section, titled In Translation/Transduction Daniel Koren writes a compelling text on critical issues regarding translation. With reference to a number of key authors including Jacques Lacan, Antoine Bergman, and Walter Benjamin, the paper extends to a realm that goes beyond intrasemiotic/intersemiotic and intralinguistic/interlinguistic questions. In this fascinating essay, Koren delves into the essential question of what is at stake in the “agent,” that is, the translator as subject. In doing so, Koren opens us up to critical points concerning the translator determined by both a desire and an ethic. In the last part of the article, Koren takes up Serge Leclaire’s “dream of the unicorn” to further articulate the logic of translation in the work of the latter as that of going to the limit of what can be signified.

In her evocative essay, The Translations of Psychoanalysis, Jimena Martí Haik goes to the source from which every psychoanalytic translation must start: the lack in the structure of language. Drawing heavily on the work of Néstor Braunstein, Martí Haik’s text is articulated around the relationship between jouissance and the limits of language, rightly pointing out how neither language nor any attempt at its translation should ignore its thresholds as a generative limit point.

In “Traduttore, Traditore”? On the Spanish Translations of Sigmund Freud´s Works, Roberto Neuburger addresses a series of linguistic and historical issues related to the various translations of Freud into Spanish. In doing so, Neuburger invites us to consider the particularities of these translation efforts, thus expanding on some of the themes addressed by other authors. Neuburger highlights the various ways in which Freud’s translation should be understood as a necessarily incomplete task, and in doing so, Neuburger points to a horizon of continual invention.

We round out the issue with two outstanding and substantial book review essays. The first is brought to us by EJP core editor Thomas Marchevsky who undertakes an assessment of Sergio Benvenuto’s newest book in English, Lacan, Kris, and the Psychoanalytic Legacy: The Brain Eater (Routledge, 2023). Clearly praising Benvenuto’s dialectical and iconoclastic style, Marchevsky finds much value in the work, but this deep appreciation does not keep him from detailing important critiques throughout. In the end, Marchevsky fashions a review on par with the object of study: radical, erudite, inventive.

Frequent EJP contributor Emma Lieber’s important review of John Forrester’s Freud and Psychoanalysis: Six Introductory Lectures (Polity Press, 2023) and David’s Kishik’s recent Self-Study: Notes on the Schizoid Condition (ICI Berlin Press, 2023) provides us with the final entry of this issue. In her usual style, Lieber uses the occasion of the review to share observations on larger developments in the field. Reading through the text several times, I was struck by its level of sophistication and audaciousness; elevating the book review essay to the level of a statement regarding a field caught in a series of profound transformations. 

By way of concluding, I am saddened to announce the departure from EJP of our Managing Editor, Stephen Mosblech, later this month. Stephen has functioned as a crucial pillar supporting the important work of EJP for over four years. His deep artistic and intellectual sensibilities have wound their way through every aspect of EJP and the current incarnation of the journal owes a great deal to Stephen’s thinking, creativity and generosity of spirit. His consistent and abiding attention to detail, process, and protocol, as well as his courage and humor have indelibly marked all details of this grand experiment called EJP, and for that I am deeply grateful. I will miss his humanity, his intellect and the many gifts he brought to bear during his long tenure with EJP, and we wish him the very best as he moves forward with his clinical practice, analytic formation and writing. 

Bio:

Fernando Castrillón, Psy.D., is a practicing personal and supervising psychoanalyst, faculty of the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (PINC), a licensed clinical psychologist, Professor Emeritus at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), and the founder of the Foundation of California Psychoanalysis (FCP). He is also the founding director of CIIS’ The Clinic Without Walls, an innovative psychotherapy clinic serving mostly poor and immigrant communities. Dr. Castrillón is the Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Psychoanalysis and a member of the Istituto Elvio Fachinelli ISAP (Institute of Advanced Studies in Psychoanalysis) based in Rome, Italy. He is the co-editor of two books and author of numerous articles in Spanish, German, Italian, Russian and English. Home page: www.drcastrillon.com. Phone: (510) 295-4711. [www.journal-psychoanalysis.eu]

Publication Date:

January 8, 2024

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European Journal of Psychoanalysis