Sergio Benvenuto is a researcher in psychology and philosophy at the National Research Council (CNR) in Italy, and a contributor to cultural journals such as Differentia (New York), aut aut (Milan), Lettre Internationale (French, German, Spanish, Hungarian and Italian editions), Transeuropéennes (Paris), Zona Erogena (Buenos Aires). He translated into Italian Jacques Lacan’s Sémin…

From the Myth to Agape

Back in the late 1960s and 70s, in the heyday of the Lacanian Marxism, a lot of Lacan's French followers were attracted by his anti-Americanism, discernible especially in Lacan's dismissal of the ego-psychological turn of psychoanalysis as the ideological expression of the "American way of life." Although these (mostly young Maoist) followers perceived Lacan's anti-Americanism as the sign of Lacan's "anticapitalism," it is more appropriate to discern in it the traces of one of the standard conservative motifs: in today's bourgeois, commercialized, "Americanized," society, the authentic tragedy is no longer possible, which is why great conservative writers like Claudel tried to resuscitate the notion of tragedy in order to return dignity to human existence... It is precisely here, when Lacan endeavors to speak in favor of the last vestiges of old authenticity barely discernible in today's superficial universe, that his words sound as (and are) a heap of ideological platitudes. However, although Lacan's anti-Americanism stands for what is most "false" and ideological in his work, there is nonetheless a "rational kernel" in this ideological motif: the advent of modernism effectively undermines the traditional notion of tragedy and the concomitant notion of the mythical Fate which runs human destiny.

Slavoj Zizek
Therapy in Psychoanalysis

If psychoanalysis is not simply a psychotherapy, what significance can be attributed to the signifiers therapy and cure in the context of the analytic discourse? The Author, after having stated that an analysis is always an inextricable interweaving of therapy and subjective formation, extrapolates and re-proposes some reasons for which psychoanalysis ought to be considered a different practice with respect to psychotherapeutic practices: they are different with respect to aim and objective; they are incompatible with respect to the question of knowledge; and they have different positions with respect to subjectivity. The analytic cure, in fact, is a practice which implies a particular ethics, which Freud brought out by exploring the logic of the unconscious.

Sergio Contardi
Psychoanalysis has Completed the Time of its Life

The title of this article could appear to imply the liquidation of psychoanalysis as a model of the mind and as clinical practice. On the contrary, the author actually advances a perspective according to which, following "psychagogy" - that is, the magical practice for summoning the dead, those who have literally "outrun the time of their life", for the purposes of divination - might help psychoanalysts to fulfil the time of the death of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis survives itself, despite the thousands of limits and restrictions increasingly imposed on it by epistemology, anthropology, sociology, biology, and customs, in the course of the tumultuous development of the past century. "Evoking" psychoanalysis implies rewriting the history of its long agony, crushed by the colonizing hegemony of heteronomous disciplines, and at the same time recovering those germs of complex, historicist, relational and relativistic thought, which Freud as well as many of his followers had so often announced, without providing them a real acceptance within their own constructions or a real "listening" on behalf of the psychoanalytical movement. Genesis is one of those fundamental concepts around which the "psychoanalytic door" might hinge so that on the one side it makes psychoanalysis undergo the time of its death, recognizing itself as a cultural and institutional fossil, and on the other it opens a space adequate to its germinal, embryonic elements. Psychoanalysis has, at its roots, worked through the concept of genesis in the sense of the originary, and especially of that "once familiar" subsequently rendered "unfamiliar" (repressed); but psychoanalysis has left virtually in the dark the other, semantic aspect which regards the generative, the becoming, the might-be, the creative, the actually and inflexibly unknown. All that which refers to this "in progress" (and not process) remains easily caged and suffocated by what Bion called the "Satanic jargon" of psychoanalysis. The article makes ample reference to Bion, beginning with his pitiless attack on "Bionese" to move towards his definition of a pattern of psychoanalysis which is isomorphic to the neotenic condition of man - as the only embryonic animal developing its own morphogenesis and forming its own formation, with no predetermined aim, in an indefinable and constitutive cognitive opening.

Diego Napolitani
Eyes Wide Shut. Is Psychoanalysis in Touch with the Real? Scientific Ideals, Hermeneutics and the Relation to the Real in Psychoanalytic Practice (1)

This paper deals mainly with the scientific and philosophical plausibility of psychoanalytic theory and practice. The Author carefully analyzes - and ultimately rejects - the four most common "answers" usually given by theoretical analysts to the question of the "foundations" of psychoanalysis: 1) the Cartesian solution--according to which psychoanalysis is based on the Cartesian subject as the subject of certainty; 2) the historic-narrative solution - according to which psychoanalysis is not a positive science but a method of historic reconstruction; 3) the scientist solution - according to which psychoanalysis is an empirically verifiable and verified science; 4) the hermeneutic solution - according to which psychoanalysis is an hermeneutic activity. He analyzes especially the influence of Wittgenstein's Private Language Argument, Popper's and Grünbaum's criticisms to psychoanalysis, the Lacanian reprisal of Cartesian subjectivity, and the hermeneutic dismissal of analytic interpretations (mainly through two French papers, by Jacques-Alain Miller and Jean Laplanche).

Sergio Benvenuto
Linguistics and Psychoanalysis

Conversation of Ferenc Erõs and Judit Szilasi with Iván Fõnagy (1)

Ferenc Erõs and Judit Szilasi with Iván Fõnagy
Analysis is the Key (1)

Conversation by Judit Szilasi with Béla Grünberger

Judit Szilasi and Béla Grünberger
Bodies in Transition. The Unbearable Lightness of the Traditionless Self

Márta Csabai and Ferenc Erõs (1)

Márta Csabai and Ferenc Erõs
NOVAmente (1) Psychoanalysis

The statement that psychoanalysis is a destabilizing force amidst the mass of repression maintained by culture might be no more than the expression of an ambition-the ambition of its creator, Sigmund Freud, when he described it as a "pest", on the occasion of his trip to the United States. It has become more than ever necessary to attempt to reveal that force.

Maria Luiza Furtado Kahl
The Functions of the Preliminary Interviews

Among Freud's papers on technique there is one entitled "On beginning the treatment" where he mentions his habit of taking on the patient "at first provisionally, for a period of one or two weeks", which he calls "preliminary experiment" or "trial period". His reason for employing this "experimental treatment" is the following: "If one breaks off within this period one spares the patient the distressing impression of an attempted cure having failed". He does not explain why the treatment could fail; however, as we shall see further on, the treatment's continuation depends on transference.

Antonio Quinet
A Grave for W.B.

"Once assured of the final disaster then and only then everything went well for him as in a dream." Walter Benjamin

Heather Dohollau
Sharon Kivland. A Case of Hysteria (London: Book Works, 1999)

A hundred years on and at least as many academic and clinical papers later, the story of Sigmund Freud's recalcitrant hysteric Dora continues to fascinate us. We can easily recite all the salacious details of the case, invoke the sacrifice of a daughter's innocence for the sake of the pleasures of a diseased father, reflect upon the daughter's own polymorphous desires. We remember the duel of wills between Freud and his patient and the masterful ways in which Freud extracts a series of great psychoanalytic insights from the gaps of an incomplete narrative. Faced with yet another work making claim to such a familiar terrain, our first questions as readers may well be "why Dora again? why Dora now?" But this one reader, even before she reached the end of Sharon Kivland's astonishing work, came to the conclusion that such questions are actually quite beside the point.

Julia Borossa
The Klein-Lacan Dialogues edited by Bernard Burgoyne & Mary Sullivan (London: Rebus Press, 1997)

The psychoanalytic landscape in the British Isles is inevitably diffuse, a fragmented corpus indeed, somewhat confused and contested. Nevertheless psychoanalysis is sustainable as an insistent cultural term of reference as one of the languages that inform our psychological and social discourse. Increasingly and damagingly congealing into institutionally fractious concerns, manifestly underpinned by the puerile entanglement with respectability and legitimization, it is always a delight when certain initiatives occur outside the inhibiting boundaries and disputations, so often over to whom does psychoanalysis belong. In London since 1988 the Higher Education Network for Research and Information in Psychoanalysis (THERIP) has established a series of Saturday morning lectures and debates concerning psychoanalysis. These are uncontaminated by proprietal and regulatory claims, and this book commemorates a particular set of these talks which took place during the winter of 1994-95.

Chris Oakley
REVIEW Charles Shepherdson: Vital Signs

(Routledge, 2000)

Janet Thormann
European Journal of Psychoanalysis