7AAFM068 French Psychoanalytic Theory after 1945
Prof Patrick ffrench/Dr Johanna Malt/Dr Karen Pratt
Teaching: one two-hour seminar per week
Value: 20 credits
Assessment: one 5,000 word essay
This course aims to introduce students to some of the most important ideas in post-WWII French psychoanalytic theory. It will begin with a key work by Jacques Lacan that focuses on ‘woman’ (Encore) and then on two books that can be seen as feminist responses to Lacanian psychoanalysis: Julia Kristeva’s account of subject-formation and the psychic and social processes of abjection Pouvoirs de l'horreur (Powers of Horror); and Luce Irigaray's feminist critique, in Ce sexe qui n'en est pas un (This Sex which is Not One) of previous psychoanalytic constructions of sexual difference. Although students will be required to read widely beyond these three texts, the challenging nature of the material means that much of the teaching will be devoted to close reading. All the texts bear a close relation to the texts and concepts of Freud which they inherit; intertextual comparison will thus be fruitful. Students taking this unit as part of the French MA will be expected to read the primary texts in French; students from other MA programmes may read them in translation.
By the end of the course students will be able to handle some of the key theoretical notions of post WWII French psychoanalysis, notably: the imaginary, the symbolic and the real; the signifying chain; jouissance; the phallus; the Other; sexual difference, abjection, the semiotic and primary narcissism. Students will be able to place the work of Lacan, Kristeva and Irigaray in a historical context and will have considered applications of their work to literary and cultural material.
Students intending to choose this option should read the material by Freud on the bibliography in advance, as well as the primary texts.
Texts will be studied in the following order:
Jaques Lacan, Encore: le Séminaire XX (Paris: Seuil, 1975)
Jacques Lacan, Encore: The Seminar XX, trans. B Fink (New York: Norton, 1998)
Julia Kristeva, Pouvoirs de l’horreur (Paris: Seuil, 1980)
Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (New York: Columbia UP, 1982)
Luce Irigaray, Ce Sexe qui n’en est pas un (Paris: Minuit, 1977)
Luce Irigaray, This Sex Which is Not One (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1985)
Please download the full course bibliography.