Når psykiateren har brug for en psykiater. Om Jacques Lacans 'Spejllæsning' af James Joyce
WHEN THE PSYCHIATRIST NEEDS A PSYCHIATRIST. ON JACQUES LACAN’S ‘MIRROR READING’ OF JAMES JOYCE
In continuation of Jung, the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan advances the view (especially in the seminar from 1975-76 entitled ‘Le sinthome’) that Joyce’s writing is a particular individual symptom of Joyce’s latently psychotic mind, which the author uses in his own quasi-psychotic art that, reversely, secured him against an actual outbreak. In this reading of Joyce, Lacan is guilty of what I label a mirror-reading: On the one hand he unconsciously (being spellbound by the allurement of identification) iterates motifs and gesticulations of Joyce’s own text, whereby a hermeneutical intervention does not come off (he does not add anything to the text); on the other hand he grossly misreads Joyce’s biography
and work from an unformulated projection of his own life story, whereby a hermeneutical intervention, moreover, does not come off, since the text remains untouched (it does not add anything to him). The synthesis of text and reader does not occur, and Lacan’s erroneous misreading is striking, yet highly interesting as a symptom of the madness of the interpreter himself that lies dormant ready at any moment to break out in any interpretative situation as such. Lacan remains caught up in his own symptom, whose name rightfully is given and must be understood as ‘Joyce’ – or more generally put: The interpretation of a text always contains the danger that the interpreter unceasingly – and without knowing it – stages his own mad (self-contradictory) symptom. A symptom I have chosen to call the mirror-reading.
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