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Lacan’s Medievalism

2006
Author:

Erin Felicia Labbie

Lacan’s Medievalism

Reveals the important links between medieval studies and Jacques Lacan

Erin Felicia Labbie demonstrates how Lacan's theory of desire is bound to his reading of medieval texts. By analyzing the systematic adherence to dialectics and the idealization of the hard sciences, Lacan's Medievalism asserts that we must take into account the play of language and desire within the unconscious and literature in order to understand the way that we know things in the world.

A compelling book about the relevance of the French psychoanalyst/philosopher Jacques Lacan for the study of medieval literary and exegetical texts. Medieval and modern texts are already engaged in a dialogue about desire and the nature of the human, and this book has significant implications for that dialogue. As she demonstrates, Lacan made more or less good on his sometimes hyperbolic promises to deliver a deep historical exploration of the philosophical possibilities of psychoanalysis, and the concept of desire in particular, offers philosophy and literary studies important theoretical opportunities. It is a model that those interested in psychoanalysis and literature cannot afford to ignore.

Choice

One of the foundational premises of Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytical project was that the history of philosophy concealed the history of desire, and one of the goals of his work was to show how desire is central to philosophical thinking.

In Lacan’s Medievalism, Erin Felicia Labbie demonstrates how Lacan’s theory of desire is bound to his reading of medieval texts. She not only alters the relationship between psychoanalysis and medieval studies, but also illuminates the ways that premodern and postmodern epochs and ideologies share a concern with the subject, the unconscious, and language, thus challenging notions of strict epistemological cuts. Lacan’s psychoanalytic work contributes to the medieval debate about universals by revealing how the unconscious relates to the category of the real.

By analyzing the systematic adherence to dialectics and the idealization of the hard sciences, Lacan’s Medievalism asserts that we must take into account the play of language and desire within the unconscious and literature in order to understand the way that we know things in the world and the manner in which order is determined.

Lacan’s Medievalism

Erin Felicia Labbie is assistant professor of English at Bowling Green State University.

Lacan’s Medievalism

A compelling book about the relevance of the French psychoanalyst/philosopher Jacques Lacan for the study of medieval literary and exegetical texts. Medieval and modern texts are already engaged in a dialogue about desire and the nature of the human, and this book has significant implications for that dialogue. As she demonstrates, Lacan made more or less good on his sometimes hyperbolic promises to deliver a deep historical exploration of the philosophical possibilities of psychoanalysis, and the concept of desire in particular, offers philosophy and literary studies important theoretical opportunities. It is a model that those interested in psychoanalysis and literature cannot afford to ignore.

Choice

Lacan’s Medievalism

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: The Unconscious Is Real

ONE Singularity,Sovereignty,and the One
TWO Duality,Ambivalence,and the Animality of Desire
THREE Dialectics,Courtly Love,and the Trinity
FOUR The Quadrangle,the Hard Sciences,and Nonclassical Thinking
FIVE The Pentangle and the Resistant Knot

Notes

Index