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The Decision of Desire

2020
Author:

Silvia Lippi
Translated by Peter Skafish

The Decision of Desire

A unique rereading of Lacan’s theory of desire and its link to masochism, joy, mysticism, death, and feminine jouissance


An interpretive tour de force, The Decision of Desire engages works by surrealists such as André Breton, canonical writers like William Faulkner and James Joyce, and the philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Levinas, and Baruch Spinoza. It is a bold reengagement with the legacy of the notion of desire within psychoanalysis and the quandary of how to assume responsibility for desires.

Of all of Lacan’s reconceptualizations of Freudian psychoanalytic discourse, the most misunderstood are those concerning human beings’ relation to the unconscious play of desire and the neurosis stemming from their attachment to the phallic function. An interpretive tour de force that engages works by surrealists such as André Breton, canonical writers like William Faulkner and James Joyce, and the philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Levinas, and Baruch Spinoza, The Decision of Desire is groundbreaking in its proposal that each of us can seek out and reimagine our relation to the infinite aporias of desire and thereby detach from its destructive, repetitive forms in favor of joy and affirmation.



Providing insight to the lay reader of psychoanalytic theory as much as to practicing psychoanalysts, The Decision of Desire is a bold reengagement with the legacy of the notion of desire within psychoanalysis and the quandary of how to assume responsibility for desires. For if desire is always already that of the Other and the unconscious, and also a decision that escapes our consciousness of ourselves, how can we assume an ethical relation to it that avoids the vicious circle of disappointment, neurosis, and destruction? Such is the decision of desire attempted within Silvia Lippi’s profound development of a contemporary psychoanalytic thought.


The Decision of Desire

Silvia Lippi is a practicing psychoanalyst with a background in philosophy. She is a researcher affiliated with the University of Paris VII as well as the Institute of Applied Psychoanalytic Research in Milan (IRPA). Her most recent book is Rythme et mélancolie, on the relation of rhythm and free jazz to mania and melancholy. The Decision of Desire won the prestigious Prix d’Oedipe in France for new works in psychoanalytic theory.



Peter Skafish is director of the Institute of Speculative and Critical Inquiry and has held teaching and research positions at the Collège de France, the University of California, Berkeley, and McGill University.


The Decision of Desire

Contents


Preface to the American Edition


Preface


Acknowledgments


Introduction: Desire—Between Alterity and Decision


I. Finite Desire, Infinite Desire


1. Desire, Squeezed between Signifiers


2. Desire, Perverse and Perverted


3. Gap, Distance, and Lack in Desire


II. The Painful Dialectic of the Object


4. The Object Slips Off, a Signifier Takes Its Place


5. That Singular Cause of Desire


6. “Oneself” as Object of Desire, and Love


III. Desire and Beyond Desire


7. Conatus and/or the Death Drive


8. The Laws of Desire


9. Enjoyment All and Not-all


Conclusion: From Double Alienation to Joy


Notes


Index

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About E-books

Available in March 2020