Essays on the Pleasures of Death: From Freud to Lacan
Routledge, Chapman & Hall, Incorporated, 1995 - 240 pages
In the world of psychoanalysis, 'Lacan's return to Freud' is a phrase that has been used to vindicate Jacques Lacan as, finally, a Freudian. InEssays on the Pleasure of Death, Ellie Ragland clarifies the differences between basic concepts in Freud and Lacan and discusses the interconnectedness of both men's theories, while maintaining that crucial differences continue to exist. She argues that Lacan's 'return' gave coherence to concepts which Freud could never explain: psychosis, narcissism, the body and the death drive. Grounded in clinical experience, and drawing on Lacan's as-yet-untranslated seminars through 1981,Essays on the Pleasure of Deathdemonstrates to the reader the transformation and translation Freud has undergone, and places him as a psychoanalyst--not a philosopher--in both theory and practice. Ragland discusses the reworking of the death drive and the concept ofjouissance, and examines Lacanian theory regarding the body,meaning systems, and how they shape "the real." Ragland also presents the reader with the ethical implication of psychoanalysis--if an analyst knows the causes of suffering, how to alleviate it and how to help the analysandreconstitute desire, then the analyst is obligated to urge the breaking up of lethaljouissancein favor of desire. Ragland also explains how, for Lacan, words like 'sexuality' and 'gender' are inadequate to the task of mapping what is in play. Essays on the Pleasure of Deathwill be essential reading for those involved in psychoanalysis, as well as readers in English, comparative literature, film, philosophy and gender studies.