*—towards a reading of Lacan’s ‘The Mirror Stage’. … PART I (then).—on the infant, the mirror, and the nature of the image in ‘the mirror stage’. (pp. 75-76)

– LACAN & (THE QUESTION OF) THE “REAL” –
*(—a reading group).

I—Introduction to a new reading group on the work of Jacques Lacan & the question of the ‘real’

II—By way of a sort of an introduction to Lacan himself. … *brief notes, … —from a lecture on Lacan

III—Introduction to a reading of ‘The Mirror Stage’

 

*—towards a reading of Lacan’s ‘The Mirror Stage’. …

PART I (then).—on the infant, the mirror, and the nature of the image in ‘the mirror stage’.
(pp. 75-76)

specular Jacques (ii)

 

*Straight to the ol’ nub, then, ‘ey—? (—why ever not?). …

 

*the ‘mirror stage’: …

 

*(75). … —

the human child at an age when he is for a short while, but for a while nonetheless, outdone by the chimpanzee in instrumental intelligence, can already *recognise his own *image *|as such| in a mirror.

*[N.B. … —I’m going to indicate my own emphases in the quotations here in bold,… —first in order to highlight what I believe to be the key terms which need to be unpacked and understood, and, second, to help distinguish them from the author’s own emphases. … ].

 

*—the ‘mirror stage’, then, is pitched here, at the outset of the essay, as an act of, or perhaps, rather a—capacity for, recognition in the subject,—in both the senses of that word (at least as it translates into English here): …

(i) —as an identification (—understood particularly as: recollectionrecall, or remembrance): … —the action, or the process, then, of recognising or being recognised. In particular,… —identification of a thing or person from previous encounters or knowledge.

(ii) —in the sense of acknowledgement or acceptance (—admission, and (/or) concession). … (that is)—acknowledging (—the acknowledgement of) a thing’s existence,… —validity, and (/or) legality.

 

*… The subject’s capacity *(and I’m intentionally dropping the gender bias in-of the source text here), that is, then, to recognise: *—to identify with, and to admit the validity of, the image in-of the mirror’s-mirrored surface… —the image of themselves,—as exactly that.

 

 

… *—It’s interesting that Lacan takes the time at the outset to distinguish what is happening in ‘the mirror stage’ from (what I’ll call here) animal intelligence,… ranking it alongside, or perhaps even here above ‘instrumental intelligence’ (in which, nonetheless, the human is outstripped—at least by the chimpanzee—anyway… ). …

 

—Whatever ‘the mirror stage’ represents, then, it’s not concerned with a… tactile (so to)… —a practical (or utilitarian) engagement with the external world of things,…

 

—the ‘intelligence’ that it points to is concerned with something quite other, and—apparently—more significant (… —of more moment… —?).

 

(ibid.).

This recognition is indicated by the illuminative mimicry of the Aha-Erlebnis, which Köhler considers to express situational apperception, an essential moment in the act of intelligence.

*(i).— Aha-Erlebnis: … —an “Aha” experience *(… —the ol’ “Eureeka” in the bath tub, so to speak. … (hmm) ). … —a suddeninsight. *—the… elements [sic] of a task or problem suddenly, then,—“come together”. …

… *—a moment (—an ‘essential moment’) of sudden insight, which leads to a significant change in (the subject’s) mental organisation. …

(ii).— ‘situational apperception’: —(the) awareness of one’s position in the physical world, and ability to imagine that position relative to (other) physical objects. …

 

*… —the recognition: identification with, and acceptance of, the image, in-of ‘the mirror stage’ represents a moment of sudden insight (—of a revelation, or an epiphany (so to) )—“Aha!” … —fundamentally altering the subject’s (previous) mental organisation, allowing the subject (—for the first time …—?) to *become aware of their position in(-within) the physical world, in direct contrast and relation to the multitude of (other) discrete physical objects around them…

*—the realisation, then, (so to) of—discretion. …

(—the first moment of the… fixing (-in-place) of discrete things… *—and of (the sense-awareness of) a discrete “I”, —in relation to one another. …).

(—?).

 

… —which underpins the ‘act’ (—singular… —? … —an event which triggers-acts as a foundation of all that is to follow… —?) of intelligence itself. …

 

*(—in what sense though (an)—‘illuminative mimicry’… —?

 

(hmm)

… not sure…

 

—an illumination which mimics (—which mimics the ‘Aha Erlebnis’) (hmm…), or,… —a mimicry which illuminates,  …—?

 

—the ‘mimicry’ in-of the image-reflection.

 

*—a new/burgeoning awareness (—illumination) that the image(-reflection) will mimic, and that that which it mimics will have been the body

*(—the body, then, as having—through its being mimicked in the mirror (—image)—become discrete… or (rather)—realised as having (always already—to ‘alf-inch an over-used phrase from Derrida) been discrete. …

 

—? … ).

 

*The act of intelligence. …

 

*—(ibid.).

this act, far from exhausting itself, as in the case of a monkey, in eventually acquired control over the uselessness of the image, immediately gives rise in a child to a series of gestures in which he playfully experiences the relationship between the movements made in the image and the reflected environment, and between this *virtual complex and the *reality it duplicates—namely, the child’s own body, and the persons and even things around him.

 

whereas, for ol’ Jacques,—for or in (—at the level of) animal intelligence, the moment of recognition (—of identification of the image with the body)/‘the act of intelligence’ is exhausted in-through the uselessness of the image (—its lack of practical utility) and a resultant indifference to the image which allows for ‘control’—a mastery—over it (in its futility-superfluity), in ‘the child’ it (instead) gives rise to *play… —activity severed from (or, rather, never truly connected to) practical utility, survival, or labour…

 

*—a… joy in-at (—enjoyment of) the relationship between the movements of the body and/or surrounding environment (—‘things’ and ‘persons’) *—of reality,… and its/their… replication (—instantaneous echoing-replaying) in-within the ‘virtual complex’ of-in the image *(—‘virtual’ in the sense of: near— not completely corresponding to, yet in proximity(-approximate)… —an approximate recreation-facsimile of ‘reality’-the real. …). …

 

Lacan goes on to describe this (importantly, I think) as an *‘event’.

 

 

*(76.).—

[the child] overcomes, in a flutter of jubilant activity, the constraints of his prop in order to adopt a slightly leaning-forward position and take in an *instantaneous view of the image in order to fix it in his mind.

 

*—‘prop’: an adult (parent/guardian/carer), or walker/carrier.

 

 

*—the infant’s… play and joy (—‘jubilant activity’) in response to its recognition (identification with and acceptance) of the image as its image—the image of it—and of the reality that surrounds it, represents an overcoming—a sort of struggling free of-from the constraints of (—imposed by) the ‘prop’—the adult/carrier—in order to *take in and to *fix the image, in its mind. …

 

*the ‘mirror stage’ is a—‘moment’,… —an instant, an ‘event’,… a ‘complex’, … and the movements, play, and struggle for freedom (or perhaps, rather,—independence) of the infant, stem from a desire to *hold and to *incorporate that ‘moment’, and the image itself.

 

 

—developing the earlier notion of ‘recognition’, Lacan calls the ‘mirror stage’ an ‘identification’:

the transformation that takes place in the subject when he *assumes [assume] an image—an image that is seemingly predestined to have an effect at this phase, as witnessed by the use in analytic theory of antiquity’s term “imago”. (ibid.).

 

—not only, then, does a recognition take place in (within) the ‘mirror stage’ of the image as the image of the subject (—the subject’s body),…

 

—this recognition is followed by (or, perhaps, coupled to) an assumption of the image by the subject, and this assumption itself represents a transformation of-within the subject.

 

 

*(that is)… —the subject appropriates the image (or, at least, attempts to) to itself. …

 

—not only does the subject recognise the image as the image of its (their) body, but they (attempt to) identify totally with the image *(—a transformation in-of self-regard, then). …

 

Hence, I think, Lacan’s appeal to the theoretical term ‘imago’ (which he takes-borrows most obviously from Freud): *—an unconscious, idealised mental image,… and to the ‘effect’ that it’s (apparently) ‘predestined’ to have at the ‘phase’ of the mirror stage…

 

*—the effect of the attempted assumption of the image …

 

*—‘The jubilant assumption [assumption] of his specular image.’ … (—ibid.).

 

*‘specular’: … —relating to, or having the properties of, a mirror. …

(shameful as it well may be (and it most probably is… ), —I’m drawing in the main here on the definition offered in the Wikipedia article: ‘Specular Reflection’ [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specular_reflection]: … )

*… —Specular reflection: first discovered by Hero of Alexandria (A.D. c.10–70). …

*—the mirror-like reflection of light from a surface, in which light from a *single incoming direction (—a ray) is reflected into a *single outgoing direction.  …

(—apparently this also applies to other kinds of wave, but we’re concerned with light here, so: onward … ).

—Such behaviour is described by the law of reflection, which states that the direction of incoming light *(—the ‘incident ray’), and the direction of outgoing light reflected *(—the ‘reflected ray’) make the same angle with respect to the surface ‘normal’:

specular image

… —thus the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection (—θi = θr in the diagram… ), and the incident, normal, and reflected directions lie in the same plane (—a flat surface which extends without end in all directions): are coplanar.

*—Specular reflection is distinct, then, from ‘diffuse reflection’, in which incoming light is reflected in a broad range of directions. …

 

 

*… —So then,…

 

—The subject’s *specular image (—the image in-of the mirror-surface) is marked by its simplicity and singularity (so to). …

 

*—the angle of reflection is clean, simple, and ‘normal’ and the image itself is simple and, focussed, and unified… —reflected cleanly and simply,—straight back to the subject. …

 

And it is this simple, unified (—apparently self-identical) image that the subject thus attempts to assume.

 

 

(ibid.).

The mirror stage

manifest[s] in an exemplary situation the *symbolic matrix in which the I is precipitated in a primordial form prior to being objectified in the dialectic of identification with the other, and before language restores to it, in the universal, its function as subject.

 

I want to come back to a reading of Lacan’s use (—ironic abuse?) of the ‘dialectic’, but… let me borrow a crude reading of the terms-stages  of the ol’ Hegelian dialectic, to suggest a reading of what I think is happening (or is being described-alluded to) here. …

 

*—THESIS – ANTITHESIS – SYNTHESIS.

… —the in-itself, the for-itself, and the in-and-for-itself.

 

 

*—The mirror stage represents the birth of the “I” (in its most ‘primordial’ form) in and from language (—the ‘symbolic matrix’): the inscription, so to (and, subsequently, the saying) of the letter-word (—the name-self-naming): “I” … —recognition (identification with, and acceptance) of the image—the image of the body as discrete,—amongst other discrete things and persons. …

 

Let’s call the “I” here,—the ‘in-itself’ (or THESIS—first moment-mode of the dialectic), then. …

 

—The subject becomes (a) ‘for-itself’ (—ANTITHESIS) in-through becoming—recognising its status as—an object for another subject (—for the ‘other’ … ), as the other becomes (at the same time), through identification with it, itself a (another) subject (—another I that says “I”) for the thus objectified subject. …

 

*—the subject sees itself as an I that says “I” in relation to another I-other Is, and thus sees itself as an object (—become an object for itself). …

 

The subject then has its subjectivity restored to it (having thus become object for-itself), in the universal (—as subject for another subject-other subjects), and becomes (an) ‘in-and-for-itself’ by synthesising (SYNTHESIS) this objectivity-for-another(-the other) and other-as-subject, with the original-primordial in-itself of the “I”. …

 

—becomes both subject and object.

 

—?

(—I hope that that all makes sense. … —is that right… —?).

 

 

*—To recapitulate… —the mirror stage, then, represents the birth of (the) “I” in-from the inscription (so to) (and, subsequently, the saying) of the letter-word (—the name-self-naming): “I” …

 

*—the recognition (—the, attempted, identification with, and acceptance) of the image—the image of the body as discrete,—amongst other discrete things and persons. …

 

—this is the “I” in its most ‘primordial’ form: as—unconscious, idealised mental image. …

 

*—(—ibid.). ‘This form would, moreover, have to be called *the ideal I’. …

 

*(—I want to come back to this notion-idea of the ‘ideal’ shortly here, and what I think it means. … ).

 

 

Lacan goes on to expand upon his claim to the priority of the “I” to social determination, and, for the first time in the essay, brings in the term with the most readily identifiably Freudian origins-roots: … —the ‘ego’. …

 

(ibid.).—

this form situates *|the *agency known as the ego|, prior to its social determination, in a *|fictional| direction that will forever remain irreducible for any single individual or, rather, that will only asymptomatically approach the subject’s becoming, no matter how successful the dialectical syntheses by which he |*must *resolve|, as I, his *discordance with his own *reality.

 

*the “I” exists (—is formed), for Lacan,—prior, then, to any social or intersubjective relations: … *—is a product of language (—the ‘symbolic matrix’), but is not originally determined by particular social situations-interactions. …

 

As I understand it (at least), the ‘primordial form’ of the “I” is not uncomplicatedly identified with the agency that will become known as the ‘ego’ here. …

 

—It acts to place or to ‘situate’ the ego in the sense that the “I” is what Lacan calls the ‘root-stock’ of all the identifications which will come after—be ‘secondary’ to—it. *(—see 76).

 

*—The ‘direction’ in which the ‘ego’ is thus placed, however, is *—‘fictional’.

 

 

—the revelation and recognition of (—validation of (so to), and identification with) the image in-of ‘the mirror stage’, then, are not… concerned with, or (even) oriented toward (the) truth. …

 

*the image—as unconscious, idealised mental image—is not a true image (—is not an image that reveals truth), and the (name-naming of the) “I” (—as ‘ideal’) contains nothing of truth of or for the subject (so to speak). …

 

—The image directs the subject toward a fiction (… —?),… —orients in a ‘direction’ (—a trajectory, of sorts) that is itself, then, fictional-a fiction.

 

*—neither the image nor the “I” are oriented toward, nor can they be reduced to the truth in the course of the development of the subject, no matter how successful the subject’s movement through the ‘secondary’ associations and social-intersubjective dialectical relationships are

*(—see the attempted description of the dialectic pointed to here,—above. … ), …
*—I want to come back to the notion of a *(—fundamental) discord between the subject and their ‘reality’, floated here, later, but note that such a resolution of discord is mooted here, by ol’ Jacques as a sort of ethical imperative (—‘must’). … ).

 

* … —rather than the image or the “I” being (attaining, or pertaining to truth), then, it is the structure (—the shape) of ‘the mirror stage’ itself which is ‘true’(-the truth). …

 

 

*—the ‘fiction’ here takes the form both the image—the image of the body—itself, and that of the subject’s comprehension (—recognition) of it and relationship to it. …

(ibid.). …

the *|total form| of his body, by which the subject anticipates the maturation of his power in a *|mirage|, is given to him only as a *gestalt, that is, in an *exteriority in which, to be sure, this form is more *constitutive than constituted, but in which, above all, it *|appears to| him as |the *contour of his stature| that *freezes it and in a symmetry that reverses it, in opposition to the *|turbulent movements| with which the subject feels he *animates it.

 

*The specular image in the mirror—the unconscious, idealised ‘imago’—presents the subject’s body to them as a ‘gestalt’: an organized whole that is perceived to be more than the mere sum of its parts…

 

—what it presents, then, is the ‘total form’ of the body—as unified, and as self-identical.

 

 

—The subject identifies with this ‘gestalt’ ‘total form’ (‘imago’)—as the ‘contour’ of their ‘stature’. …

 

*—That is (as I understand Lacan here),—the subject attempts to appropriate the ‘total’ unity of the image of their body (—to extend the reach of the unity and stasis of the shape of the image) to their psychic life,… and it is this attempted appropriation (—identification) that constitutes the “I”.

 

 

*—The image, however—precisely as gestalt, idealised and ideal… —is a fiction: a ‘mirage’.

 

 

—The fiction of the ‘total form’ (of the body) with which the subject identifies is constituted in and by ‘mirror stage’, rather than itself constituting (or engendering) the ‘mirror stage’.

 

—The ‘total form’ in-of the image does not exist prior to its constitution in (within) the mirror stage. …

 

What is constituted-created here, then, is an anticipation in-within the subject of its eventual coincidence (—co-incidence, so to) with the ‘total form’ in-of the image of the body—as an image of its potential(-possible) ‘power’.

 

* … —the ‘power’, that is (—I’d argue) to be able to ‘freeze’—to fix or to hold itself (so to), as the apparent ‘total’ or ‘gestalt’ ‘form’ in-of the image of the body is held-fixed—against the ‘turbulent movements’—what I’ll refer to-call here the *flux—of its actual psychic, physical, and temporal experience.

 

 

*—In ‘the mirror stage’, then, the body is falsely recognised (validated as, and identified with) as a fixed, static, unified ‘totality’…

 

—this image is a fiction, or ‘mirage’. …

 

—Importantly, I’d argue, Lacan plays again here on both the possible meanings of that term.

*[—I probably should acknowledge and emphasise that, as was the case with the term ‘recognition’ (above),  I’m relying on the use of the term in the English translation here, but, certainly in the case of ‘mirage’, I think this reading holds for the original French term. … ].

 

*‘mirage’:

(i).— an optical illusion,… —a… vision,… hallucination,… phantasmagoria, apparition, fantasy, chimera, or trick. These are often caused by atmospheric conditions… for example especially the popular (clichéd?) example of the appearance of a sheet of water in a desert or on a hot road caused by the refraction of light from the sky by heated air.

And/Or, … (ii).— an unrealistic hope or wish that cannot be achieved.

 

*—The ‘total form’ of the image of the body in the mirror, then, is a fiction and a mirage: an illusion (or,—trick of the light (so to) ), the desire for identity with which is spurred, then, (I’d argue) by a desire,… —a need,… —an unrealistic and (ultimately-finally) unrealisable hope,—for fixity. …

 

*… —The mirror stage represents an attempt to wrest (the fiction of a) fixity-stasis (—peace and security) from the chaos of an underlying (—pre-linguistic and (therefore) pre-egoistic) flux.

 

 

*—And this, I think, is why Lacan is able to talk about the ‘mirror stage’ *(—see 76.) as revealing both ‘libidinal dynamism’ *(that is,—*a movement of desire (so to) toward something: —in this instance toward a static, unified image of the self,… —toward an image of the self as discrete and independent… —a recognition of the discretion of things, and persons in-of the world. …),

 

… —and—and at the same time—as revealing an ‘ontological structure’ in-of the human world’.

 

 

*This ‘structure’, it seems to me, is essential to ‘The Mirror Stage’ essay, and seems, in fact, to be essential (in a grounding and/or a recurring way) in-to Lacan’s wider work-thought, so I want to move on now, by way of a sort of an aside (I s’pose), to consider the nature of the ‘ontological structure’ at stake in (or—revealed by) the mirror stage in more detail:

 

*… —to look at, and to try to define, the nature of the pre-linguistic and pre-egoistic flux; the nature of, and relationship between the ‘illusion’-mirage and the ‘ideal’, and what, finally (if anything) may be said to precede the mirror stage and to prompt it. …

 

… —Over on(-in) the main thread of this blog: *—The fold of the Artist, which I’m adapting from material from my doctoral thesis on artistic inspiration and the figure of the artist in the works of James Joyce and Friedrich Nietzsche *(—in a pretentious and foolhardy attempt to develop my own theory of art), I’ve already posted some work-material looking at some of these questions. …

 

—I’ve done some (—preliminary, and really, honestly, quite crude, partial, and… dilettantish) work on subjectivity, the emergence of the ego (= “I”) from language and an underlying pre-linguistic flux, in relation to Nietzsche’s early writing, and especially The Birth of Tragedy and the ‘On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense’ essay. …

 

—I’ve compared Nietzsche’s treatment of these questions in particular to the philosophy of Henri Bergson. …

 

 

*—As I mentioned in my introduction to the reading group, I’ve only taught on Lacan,… —I’ve never actually engaged, in-depth, with his work in my own studies – thesis.

 

Nevertheless,—… for a while, I’ve had a… sense (sic) that Lacan *(and, in this instance, his account of the mirror stage) actually frames the problems, philosophical questions, ideas and concepts I found myself drawn to and working on in Nietzsche and Bergson (as a way of framing my reading of the aesthetic theory in Joyce’s early fiction, and Modernist aesthetics and poetics more widely … ) more clearly and in-with more depth, and that (therefore) the work I’ve already done might help frame the way I want to read ‘The Mirror Stage’ (—the mirror stage) here.

 

 

So,…

I want to crave you indulgence fellow reading group readers, while I draw on some of the ideas I’ve already worked on (elsewhere) and some of the material I’ve already produced—in the next post…

 

*… —I’ve been (ridiculously slowly and gingerly) working my way back through, amending and (hopefully) developing my work on and reading of Modernist poetics and aesthetics over on the main thread, but I also, in what follows next here, want to jump slightly ahead of myself, and—in laying out my reading of the origins and structure of the mirror stage—to draw on a key idea from the work of the Modernist critic, poet, and aesthete T.E. Hulme,… —an idea which he himself adopts(-appropriates) from the work of Wilhelm Worringer: …

 

*—‘space fear’.

 

 

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– LACAN & (THE QUESTION OF) THE “REAL” – a reading group.—an introduction to a reading of ‘The Mirror Stage’ …

– LACAN & (THE QUESTION OF) THE “REAL” –
*(—a reading group).

I—Introduction to a new reading group on the work of Jacques Lacan & the question of the ‘real’

II— By way of a sort of an introduction to Lacan himself. … *brief notes, … —from a lecture on Lacan.

 

Ecrits - The First Complete Edition in English (cover art).

I. – *notes on Lacan’s ‘The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience’. …
*(in-from: Jacques Lacan, Écrits, trans. Bruce Fink [London: W.W. Norton & Company, Ltd., 2006], *—pp. 75-81. …).

between transcription and expansion (—notes).

 

*In all honesty, in reading ‘The Mirror Stage’, I’m interested, in particular, in two things. …

 

(i).Firstly, I’m interested in (-by) the account of the process of the formation of, what Lacan dubs here, the ‘I function’,… that is—the ego (=“I”)…

 

… —in how and why, that is, the ego (=“I”) is formed according to Lacan’s account, and in beginning to… tease out (so to) the consequences for an understanding of his view-conception of subjectivity… —the origin, nature, status, and limits of the ego,… —of the I that says “I”. …

 

 

and, (ii).

 

… For a while now… —especially since reading up on Nietzsche’s rejection of his one-time friend Paul Rée’s philosophical work (in-across two volumes: … —the aphorisms of Psychological Observations, and the later treatise The Origin of the Moral Sensations) claiming that the origins of morality—apparently altruistic-selfless—lay, in fact, in *vanity—in self-interest (… —a kind of a precursor, in a way, to the theory of the “Selfish Gene”, amongst others. …) during research for my doctoral thesis, as well as re-reading Freud, Lacan, and Derrida for teaching-lecturing…

 

—I’ve wanted to write something interrogating and critiquing the notion-concept-conception of what Lacan, following Freud, and Derrida following both, call-refer to-define as ‘narcissism’, and in particular what both Freud and Lacan following him both (perhaps in differing-contrasting ways(—?)) call ‘primary narcissism’.

 

 

It’s this conception of ‘narcissism’ that seems (-appears at least) to be at the heart of Lacan’s account of ‘the mirror stage’, and indeed, during the course of the essay, he refers ‘the mirror stage’ explicitly to ‘narcissism’, and more specifically to ‘primary narcissism’. …

 

So. … —

(hmm)

 

—Part (—the second part-portion) of what I want to do here is to examine the nature of ‘narcissism’ as it’s used by Lacan in ‘The Mirror Stage’, and, in particular, the nature or status of the ‘primary’. …

 

—Since it’s safe to say that Lacan takes (-develops) this term-concept directly from Freud, I want to… —go back (as it were) to the Freud.

 

In particular, I want to compare the ‘narcissism’ of ‘The Mirror Stage’ to Freud’s definition of the term in his essay ‘On Narcissism: An Introduction’ (—seems like the obvious thing to do, anyway, does it not?…), in order to contextualise the Lacan, and to set out my reading of ‘the mirror stage’, its relationship to ‘narcissism’ (—their relationship to one another) and Lacan’s account of the process of the formation of the ego (=“I”). …

 

 

  

*to the reader. … —

 

*—I’m going to work here from my notes,… —beginning by simply transcribing from my notebook—as the notes look-appear(—on the page… ), and expanding on them-qualifying them where it becomes clear that that’s necessary, concentrating on a close-reading the text,—if not line-by-line, then (at least) on a page-by-page basis… though I do want to play quite free and easy with the text, picking out and close reading particular quotes and passages, skipping over, but (sometimes) returning to quotes and passages where I feel they make sense of my reading/my reading seems to make sense of them.

 

—some of my notes-observations-attempts at reading are framed in the form of questions, which I’ve felt I’m not able to offer any real kind of answer for or to, and I’m going to leave them in that form here.

 

 

*—please do feel free especially to answer them.

 

 

—I hope that all seems like a reasonable course of action (at least to begin, and to be going on with). …

 

*as for the reading group, … —I hope that these posts-notes can act as a kind of a… cipher (so to), or a spur—to debate and discussion. …

 

*—As I said in my introduction to “The Real Reading Group” (so to),… —this is intended as an open forum–informal reading group, not looking for any previous background or experience with having studied or read Lacan (though such experience is welcome). …

 

So please do, then, to join in,… read the text,—feel free to leave comments (short or long,—few or (indeed) copious (if that’s felt necessary) ), and take issue with, qualify, and/or expand these notes-this reading *(—and do please also comment on presentation and/or writing style,—if you like the style and presentation, or if you feel they are a hindrance (as they may well be… ).

 

 

 *—First, then,… —for an attempt at a close reading of the nature-structure of ‘the mirror stage’ itself. …

 

 

*Lacan & the Question of the ‘real’ reading group: By way of a sort of an introduction to Lacan himself. … *brief notes, … —from a lecture on Lacan.

*(—follows on from *‘—notes of a dilettante attempting to read Lacan,… —an Introduction an Invitation to this Lacan & the question of the ‘real’ reading group thread. … ).

 

 

By way of a sort of an introduction to Lacan himself. …
*brief notes, …
—from a lecture on Lacan.

 

*—the following, then, is what’s left (over) from notes for lectures I gave on Lacan on the course on ‘Critical Theory’ I gave (taught) in the Drama Department at Queen Margaret University,—between 2008 and 2010. …

 

*… —the lectures were intended as a (very) basic introduction to Lacan’s thought.

 

—going back,… there’s not a great deal of substance in the notes *(—I think I riffed a great deal in delivering the actual lecture). …

 

… —a lot of what remains in the copy of the notes that I still have to hand has to do with contextualising Lacan in terms of the other thinkers and philosophers we were studying on the ol’ Crit. Theory course: Saussure and Barthes on Semiology and Structuralism, and Freud, in particular,—as well as setting up for Derrida, deconstruction, post-structuralism, (and so on… ).

 

… —I have, in the main, cut most of that material here, in the interests of clarity and brevity,—but I thought it was worth reproducing the notes here:

 

… —partly for ol’ – time’s – sake (—hell, … why ever not, ‘ey… —?),

 

and-but also—mainly—because it represents my first (—only, really) thoroughgoing (academic) engagement with Lacan, and an attempt to introduce and explain his thought clearly, and hopefully interestingly-engagingly *(though I’m not s’ sure such was the case f’ the poor fuckers I wus teachin’ ‘n’ tha- …), for-to an audience-readership new-fresh to him, and thus pulls out (so to) those things-concepts-ideas (—sic) that formed my own interest-focus at the time and the simplest, clearest… description of ‘em, of which I was capable. …

 

* … —part of what the lectures were trying to do was to set-up close-reading, and discussion workshop-seminars on ‘The Mirror Stage’,… and, since tha-s what we’re setting up to do here, it seemed sort-a… apt. …       

 

*—a curio, then, (of sorts). …

 

*—I hope that it proves useful—still—as a brief introduction to Lacan himself, and to one or two key ideas-themes. …

 

 

—In attempting to develop and refine these notes here, I owe debts, in particular, to Rob Lapsley’s introductory essay on ‘Psychoanalysis’, and to Huw Jones’s entry on Lacan in Simon Malpas and Paul Wake (eds) The Routledge Companion to Critical Theory, Routledge 2006, *—in which I also happen to have been published (with entries on ‘Northrop Frye’ and ‘Carl Jung’, those delightful maniacs … ), and which I’d recommend as a reference, study, and teaching resource: … —the essays and glossary are short, clear, and concise, and give great introductions to thinkers, concepts and areas-modes of thought. …

Routledge Companion to Crit. Theory

 

 

So, …

 

Lacan.

*Jacques Lacan (1901–1981). … —French psychoanalyst and intellectual. …

 

background:

 

Lacan has (had) a number of important historical and (often) personal overlaps with the most significant intellectual and artistic movements and figures of the early C20th. …

 

*(For example… )—During (what we now think of-characterise as) the inter-war period, Lacan associated with important artistic and intellectual figures such as: André Breton, Georges Bataille, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso. …

 

—He published in the Surrealist journal Minotaure, and attended the first public reading of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

 

*—Importance, then of a formative influence of, and relation to, Modernism *(—plastic and literary arts), and esp. to Surrealism. …

*(… —seen to colour his thought (so to). … ).

 

*—Early interest in the philosophies of Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger and attended the incredibly influential seminars on Hegel’s philosophy given by Alexandre Kojève.

 

—Lacan’s (awareness of, and relationship to) contemporary emergence of Existentialism, and Existentialist philosophy *(—esp. Bataille, with whom he had a… troubled personal relationship), Sartre, and de Beauvoir. …

 

—Also,… —importance of revolutionary politics in ‘60s France.

*(—Lacan encouraged students to participate—and, indeed, facilitated this participation—but was careful to distinguish his own ‘revolt’ (so to) from mainstream politics. …)

 

*—Lacan as Parisian intellectual.

(—Paris as artistic and intellectual centre-focal point in early C20th. … ).

 

*—It’s from this important time, and this… nexus of artistic and cultural influences that Lacan’s thought emerged and developed.

 

 

… whilst (of course… ) best-known for his work in(-on) psychoanalysis, and as an analyst (himself),… Lacan’s intellectual influence extends well beyond *clinical psychoanalytic practice, to the study of (amongst other things-subjects): philosophy, literature, politics & ideology, and (… —of course,… —and very usefully for our current purposes) to *Critical Theory (—there it is. … … ).

 

*—inf. of thought (esp. on language) on ‘poststructuralism’: Derrida, Foucault, and (also) on feminism: (most notably, perhaps,) Julia Kristeva. …

 

 

—In his own (—idiosyncratic) practice of psychoanalysis, Lacan lay emphasis on its primary purpose being that of the treatment of a patient’s suffering.

*(… —a practical purpose, that is,… —with philosophical, literary, critical, political, artistic (… —&c.) ends or purposes, therefore having a secondary status. … ).

 

(…) —As different forms of suffering are seen to arise according to the influence—the particular conditions—of time and place (space), Lacan argued that psychoanalysis had to constantly evolve *[/—be evolving], in order to address these, continually changing, and therefore [always] new circumstances and developments *(—in the conditions of the suffering of patients). …

 

—He emphasised the singularity, then, and the individuality of each patient [/—the conditions of each patient’s suffering], and of each session of treatment with the patient. …

 

*—In this sense [/—for this reason] there is no [/—we cannot properly talk of there being] a *“Lacanian system”:

 

…rather,… each of his seminars was different *(—i.e.: … —not intended to—add up to a total work or comprehensive/total (philosophical/psychoanalytic) system. … ).

 

As such (/As a result … ),—It’s important to note that, in his career/-lifetime, Lacan published no actual books or finished (whole-entire,—concrete) works. …

 

*—Such work(s) as now bear his name (—in print) are, in fact, comprised of *transcriptions of seminars which he delivered (between 1948 and 1980). …

*(… —tie back to Saussure [—Course in General Linguistics]?, and bring up problem of authorship, and of a remove from authorship and *authority. … (—?): ‘d be useful when we get on to Derrida. …

 

—?).

 

*Lacan’s most important-significant and influential ‘works’ (so to speak/sic), then,… are… gathered together (—better way of saying that? … —collated. … —?) in *Écrits *(… —first published in 1966, and available in English translation in a reduced-edited-selected (and therefore selective) form in Écrits: A Selection *(available from Routledge),—first published in 1977, but now in a complete edition, translated (and annotated) by Lacan scholar Bruce Fink: *Jacques Lacan, Écrits, trans. Bruce Fink (London: W.W. Norton & Company, Ltd., 2006)… *(—wave the bloody book at ‘em. … ). … ), and especially the opening essay of the volume:

*—‘The Mirror Stage as formative of the function of the I as revealed in psychoanalytic experience’

(or,… —‘The Mirror Stage’, for (merciful) brevity. … ), which will be the focus of our own reading-study here. …

 

 

Lacan viewed his (idiosyncratic, psychoanalytic) work as a *return to the tradition in or of psychoanalytic criticism and practice, begun by (none other than) Sigmund Freud (and… —there he is ol’ Ziggy,—whom we’ve already read-studied-looked at-considered. … ).

 

And Freud is the most important and profound influence on Lacan and Lacanian thought.

 

—Lacan saw this tradition as having (essentially) been corrupted by Freud’s’’Freudian’,—North American, exponents-accolytes, after his influence spread-crossed the Atlantic.

*(…

 

—there’s an interesting historical-fictional take on Freud’s own visit to the States in E. L. Doctorow’s Ragtime *(—a brilliant novel), for any interested (in such things). … —?).

 

—In his influential seminars (—begun, privately, in 1951, becoming public in ’53, and continuing for 27 years) Lacan ‘returned’ to, and re-read Freud’s works,—in relation to contemporary philosophy, linguistics, ethnology, biology, and topology. …

 

*—So,… whilst I won’t dwell (here—for our current purposes) on the nature and details of the adoption (or, in Lacan’s terms,—expropriation (perhaps) of Freud over in the ol’ States (there),… —it’s worth bearing in mind the details of our own reading-study of Freud, as we go along here…

*[—briefly recap. … ]. …

 

 

*(N.B. … *—I’m being selective and offering a summary here for our current study, but it is fair to say, I think, that: … ) Lacan can be seen, in the main, to have made two crucial contributions to psychoanalysis *(in particular), and (—more widely) to the theory of human subjectivity:

 

 

*key ideas-concepts:

 

I.—‘the mirror stage’. …

 

—The first is the concept of ‘the mirror stage’ itself (—hence our focus … ), in which he put forward his account of the original formation of the ego *(— = “I” …). *[—ref. Freud.—? … ].

 

 

(in short. … )

—A child (—an infant. *—prior to development of instrumental intelligence-engagement-activity) recognises itself as(-in) the image it sees in a mirror.

*[—ref. debate over when (exactly) this: … ‘event’ takes place (… —around six months, is it… —?), and the efficacy of Lacan’s reading. … —?].

 

*… —Lacan argues that the child, in[/within] this moment or instance, *—misrecognises itself as the unified, coherent, singular, mirror image. …

 

 

—He argues that physical (—i.e. bodily) and psychical/(or)psychological unity, then,… are dependent upon the resulting, and fundamental, error in the child’s (—the subject’s) perspective. …

 

—Following ol’ Ziggy Freud—and particularly Freud’s early conception of ego-formation *(—especially up to point-time of the ‘Narcissism’ essay),… —Lacan saw ‘the mirror stage’ (and, consequently,—the formation of the ego itself) as a moment of (essentially) narcissistic self-misrecognition, founded(/-grounded) in a self-idealisation *(—and the term Ideal/ideal (—idealisation) which prove crucial to us in our own discussion of Lacan. … ).

 

*—The child(-infant), then,—identifies itself with an image of unity and of completeness [finality… —?]—an ideal which it anticipates, but which it will—and cannot—ever hope to (properly) embody. …

 

*—(As with Freud, and this will prove important in-to our study of Derrida: … ) No human being (that is) can ever hope to fully coincide with an(—the) ideal. …

 

 

Self-understanding (/self-comprehension), in this sense, then,… is seen as/—is revealed to be  … —a form of misunderstanding,… —ironically undermining or undercutting (so to) any claims to self-identity or self-knowledge. …

*(… —link to, and recapit., study of Nietzsche and Freud in particular, and to both Marx and Barthes,… particularly in-through L.’s influence on the study of *ideology… *—projection of ideals onto subject—forming-informing the subject, then,—from without. … ).

 

 

II.—language. …

The second of Lacan’s key contributions to the theory of subjectivity was (in) his *(later) adoption of the terms of Saussure’s critique of language: … —Semiology/(or) Semiotics.

*[and, again,… —(briefly) recapit. reading-study of Saussure (—to refresh). … ].

 

Language, Lacan argues,—building on elements of his theory of ‘the mirror stage’, both *joins subjects together—as it allows them to communicateand yet also (and, importantly,—at the same time … ) serves to *separate them: —communication is never complete. …

 

… —Just as we saw in-for Saussure, and his account of the ‘denaturalising’ of language and its arbitrary or shifting nature (—as coincidence of thought and sound… —of signifier and signified … )… Lacan argues that meaning is shifting, and is only constructed through a system of differences. …

 

(—in (roughly) psychoanalytic terms… )

—At different stages of in-of analysis, patients ascribe entirely different meanings to earlier episodes or utterances. …

 

This is where Lacan becomes an influence on the study of art (specifically literature) (and hence drama—?)

 

 

—If reinterpretation is always possible ((that is)—if the event or text itself is—can never be—finished, self-identical,—complete … ), then there can be no (such thing as a)—final reading.

 

—In different contexts, and at-in different times and/or places, that is, artworks can assume entirely different meanings. …

 

*—For Lacan, then,… —the meaning of an artwork (always) comes from the future. …

 

 

For Lacan, the speaking subject can never put everything into words. … —They, at once, (always) say, on the one hand, more than they intend to

*[—this is tied to Freud’s conception of the inevitable return of the repressed, and compensation structures: … —jokes, verbal slips, etc. … ].

and (and—at the same time) … less than they intend to say *(—there is always something missing, something that it is impossible to put into words-to say. … ).

 

—The unconscious can never be fully verbalised, and, as result, psychoanalytic treatment/analysis is always endless-interminable. …

 

There is always something that it’s impossible to say… —some form of remainder or unspoken. …

 

—The subject is always between signifiers, and cannot attain self-identity.

*(—This element of Lacan’s thought most of all is a profound influence on the thought which will follow him: poststructuralism—especially the work of Jacques Derrida, and that of Michel Foucault, as well as Feminism—such as in the work of Julia Kristeva, as well as Gender and Queer Theory, each of which we will be studying next semester. … ).

 

The results of this are two other key Lacanian concepts. …

 

I.—*Alienation.

 

—To be a subject, the subject must (try to) identify themselves with a  signifier, even though it is impossible for them to ever fully coincide with it.

 

Prior to its birth, the human infant is spoken of with hopes, fears, and desires, and is assigned an identity: … —is given a (proper) name. …

 

—This name acts as a summons to the child to adopt an identity not of its own making or choosing, and which, then, embodies an—ideal. …

 

This summons,… —the impossibility of its fulfilment, and the sensed imposition of an ideal… give rise to Alienation. … —Although there is no (sense of) ‘self’ prior to the assignment of a name, the subject revolts (on some level—so to speak … ): … rebels, then, against the assignment-imposition of the ideal as betrayal, or a loss, of their ‘true self’. …

 

 

II.—*Separation.

 

The sense of something having been lost gives rise, for Lacan,—to desire. …

 

—The child’s (—the infant’s) existence(-experience) is delimited by its entrance into signification, and a feeling is born that there must be more to existence than the role assigned to them (—to the subject) by society and by signification.

 

… —From the moment of their entrance into society and the chain of signification, the subject is in search of something they feel themselves to be lacking. …

 

Lacan argues,—pessimistically, that this search is (—will always have been)—in vain. …

 

—The ‘object’ (so-called) of the search never truly existed, nor could ever truly exist. …

 

 

*—There will be (-have been) a perpetual gap,—between the enjoyment of whatever the subject finds (will have found) to fill the place of the ‘lost object’, and the enjoyment that they will have anticipated. …

 

—Existence falls short (inevitably) (—of imagination). …

 

 

*—The most common form of this kind of fantasising (—of coinciding, or of identity, with the ‘lost object’) is romance. …

 

*—Lovers imagine that the other embodies the ‘lost object’, and will (—can) make good the feeling of a lack.

 

Lovers, Lacan argues, bring to each other not what will make good the lack, but (in fact) the lack itself.

 

*Hence one of Lacan’s key axioms: *—there is no sexual relation.

 

*Rather than accept or confront this (nonetheless unavoidable) reality, Lacan argues,—we take refuge in fantasy.

 

 

*—The concepts, then,—of the imposition of the ideal, alienation, and the lack and (in) the Other, will prove crucial in-to our study of Critical Theory, and, more particularly (for our current purposes), to our reading of Lacan’s ‘The Mirror Stage’. …

 

 

*Introduction to a new reading group on the work of Jacques Lacan & the question of the ‘real’. …

The Thinker (oil on canvas, 135cm x 90cm) Nov. 14 2014

Kate Brinkworth, The Thinker (oil on canvas), Nov. 2014

 

*the ‘real’ reading group.
(so to).
– LACAN & (THE QUESTION OF) THE “REAL” –

I.

By way of a sort of an introduction. …

—Why Lacan (as the subject for an on-line reading group),
—& why the question of the ‘real’… —? …
*—notes of a dilettante (attempting to read Lacan). …

 

*… —In early July of this year, I had a conversation with Kate Brinkworth,—a brilliant artist (as well as being a lecturer for Winsor & Newton on colour and pigment), over on-via Twitter (—@katebrinkworth). …

—Kate and I have been following each other for a while now, after I’d discovered her work on-over Twitter, shared-re-posted it. and commented on how much I admired (—admire) it.

 

*—Kate paints fantastic photorealist work that focusses particularly on close-up still lifes of (seemingly) mundane-everyday objects.

 

 

I was drawn in particular, I think, to the sheer craft in-of her work… —the sharp, clear… cleanliness of her style,… her (extremely close-exhaustive) attention to detail and the… almost uncanny precision or accuracy of the scale and detail of her rendition of objects and conditions of light and shade, and the illusion of… naturalness (for want) and spontaneity-chance, in her, in fact, very carefully staged compositions

*(—as if each painting—the subject of each of her paintings—is, simply,  a… caught moment (so to),… —incidentally happened upon, and recorded, unsentimentally and without judgment, with a ‘photographic’-encyclopaedic faithfulness in-to each-and-all of its (depth of) details. …

 

… —a—to me—near-perfect rendition of objects,—of light and time (—of time picked out and evoked in-through light), and of a (clean, compelling) sense of space. … ).

*(—see The Thinker, above. … ).

 

 

*—Our correspondence was triggered by Kate’s having tweeted an image from her most recent work: a series of images depicting cast die and gambling chips. …

 

*—. There’s a… (characteristic) sharpness (—cleanness), clarity, and precision in Kate’s rendering of the die, coupled, in these works, with their kind of borderline tacky plastic glamour—captured in the rich, sharp, almost neon colour palette, the texture of the surface on which they rest, and the subdued, ‘mood’-lighting (and shadow). …

 

 

… —It’s the… care,… —precision, clarity and exactness of observation, scale, space, and perspective that I admire in Kate’s work.

 

*—I find that it… chimes (so to—sic) with the commitment-fidelity to lived-experience-the everyday, and the focus on… unpacking everyday psychological experience, capturing it in-within the ‘image’, and thus being able to fully incorporate it, that I see as being at stake in Nietzsche’s writing on art (in light of, and in relation to the development of his philosophy), and in the aesthetic theories, manifestoes, prose, and poetry of the self-styled neo-classical Modernists (—James Joyce, T.E. Hulme, Ezra Pound, and the Imagist poets in particular).

*(which I’m (still, yes,… still) in the midst of trying to unpack for myself,—over on the main thread of this BLOG/writing project. … ).

 

*Also. … —these are the…  (what?… ) qualities (?),… values, (sic) I feel, to which I’m trying  aspire in my own, semi-autobiographical, psychologically realist, experimental prose-poetry *(which I’m still in the midst of trying to get published, and at least one example of-from which can be found elsewhere on this blog).

 

 

I asked Kate what the influences of-behind her photo-realism were (are). …

 

She replied, posting a link to her (artist’s) website, and to her commentary on the emergence and development of her style. …

*(—the full text can be found here: http://katebrinkworth.com/about-us/ *[as accessed on 22-07-2015]. … ).

 

 

*in her artist’s bio, Kate talks about the origins of her work in her study of ‘the construction of […] film’ in a way, I think, that illuminates the qualities I most admire in her work: …

*—‘How do light, shadow, camera angle, focus, objects and location play a part in intriguing and capturing your imagination, enabling the viewer to pick up on the essence of an idea and sparking off their imagination so they themselves bring something to the viewing experience’?

 

*… —light, shadow, angle (—both geometric, and the occupying of a particular perspective), (the intensity, or clarity of) focus, then, as (both) capturing, and evoking (—evocative of) a broader, narrative context. …

 

*… —that a careful selection, and arrangement in a space, of the right (—the correct) things, with the correct lighting conditions and (thus) tone and atmosphere—pathos (—an absolute—rigorous—artistic economy, then, posing (-posed), so to, somehow as (as if) found—naturally,—arbitrarily. …) can fulfil the function—realise what it would take the full unfolding—of a film (—the full revelation or exposition of a broader narrative-narrative context) to create: in a single, pure, carefully-rigorously constructed, clean, economic *image. …

 

 

Golden Dollar (oil on canvas, 150cm x 100cm) April 28, 2014

Kate Brinkworth, Golden Dollar (oil on canvas, 150cm x 100cm) April 28, 2014

 

… —Kate writes that she began, then, to ‘set up my own stills, engage in my own ideas’…

 

*(and I like the idea of the transformation or evolution of film stills into still lifes-paintings (phtotorealism). …)

 

… —‘I began to collect objects that would enable me to do this, dice, insects, cameras, letters, papers, anything I could find that had a sense of intrigue about it. I then played around with setting up small still lifes, lighting them differently, changing the focal point to emphasise a certain item and then working these into paintings. I became more involved in the process of this, enjoying the translation of light into paint, the properties of pigments and the challenge of photorealism’. (my emph, M.D.B.)

 

And what’s important here, I’d argue (at least—for me), is the idea-concept of translating light—of transposing experience into a still image, through the capturing of light states. …

 

Interestingly, Kate writes that she: ‘can get more detail into a painting than I can from a photograph, I can enhance and play around with oversaturated colour and light.’ …

 

 

*—Photorealism, then, … passes over, seemingly at the exact moment of its perfect realisation, into a sort-a form of hyperrealism. …

 

*(that is…) —at the moment of its perfect self-becoming, or—self-realisation,… photorealism collapses (out of itself)—forward (outward),… —into a portrayal or transposition that becomes more ‘real’ than the ‘real’ (itself). …

*(—the perfect transposition of the ‘real’ in (—into-within) the image becomes more—becomes (the) hyperreal. …

 

—the image—the artistic model—shorn of its tethers in-to the ‘real’, … and becomes something more (more than the) ‘real’. … —? … ).

 

 

—This notion-idea of the clean, definite, image,… —able to evoke, through its portrayal (capturing) of light (states), and perspective, a broader narrative than its composition might immediately suggest,… —more, richer (—sharper) detail than is possible in a film-the photograph—developed in Kate’s work…

*—‘I began to bring the story more to the forefront with the use of black and white imagery, stripping away colour, leaving objects or locations as the central element but at the same time introducing a person. Who is the character behind the card game? Who is ‘The Thinker’ exploring the material world under a magnifying glass? Who wrote the letter? Or as the image is often a point-of-view shot, is it actually you the viewer?’

 

—At the point at which the image becomes more than (the) ‘real’, the emphasis shifts from the composition of the image itself to the image’s viewer or reader. …

 

*—ultimately, the ‘photoreal’-become hyperreal, brings the (figure of the) ‘viewer’ (themselves) into question:

 

*—the relationship, then,—of the viewer to the ‘real’. …

 

So, …

 

As I say (said). …

 

—I was fascinated, in a way in which I’ve only just begun to fully work out or through in drafting-writing (typing. down) all this here, in what Kate wrote about how her photorealism’s *turn into hyperrealism *(—at the point-the moment of its self-becoming—capturing of the ‘real’), —and I said so to her (over Twitter)

(hell.—why ever not, hmm? … ).

 

 

She replied, saying that, in some new-prospective work that she was (—is) planning, she wants to investigate the concept of the ‘real’, … *—especially through the work of Jacques Lacan. …

 

 

(hmm)

 

—. Though my background (academic.—under- and postgraduate, and published) is in (what-is-referred to-as) ‘Theory’ (—Critical Theory, to give it its full, & somewhat dubious (I think) name) and in Philosophy & Literature, including reading-studying and writing on psychoanalysis … I’ve never had the opportunity to study Lacan in any ongoing,—thoroughgoing, formal academic way-sense, but have spent a long time reading him (independently-autonomously), and, indeed, I lectured on his thought on some honours degree courses in Contemporary Theatre, Drama, and Critical Theory, which I wrote and ran at Queen Margaret University, between 2008 and 2010.

*(JE-SUS.—I hadn’t realised that it was quite as long ago as 5-7 years already. …

 

Jesus. … … ).

 

 

* … —There’s something in Lacan: … —something in (the development) of his account of the formation of the ego (—the “I”. … ) and its being… mired (so to) in the subject’s being thrust into (pre-existing,… —pre-egoistical) language), his return to Freud, and fusion of his insights on-concerning Freud with his reading of Saussure’s Semiology and its account of language, …

 

—something that, I think, might serve to bring together, and to clarify (—to help perfect, for want) all the ideas that are at stake in Nietzsche, Joyce, Bergson, and Hulme (—in neo-classical Modernism) (at least, in the way I’ve read-been reading them, in my doctoral thesis, and over on the main thread of the blog project: The Fold of the Artist). …

 

—something that, now, I feel, it would be extremely useful for me to commit myself (however casually-occasionally) to unpacking and setting down (—attempting, at least provisionally, to articulate). …

 

 

 

*Intrigued, I asked Kate if she would like someone to read over Lacan with,—with a view to understanding (the question of) the ‘real’ in Lacan’s work, and to helping her develop her (future) work. …

 

*(…

 

—recently, I’ve been commissioned by Charioteer Theatre *[link], as a freelance writer, to produce two education packs for their forthcoming production of two adaptations of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus (—to be staged in the Piccolo Theatre, Milan in 2016, and then, subsequently, touring Italy and Scotland). …

 

I also had an (in the end abortive) meeting-interview with a successful Scottish theatre company to work, as a freelance Content Editor/Researcher, on a project collating, editing, and uploading the history of their productions (notes, audience figures and feedback, press and promotional materials, flyers, programs, &c.) to an online archive. …

 

—and I think, at the moment, having failed to find the kind of community and welcome reception of… more idiosyncratic work-research (so to) in academia, that this is the kind of work-project that I want to be doing: … *—collaborating with artists (of whatever hue-persuasion) on philosophical and intellectual, as well as practical, research and writing, with a view to fostering and bolstering new artistic work. …

 

For me, it’s also a throw-back to the… edifying spirit (so to) of the reading group on-of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit in which I participated as an undergraduate (back at ol’ Manchester Metropolitan University), and to the communal reading-writing and research presentation culture, which I shared with friends on the MA in Philosophy & Literature during my time at The University of Warwick, … —the spirit of both of which I failed (sadly, and frustratingly) to find-rekindle (despite many—(what felt like) fevered—attempts) during my doctoral studies in-at Edinburgh. …

 

… —by hook, or by fuckin’ crook,… —I will  forge the kind of intellectual artistic community I’ve been looking for. … (&c.) ).

 

 

Kate said yes.

 

 

—the reading group, then. …

 

And so, …

 

—this current (—this new) project was born: … *—The ‘real’ reading group. (so to).

 

 

*I also managed, shortly thereafter, to rope in another of my Twitter-made friends: Emma Paulet (@Emmahgerd), who I met when she liked and followed the main thread of the blog project here.

 

*—Emma’s own smart, self-deprecating(-lacerating) and beautiful experimental poetry, prose, and photography can be found over on her own blog: www.emmapaulet.wordpress.com

 

 

*—The(…) ‘aim’ (—in so far as there is any kind of an aim) here, then, I think, is to work, in quite an informal way, through various lectures-essays-pieces and concepts in-from the work of Lacan,—corresponding, electronically, mainly across Twitter, email, and this blog thread.

 

 

*—I’m going to take the liberty (having sought Kate and Emma’s permission(s)) to make use of this new thread on the blog to post my own notes-readings-thoughts-responses (—so that I’m obliged to at least try to formalise and to explain them, as clearly as I’m able. …), in the hopes that a-this string-thread on the Fold can form a kind of a… hub, for (—to collect) the readings-responses-thoughts-notes (&c.) of the others-others, and (thus)—a kind of running (and perhaps alarmingly cavalier and free-form) resource (I s’pose). …

 

—This will have been the first reading group I’ve participated in to be conducted over-through-from social media. …

 

 

*—We’re beginning (going to begin) at the beginning (or, perhaps rather,—the source, in Lacanian terms)—with ‘The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience’,—in-from *Jacques Lacan, Écrits, trans. Bruce Fink (London: W.W. Norton & Company, Ltd., 2006), *—pp. 75-81.

*(—at the start—the heart, really, I s’pose—of Lacan’s seminars. …. ).

Ecrits - The First Complete Edition in English (cover art).

 

—The rest, I think, we’ll decide (democratically, ‘n’ tha-) amongst ourselves, as a group, as we go along, keeping to the theme (and the concept) of the ‘real’. …

 

 

And so, (and so,—again)…

 

*—What follows-will follow here *(—my future post-posts in this thread), then, will form an attempt to go back over my lecture and notes on ol’ Jacques, and to try to salvage-rescue (—to pick out) any potentially useful notes-trivia-fragments that might remain (—whatever might prove useful as a (re-?)introduction, or a refresher on-to Lacan), and my own, faltering (yes… —inadequate) attempt to read through, and to make sense of, *—‘The Mirror Stage’.