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Against Human Rights
Alibi for militarist interventions, sacralization for the tyranny of the market, ideological foundation for the fundamentalism of the politically correct: can the ‘symbolic fiction’ of universal rights be recuperated for the progressive politicization of actual socio-economic relations?
Jacob Stevens on Steven Rose, The 21st-Century Brain. Complexity and plasticity of synaptic interaction, in a materialist challenge to neo-Darwinist models. Is it possible to account for the evolutionary heritage of the brain without compromising the autonomy of the social?
Bisexuality, Capitalism and the Ambivalent Legacy of Psychoanalysis
By the time Freud died in London in 1939, he was already a legend. By the 1950s, he exerted a grip on many imaginations comparable to that of the great figures—Moses, Leonard, Goth, Dostoyevsky—about whom he wrote. Equally important, Frankfurt School theorists placed his work at the centre . . . read more
Eastern Europe’s Republics of Gilead
Why is the West so fascinated by the recent events in Eastern Europe? The answer seems obvious: what fascinates the Western gaze is the re-invention of democracy. It is as if democracy, which in the West shows increasing signs of decay and crisis, lost in bureaucratic routine and . . . read more
Post-Kleinian Psychoanalysis and the Post-Modern
In a number of papers written in the early 1980s, I attempted to explore the social and political affiliations of Kleinian psychoanalysis in Britain. I characterized some of the leading themes, both implicit and explicit, of Kleinian work, and suggested some connections between these and the social preoccupations . . . read more
John Huston—the Hollywood director who made The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)—was a vivid and confident impietist, and his unrespectable success was an important element in the idea of ‘America’ which entranced his distant contemporary, Jean-Paul Sartre. The McCarthyite columnist Frank Conniff was . . . read more
A Country House Childhood
Ronald Fraser is England’s outstanding oral historian. In the 1960s he pioneered the sensitive recording of the texture of working peoples’ experience of labour, first in the pages of this journal and later in two Penguin books, Work and Work II. His concern with lived experience in history . . . read more
Freud’s 'Roman Phobia'
It is well known that, about the turn of the century, Sigmund Freud had a persistent desire to visit Rome that was repeatedly frustrated on account of a neurotic inhibition. He planned several trips to Rome, and even set out on some of them, but a powerful phobia . . . read more
Psychoanalysis and Child Development
In Narcissus and Oedipus: The Children of Psychoanalysis , Victoria Hamilton challenges Freud’s theories of infantile and child development. Syncretizing Kleinian and object relations theories with ethnological observations, cybernetics and theories of attachment behaviour, she builds an alternative model which stresses the infant’s and child’s positive capacity for . . . read more
Narcissism and the Family: A Critique of Lasch
A crucial question for feminists is whether the gendered subjectivity of today really does follow the model of patriarchal authority elaborated in psychoanalytic theory. Juliet Mitchell has probably provided the best-known claim for the validity of psychoanalysis as the key to understanding how feminity and masculinity are acquired. . . . read more
A Socialist Consideration of Kleinian Psychoanalysis
This article may be best introduced autobiographically, since the general project it touches, the relationship between psychoanalytic and political theory, isn’t one that I think has often been very fruitfully pursued from the point of view in which I am interested, and may seem unpromising at the outset. . . . read more
The Freudian Left and Cultural Revolution
Both the strengths of the New Left’s critique of domination and its underlying weaknesses reveal themselves, with particular sharpness and clarity, in the attraction of the New Left to an intellectual tradition seemingly resistant to radical reinterpretation yet essential, it turned out, to the new theory of revolution—the . . . read more
Timpanaro and 'The Freudian Slip'
Since the author of The Freudian Slip must be already well known to readers of the New Left Review, and has indeed recently contributed an article on the pessimism of Giacomo Leopardi to it, there is no need for me to introduce Sebastiano Timpanaro to them, as I . . . read more
Reply to Critics
I am very grateful to Nancy Chodorow and Eli Zaretsky (nlr 96) and to the Lacan Study Group for their interesting discussions of my review of Juliet Mitchell’s Psychoanalysis and Feminism (nlr 93). If in my reply I leave some of the points they raise unconsidered, . . . read more
'Psychoanalysis and Feminism'
Richard Wollheim (‘Psychoanalysis and Feminism’, nlr 93) argues for a biological interpretation of Freud’s account of sexual development. As a group of feminists concerned with the theoretical elaboration of unconscious sexual formations, we wish to argue that Wollheim’s view is both idealist and reactionary in its implications . . . read more
'Psychoanalysis and Feminism': Rejoinder to Wollheim
We would like to respond to Richard Wollheim’s review (nlr 93) of Juliet Mitchell’s Psychoanalysis and Feminism. The Left and the women’s movement traditionally reject Freud as a biological determinist. Mitchell’s book sought to redeem him by presenting a social and cultural reading of psychoanalytic theory. The . . . read more
Freudian Slips and Slips of the Freudians
If I had to give as concise and accurate a definition as possible of the typical ‘Western Marxist’, I would say: ‘Someone who is firmly convinced that Freud is always right’. No, ‘Freud’ is not a slip of the pen for ‘Marx’. I really mean Freud. Where Marx, . . . read more
Comment on 'The Freudian Slip'
In a chapter from his forthcoming book, published in nlr 91, Sebastiano Timpanaro attacks the methods and conclusions of Freud’s chapter on ‘The Forgetting of Foreign Words’ from The Psychopathology of Everyday Life. His attack depends on a number of serious misconceptions. read more
Comment on 'The Freudian Slip'
Sebastiano Timpanaro’s refutation of the Freudian method (nlr 91, pp. 43–56) seems to base its case on three main arguments: a) that laws of philology relating to syntax, translatability and semantic content are fully adequate to explain the omission of the word aliquis from the Latin quotation . . . read more
Comment on 'The Freudian Slip'
Sebastiano Timpanaro’s piece on The Psychopathology of Everyday Life published in nlr 91 under the title ‘The Freudian Slip’ does not live up to the editorial promise of a ‘highly original stance’ on Freud. On the contrary, the article published amounts to a populist attack on psycho-analysis . . . read more
Comment on 'The Freudian Slip'
How far apart indeed are the method of textual analysis employed by Sebastiano Timpanaro (nlr 91) and the method of psychoanalysis evolved by Sigmund Freud! For Timpanaro, a corruption is a departure from an original which has to be discovered and restored and raised to its former . . . read more
Psychoanalysis and Feminism
It would be no gross exaggeration to say that the contemporary intellectual case for the women’s movement is pretty much that which the movement inherited from the thought of the 18th-century Enlightenment. The modern age, it is true, has added typical features of style to its presentation—elements of . . . read more
The Freudian Slip
At the beginning of the Psychopathology of Everyday Life—before the treatise breaks up into a host of examples, discussed often very briefly and interspersed with methodological considerations to be taken up and expanded in the last chapter—there are two extended examinations of specific ‘slips of the tongue’, with . . . read more
Itinerary of a Thought
How do you envisage the relationship between your early philosophical writings, above all L’Etre et Le Néant, and your present theoretical work, from the Critique de la Raison Dialectique onwards? In the Critique, the typical concepts of L’Etre et Le Néant have disappeared, and a completely new vocabulary . . . read more
Freud and Lacan
Let us admit, without prevarication: anyone today who merely wants to understand Freud’s revolutionary discovery, who wants to know what it means as well as just recognizing its existence, has to make a great theoretical and critical effort in order to cross the vast space of ideological prejudice . . . read more
Introduction to Jacques Lacan
‘What distinguishes the analyst is that he makes of a function that is common to all men a privileged use: when he becomes the bearer of the word. For this is indeed what the analyst does for the communication of the subject . . .’: Jacques Lacan. read more
The Mirror-Phase as Formative of the Function of the I
The conception of the mirror-phase which I introduced at our last congress, 13 years ago, has since become more or less established in the practice of the French group; I think it nevertheless worthwhile to bring it again to your attention, especially today, for the light that it . . . read more
Sociology and Psychology (Part II)
Social developments thus affect even the most recent trends in psychology. Despite the ever-widening rift between society and psychology, society reaches repressively into all psychology in the form of censorship and superego. As part of the progressive integration of society, socially rational behaviour gets melted together with the . . . read more
Sociology and Psychology (Part I)
For more than 30 years, the tendency has been emerging among the masses of the advanced industrial countries to surrender themselves to the politics of disaster instead of pursuing their rational interests and, chief of all, that of their own survival. While they are promised benefits, the idea . . . read more
In The Use of Personal Pronouns in The Novel (nlr 34) Michel Butor raises the problem of the author’s relation to the characters in his novel and to the novel itself. As he demonstrates, this question has arisen through the introduction of a narrator—an ‘I’—which introduces the . . . read more
The Second Case
Novels are usually written either in the third person, or in the first person. Clearly, the choice of one or other of these stylistic forms is by no means arbitrary; each of them is used to express something quite distinct, and our situation as readers in relation to . . . read more
Luis Martin-Santos, a Spanish psychiatrist, was killed in a car crash last year at the age of 40. He had published a number of psychiatric works—he was first influenced by existential psychoanalysis and not until many years later studied Freud, whose works are still officially banned in Spain—when . . . read more
Psychoanalysis and Society
As a technique of human investigation, psychoanalysis has always been based on the patient’s concrete relationship with the world, since it starts from the reworking and reliving of the patient’s memories within the specific relationship of the analytical situation. The novelty of this technique is that man is . . . read more
The Celebrity Syndrome
The existence in modem industrial society of a category of persons who are the object of intense curiosity and admiration centring round not only their exceptional performance of expressive roles in the entertainment world such as film stars—and also others in sport or ‘show business’—but also their ‘private’ . . . read more
The thesis of Herbert Marcuse’s book One-Dimensional Man is as follows. When dialectical rationality was first brought to bear on the historical process in the early 19th century it was clear, to any one who was prepared to look at the facts, that there existed an identifiable body . . . read more
Series and Nexus in the Family
Persons are not separate objects in space. They are centres of orientation to the world. These different centres and their worlds are not islands, but the nature of their reciprocal influence and interaction has always been difficult to incorporate adequately into interpersonal theory. By considering the person from . . . read more