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The Case of J. Sheridan Le Fanu‘s ‘Carmilla’
Michael Davis

This article proposes a reading of Le Fanu‘s ‘Carmilla’ in relation to the ideas of the French psychoanalyst Jean Laplanche, particularly Laplanche‘s notion of the enigmatic signifier. Laplanche refigures the inauguration of human sexuality as a failure on the infant‘s behalf to meaningfully translate the enigmatic messages received from the adult world, which, Laplanche argues, are freighted with unconscious sexual meaning. Unable to fully metabolise these enigmatic signifiers, the infant is prone to trauma, as the un-translated residues of the adults address sink into the unconscious to form powerful unconscious fantasies that continue to trouble the subject. A parallel is drawn here with Laura‘s relationship with the mysterious but alluring Carmilla, whose enigmatic desire both fascinates and repels Le Fanu‘s narrator from the moment of Laura‘s childhood trauma but whose enigmatic language remains indecipherable. Carmilla herself is finally seen as the allegorical figure of the Gothic itself: profoundly enigmatic and potentially traumatising.

Gothic Studies
The broken body and the shining body
Sara Wasson and Sarah Artt

’; Laplanche and Pontalis, The Language of Psycho-Analysis , pp. 245, 401. 9 Laplanche and Pontalis, The Language of Psycho-Analysis , p. 244. 10 Aaron, Spectatorship , pp. 61

in Open Graves, Open Minds
Abstract only
The monstrous feminine as femme animale
Barbara Creed

Barnes said: ‘God, children know something they can’t tell; they like Red Riding Hood and the wolf in bed!’ 33 Freud’s theory of the primal phantasies is central to an understanding of this scene. According to Freud, the primal phantasies involve three of life’s major mysteries. Where did I come from? Whom do I desire? Why am I different? Laplanche and Pontalis point out that the primal phantasies directly

in She-wolf
Abstract only
Elisabeth Bronfen

, 1960 , pp. 345f. 11 Quoted in S. Freud, 1985 , pp. 201–2. 12 See S. Weber, 1982 ; and Jean Laplanche, 1976 . 13

in Over her dead body
Fred Botting

called, of support. (Laplanche, 227) The ‘matrix of desire’, the symbolic circulations that the death drive underpins and undermines, can never maintain its constancy however, repeatedly interrupted as it is by the drive, ‘that radical force, usually fixed and fixating, which surfaces in a catastrophic or ecstatic

in Limits of horror
Elisabeth Bronfen

See J. Laplanche and S. Leclaire, 1975 . The term ‘ point de capiton refers to the attachments that hold uphostery down. 7 See R. Barthes, 1985 , p. 55. 8 J. Brüschweiler, 1976 ; original title ‘Ein

in Over her dead body
Elisabeth Bronfen

defending the ego against the fear of its own death. 16 J. Laplanche, 1976 . 17 See H. Segal, ‘De l’unité clinique du concept d’instinct de mort’, in A. Green, 1986b

in Over her dead body