created at a certain point in one’s development – that it is not something that one is born with, so to speak, but is made as a result of certain life experiences. It is also clear that the unconscious is created and indeed populated at an early age. If our unconscious is us, what or who we are just inasmuch as we do not know what or who we are, it, the unconscious, is us as children, ourselves as ghosts of the past.
Melanie Klein and Jean Laplanche have written powerfully on the idea that ignorance is also the basis of human (mis
Value and fantasy in Hollinghurst’s house of fiction
, which is also an engagement with the world.
In a perfunctory porn scene – say, the plumber coming in to fix the
washing machine – the engagement of desire makes visible the thresholds
between the domestic and the public, or accounts of labour time and class
distinction, which have silently circumscribed and regulated the relation
between the subject and the world. As a ‘scene’ emerges, a ‘setting for
128 Alan Hollinghurst
desire’ in the words of psychoanalysts Laplanche and Pontalis (to whose
work this chapter will return), these circumscriptions and regulations
33 Burrow, ed., Complete Sonnets and Poems , p. 138.
34 John Keats, The Letters of John Keats, 1814–1821 , ed. Hyder Edward Rollins, 2 vols (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1958), 1: 188; Jean Laplanche, ‘Transference: Its Provocation by the Analyst’, in Essays on Otherness (London: Routledge, 1999), p. 229: for more on Laplanche’s sense of the importance of ignorance in psychoanalysis see pp. 156–8 below.
35 Berys Gaut, ‘Art and Knowledge’, in Jerrold Levinson, ed., The Oxford Handbook of
, however. He considers the novel’s correlation between psychic
reality and real-world values by building on Laplanche and Pontalis’s
psychoanalytic work on the construction of the subject in relation to its
place in the world, as well as on Virginia Woolf ’s vision of autonomy.
DJF: One of the joys of editing this collection has been what its
contributors have taught me about Hollinghurst. I’ve always found The
Folding Star dense, gloomy and, for a novel about erotic obsession, oddly
unsexy. Robert L. Caserio’s ‘Hollow auguries: eccentric genealogies in The
involves a sustained, problematic relation between witnessing and a
critical comparative history that marks differences, including those
between the present and the past; it also involves the attempt to
acquire some perspective on experience without denying its claims or
indeed its compulsive force. LaCapra points out that Laplanche and
Pontalis’s presentation of ‘working
Dorothea’s state of mind’, it here ‘echoes’ the author’s and the reader’s ‘discontent with the impending union’ ( Vocation and Desire: George Eliot’s Heroines (London: Routledge, 1989), p. 140).
32 The pun is adapted from a phrase by Jean Laplanche that I discuss below (see Chapter 7 ).
33 Even in the final moment of decision, of the impulsive acceptance of each other’s hand in marriage and rejection of the dead hand of Casaubon’s will, hands are at work, although here silently at work, at work without words
Trauma, sexuality and creaturely life in Echo’s Bones
to the ‘spoilt love’. A quote that Santner
adduces from Laplanche is useful here. According to the former,
unconscious formations arise from:
an encounter between an individual whose psycho-somatic
structures are situated predominantly at the level of need, and
signifiers emanating from an adult. These signifiers pertain to the
satisfaction of a child’s needs, but they also convey the purely interrogative potential of other messages – and those other messages are
sexual. These enigmatic messages set the child the difficult, or even
been helpful in developing
parts of this section: Laplanche and Pontalis, 1988; Moore and Fine, 1990, 1995;
Bacal and Newman, 1990; Summers, 1994; Hinshelwood, 1991; and Rycroft,
2 Early in her career Klein suggested, following Freud, that the ego’s first act was
to deflect outwards (project) the death instinct, and to subsequently face the
difficulties of introjecting a now poisoned and dangerous world. The death
instinct is a highly problematic concept in psychoanalysis, but is one that could
be applied to Beckett’s work. I have tended not to speak of it in