Monday, September 05, 2005

The genius of Bryan D. Palmer

The following is an excerpt from Bryan Palmer's book, Descent Into Discourse (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990), p.31. This Marxist tirade against the "linguistic turn" may be slightly out of date, but remains a cogent reminder that many in the historical profession sold out to abstraction after Foucault. Absolutely hilarious, for those in the know:

There was, and is, much to learn from Lacan. That has unfortunately been obscured in the appropriation and promotion of Lacan's postructuralist surrender of signification to the mystifications of signifiers forever broken from any relation to reality. This overdetermined Lacan's fate, pitching him into the wild playfulness of discourse that produced some of the most unfathomable prose known in the annals of critical theory and that made words the prison-house of subjects ultimately detached from the real. The Lacanian rereading of Freud thus produced some odd pages:

"We therefore invariably rediscover our double reference to the Word
and to Language. In order to liberate the subject's Word, we introduce
him into the Language of his desire, that is, into the primary Language,
in which, beyond what he tells us of himself, he is already talking to us
unbeknownst to him, and in the symbols of the symptom in the first
place.... The Word is in fact a gift of Language, and Language is not
immaterial. It is a subtle body, but body it is. Words are trapped in all the
corporeal images which captivate the subject; they can make the hysteric
pregnant, be identified with the object of penis-neid, represent the flood of
urine and urethral ambition, or the retained faeces of avaricious jouissance."

In Lacan the psychoanalytic implosion of poststructuralist theory re-imploded, in Catherine Clement's phrase "setting itself ablaze on a pyre of its own excrement".


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counters
Free Web Site Counter