Why Was Lacan Not An 'Author'?
The Linkway, Fourth Floor
John Medley Building
The University of Melbourne
In “What is an Author?” Michel Foucault expanded his concept of “author” when coining the concept of “inventors of discursivity,” among whom Freud and Marx figure preeminently.
A “return” to their texts transforms the discursive practices governing their fields; if founders of discursivity cannot be accused of error, their texts and theories demand constant reactivation. According to this definition, Freud was the only author in the field of psychoanalysis, and Lacan seems to agree with this view: his role would be that of a reader or a translator doubling as a critical commentator. Lacan’s “return to Freud” never entailed respectful imitation, for it combined literalist re-readings with creative rewritings.
Jean- Michel will start from the presentation of Scilicet, a journal launched by Lacan in which he was the only one to sign anything in order to probe further the distinction between the concepts of “author,” “discourse,” and “signature.” Jean- Michel will also allude to authors discussed by Lacan such as Marguerite Duras, James Joyce and André Gide to explore how Lacan aimed at producing a writing that would be capable of knotting a sinthome, and how writing became one of the most important concepts of his later seminars.
Professor Jean- Michel Rabaté, Professor of English and Comparative Literature
Professor Jean- Michel Rabaté
Professor of English and Comparative Literature
The University of Pennsylvania
Jean Michel Rabaté is a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. One of the founders and curators of Slought Foundation in Philadelphia (slought.org), he is a managing editor of the Journal of Modern Literature. Since 2008, he has been a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Rabaté has authored or edited 40 books on modernism, psychoanalysis, contemporary art, philosophy, and writers like Beckett, Pound and Joyce.