The focus of this volume is Lacan’s contribution to literary studies, or more properly, what could be called Lacan’s theory of literature. While several attempts have recently been made to produce Lacanian readings of literary texts, most of these have proved rather disappointing. Moreover no-one has yet addressed the consistency of Lacan’s approach to literature. Excellent books have been written to explain the ‘literary’ side of Lacan’s texts (for instance Malcolm Bowie’s brilliant inroads into Lacan’s Gongorism and links with Proust) but they tend to be obsessed with the difficulty of Lacan’s style. Whereas these attempts are worthwhile, and often very useful, this book takes a different approach: I believe that Lacan was not only a ‘user’ of literary examples but also a ‘reader’ of literary texts, and that an entire system of criticism — of a special type — can be found in his seminars and various ‘writings’.
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