Before systematically engaging with the last writer to be commented upon at some length by Lacan — Joyce — it might be useful by way of introduction to return briefly to Gide — an author for whom Lacan had a peculiar fondness and tended to see as Joyce’s French counterpart. In April 1975, at a time when he was immersed in a spate of critical work on Joyce following an invitation to open the June 1975 International James Joyce Symposium in Paris, Lacan quoted Gide’s ironical novel,
It is worth giving all its due to the proverb translated and glossed by André Gide in
Paludes — Numero deus impare gaudet
, which he translates as ‘Number two is happy being odd’ (
‘Le numéro deux se réjouit d’être impair’
). As I have said for some time, this is quite right, since nothing would realize the two if there was not the odd, the odd that begins with three — which is not obvious immediately and makes the Borromean knot necessary.