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Lacan on Love: An Exploration of Lacan's Seminar VIII, Transference



Lacan on Love: An Exploration of Lacan's Seminar VIII, Transference

Bruce Fink

ISBN: 978-1-509-50053-6 December 2015 Polity 288 Pages

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Quintessentially fascinating, love intrigues and perplexes us, and drives much of what we do in life. As wary as we may be of its illusions and disappointments, many of us fall blindly into its traps and become ensnared time and again. Deliriously mad excitement turns to disenchantment, if not deadening repetition, and we wonder how we shall ever break out of this vicious cycle.

Can psychoanalysis – with ample assistance from philosophers, poets, novelists, and songwriters – give us a new perspective on the wellsprings and course of love? Can it help us fathom how and why we are often looking for love in all the wrong places, and are fundamentally confused about “what love really is”?

In this lively and wide-ranging exploration of love throughout the ages, Fink argues that it can. Taking within his compass a vast array of traditions – from Antiquity to the courtly love poets, Christian love, and Romanticism – and providing an in-depth examination of Freud and Lacan on love and libido, Fink unpacks Lacan’s paradoxical claim that “love is giving what you don’t have.” He shows how the emptiness or lack we feel within ourselves gets covered over or entwined in love, and how it is possible and indeed vital to give something to another that we feel we ourselves don’t have.

This first-ever commentary on Lacan’s Seminar VIII, Transference, provides readers with a clear and systematic introduction to Lacan’s views on love. It will be of great value to students and scholars of psychology and of the humanities generally, and to analysts of all persuasions.

  • Introduction
  • Part I: Symbolic
  • 1) Freudian Preludes: Love Triangles
  • Obsessives in Love ¥ Hysterics in Love
  • 2) Freudian Conundrums: Love Is Incompatible with Desire
  • “Where They Love They Do Not Desire” ¥ “Where They Desire They Do Not Love” ¥ On Women, Love, and Desire ¥ Too Little ¥ Too Much
  • 3) Lacan’s Reading of Plato’s Symposium
  • Love Is Giving What You Don’t Have ¥ Not Having and Not Knowing ¥ Love as a Metaphor: The Signification of Love ¥ The Miracle of Love ¥ Love in the Analytic Context
  • Part II: Imaginary
  • 4) Freudian Preludes: Narcissism
  • Narcissism and Love ¥ Love for the Ego Ideal
  • 5) Lacan’s Imaginary Register
  • Animals in the Imaginary ¥ Animals in Love ¥ The Formative Role of Images in Human Beings ¥ The Mirror Stage ¥ The Image We Love More Than Ourselves: The Ideal Ego ¥ The Myth of Narcissus ¥ Sibling Rivalry ¥ Lacan’s “Beloved”: Crimes of Passion ¥ “Family Complexes” ¥ Transitivism ¥ The Intrusion (or Fraternal) Complex and the “Solipsistic Ego” ¥ Love and Psychosis ¥ The Dangers of Imaginary-Based Love ¥ Imaginary Passion in the Analytic Setting
  • Part III: Real
  • 6) Love and the Real
  • Repetition Compulsion ¥ The Unsymbolizable ¥ Love at First Sight ¥ The Other Jouissance ¥ Love Is Real? ¥ Love and the Drives ¥ Love as a Link
  • Part IV: General Considerations on Love
  • 7) Languages and Cultures of Love
  • Dependency (or so-called Natural Love) ¥ Attachment ¥ Friendship ¥ Agape (or Christian Love) ¥ Hatred ¥ Attraction ¥ Fixation on the Human Form (Beauty) ¥ Physical Love, Sexual Desire, Lust, Concupiscence, Sex Drive ¥ Fin’Amor (Courtly Love) ¥ Romantic Love ¥Falling in Love (à la Stendhal) ¥ Other Languages and Cultures of Love
  • 8) Reading Plato with Lacan: Further Commentary on Plato’s Symposium
  • The Relationship between Form and Content in the Symposium ¥ Homosexual Love as a Simplified Model ¥ Phaedrus: Love and Theology ¥ Pausanias: The Psychology of the Rich ¥ Eryximachus: Love as Harmony ¥ Agathon’s Speech ¥ Socrates’ Speech and the In-between (Metaxú) ¥ Love Triangles Revisited ¥ The Six Stages of Socrates’ Speech ¥ After Socrates’ Speech ¥ The “Mystery” of the Relationship between Socrates and Alcibiades ¥ Socrates’ “Interpretation” ¥ Socrates’ “Mistake” ¥ Parting Shot
  • 9) Some Possible Conclusions about Love
  • Unanswered Questions ¥ Love and Psychoanalysis
  • Endnotes
  • References
  • Index
  • "Lacan on Love is not only an invaluable aid for those embarking on the study of Lacan's seminar on transference, but also essential reading for anyone interested in the question of love and human passion. Drawing on a wide range of literary and cultural references, Bruce Fink guides the reader with clarity, precision and insight in this perceptive and thought-provoking book."
    Darian Leader, psycholanalyst

    "Love, it turns out, has a history. And Lacan on Love beautifully traces that history through the lens of Lacan’s seminar on transference, combining an adventurous cultural investigation of ‘love in the western world’ with actual field notes concerning the way we love now. Bruce Fink takes on our most tired and our most treasured clichés about love and subjects them all to rigorous analysis, producing insights that are anything but expected."
    Jessica Rosenfeld, Washington University in St. Louis

    "Clinicians and all of those with an interest in Lacan should be thankful for Fink and his ability to distill Lacan’s often complex formulations into easy-to-understand terms. Lacan on Love is a welcome addition to his continuing project to help Lacan take his rightful place in the English-speaking world as a major figure in psychoanalysis."
    Pyschology Today