Webinar Series (October-March 2021)
Reading Lacan’s Seminar XX: Encore
Chapter 1: On Jouissance
With this choice of reading Lacan’s Seminar XX, the seminar famously titled: Encore, we have made our bed and now we must lie in it! For as Lacan says in this opening chapter: “I am first of all going to assume that you are in bed, a bed employed to its fullest, there being two of you in it.” He then goes on to tell us that he will leave us to our own devices on this bed, but not without first scrawling on the door of the exit a remark, a dit, which, though not yet elevated to the status of writing, in the specific sense that Lacan will give it in this seminar, will nevertheless come to orient us in what follows: “Jouissance of the Other (…) of the body of the Other who symbolises the Other, is not the sign of love”. It is a remark that will reverberate throughout the whole of the seminar, from this opening chapter “On Jouissance” to the final chapter on “Rings of String”, for it broaches a new paradigm of jouissance — one that Jacques-Alain Miller will identify as the sixth and final paradigm of jouissance in his teaching — based on what Lacan will come to formalise as the impossibility of writing the sexual relation. Indeed, what better image could we have of the bed to which Lacan consigns us in this opening chapter than the very table that Lacan draws out for his audience in chapter VII, in which the formulae of sexuation are inscribed: four terms divided two by two and for each pair a pillow; and beneath them some traces that indicate something of the dreams that we pursue on this bed as well as what goes on beneath its sheets. Everything in this opening chapter is designed to introduce this new paradigm to us, along with its consequences; for as Lacan says in this chapter: “Here then is the statement of the status of jouissance insofar as it is sexual. For one pole, jouissance is marked by the hole that leaves it no other path than that of phallic jouissance. For the other pole, can something be attained that would tell us how that which up until now has only been a fault (faille) or gap in jouissance could be realised?” To find out if it can, or at least how Lacan begins to broach this question, join us for this first instalment of our online Webinar on Encore — which as we learn in this chapter is “the proper name of the gap in the Other from which the demand for love stems”.