In the world of psychoanalysis, Lacan's return to Freud' is a phrase that has been used to vindicate Jacques Lacan as, finally, a Freudian. In "Essays on the Pleasure of Death," Ellie Ragland clarifies the differences between basic concepts in Freud and Lacan and discusses the interconnectedness of both men's theories, while maintaining that crucial differences continue to exist.
She argues that Lacan's return' gave coherence to concepts which Freud could never explain: psychosis, narcissism, the body and the death drive. Grounded in clinical experience, and drawing on Lacan's as-yet-untranslated seminars through 1981, "Essays on the Pleasure of Death" demonstrates to the reader the transformation and translation Freud has undergone, and places him as a psychoanalyst--not a philosopher--in both theory and practice.
Ragland discusses the reworking of the death drive and the concept of "jouissance," and examines Lacanian theory regarding the body, meaning systems, and how they shape "the real." Ragland also presents the reader with the ethical implication of psychoanalysis--if an analyst knows the causes of suffering, how to alleviate it and how to help the analysand "re"constitute desire, then the analyst is obligated to urge the breaking up of lethal "jouissance" in favor of desire. Ragland also explains how, for Lacan, words like sexuality' and gender' are inadequate to the task of mapping what is in play.
"Essays on the Pleasure of Death" will be essential reading for those involved in psychoanalysis, as well as readers in English, comparative literature, film, philosophy and gender studies.