The Theory of Symbolism : 29th January 1916 (London) : Ernest Jones

by Julia Evans on January 29, 1916

Published 1) British Journal of Psychology : Vol 9 : no 2 : Oct 1916 &

2) Ernest Jones : Papers on Psycho-Analysis : Fifth Edition : 1948 : p87-144 : Available [here]

7th December 2018 : To request a copy of any text whose weblink does not work, contact Julia Evans: je.lacanian@icloud.com : For fuller details, see Notice : Availability of texts from LacanianWorks by Julia Evans or here

Referred to Jacques Lacan

The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis (Rome) : 26th September 1953 : Jacques Lacan : Information Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan or here

Seminar IV : 5th December 1956 & 12th December 1956 : See Seminar IV : The Object Relation & Freudian Structures 1956-1957 : begins 21st November 1956 : Jacques Lacanor here

In memory of Ernest Jones: On his Theory of Symbolism: Jan to Mar 1959 : This essay was written in Guitrancourt, January to March 1959, and was published in ‘La Psychanalyse V (1960) p1-20 : p585-601 of Écrits, Jacques Lacan, The first complete edition in English : translated by Bruce Fink : W.W. Norton & Co : 2002

Intervention, during Seminar VII, on Hans Sperber’s “On the Influence of Sexual Factors on the Origin and Development of Language” (as commented on by Ernest Jones) and sublimation : 9th March 1960 (p164) : Mme Hubert or here

Seminar VII : 9th March 1960 : p163 of Dennis Porter’s translation : see Seminar VII: The ethics of psychoanalysis: 1959-1960: begins 18th November 1959 : Jacques Lacan or here

I am now going to ask Madame Hubert to speak. She will be talking to you about a text that is frequently referred to in analytic literature, namely, Sperber’s article entitled “On the Influence of Sexual Factors on the Origin and Development of Language,” [1914: Imago I. I have been unable to find this in German or an English translation] but it also touches on all kinds of problems relative to what we have to say about sublimation.

In his article on the theory of symbolism – an article on which I wrote a commentary in our journal but which, I have heard, is not particularly accessible to a reader – Jones expressly singles out the Sperber article. If, he says, Sperber’s theory is true, if we must consider certain forms of primitive work, agricultural work, in particular, the relations between man and the earth, as the equivalent of the sexual act, features whose traces are, as it were, retained in the meaning we give that primitive relation, then can this be explained by the process of symbolization? Jones says no. In other words, given the conception he has of the function of the symbol, he considers that what is involved is by no means a symbolic transposition, neither can it be registered as a sublimation effect. The sublimation effect is to be taken in its liberality, in its authenticity. The copulation between the ploughman and the earth is not a symbolization but the equivalent of a symbolic copulation.

It is worth taking the time to reflect on that, and in my article I draw certain consequence to which I will return. Sperber’s text appeared in the first issue of Imago, and it is perhaps even more difficult to find than the others. But so that it may receive its due, Mme Hubert has been good enough to concentrate on it, and she will tell us today what it contains.

Commentary

Seminar VII : 9th March 1960 : p164 : Missing intervention by Mme Hubert : Reading Group of 19th October 2013 or here

Seminar VII : 11th May 1960 : p226 of Dennis Porter’s translation : see Seminar VII: The ethics of psychoanalysis: 1959-1960: begins 18th November 1959 : Jacques Lacan or here

Psychoanalysts have given themselves plenty of room in the effort to see what this cloth symbolizes; they tell us what it both shows and hides, that the symbolism of clothes is a valid symbolism, without our knowing whether at any given moment what is being done with this cloth-phallus concerns disclosure or concealment. The profound bivalence of the whole of analytical theory on the subject of the symbolism of clothes enables us to evaluate the impasse reached with the notion of the symbol as handled up till now in psychoanalysis. If you are able to find the large volume of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis that was produced for Jones’s fiftieth birthday, you will see an article by Flügel on the symbolism of clothes in which you will find the same impasses I pointed to, in the last issue of our journal, in Jones’s own articulation of symbolism, but in an even more striking and almost caricatural form. 

References to Sigmund Freud

The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious : 1905 : See Sigmund Freud’s texts available electronically  or here for availability

The Interpretation of Dreams: 1st November 1899 (published as 1900): Sigmund Freud  or here

Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality: 1905d

Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis: 1916

Totem and Taboo : 1913

 

Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst in Earl’s Court, London

 

7th December 2018 : To request a copy of any text whose weblink does not work, contact Julia Evans: je.lacanian@icloud.com : For fuller details, see Notice : Availability of texts from LacanianWorks by Julia Evans or here

 

Further posts:

Lacanian Transmission here

Some Lacanian history : here

Of the clinic here

By Ernest Jones here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

Jacques Lacan in English or here

Translation Working Group here

Use of power here