Between the Preface and Seminar XI Itself

Between the Preface and Seminar XI Itself
Shlomo Lieber

By way of this short Preface, Lacan, in one fell swoop introduces his later teaching into Seminar XI. But the difference between the Preface and Seminar XI was so apparent and astounding to me that I had to ask what destiny had been summoned for the fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis in Lacan's later teaching, especially in comparison to the Preface itself. I shall refer here only to two concepts:

1. Transference: this concept, as proposed by J.-A. Miller [1], is included in the Preface in Lacan's neologism, hystory, and is generally reduced in his later teaching to concepts such as suggestion and fiction. [2] Alongside these terms, truth itself will become lying truth. It seems that what is known as “positive transference” – which is insubstantial because it is an outcome of mere assumption – will from now on become an addition of feeling [3]; and what is called “negative transference” will take center stage although its meaning will change considerably. It will exist from here on at the commencement of every analysis but in a certain way also at every ending, because “resistance” will reside henceforth deep within. But also the face of resistance will change: “The mirage of truth… (which… is called resistance), has no other terminal point than the satisfaction that marks the end of an analysis.” [4]

2. The drive, which Lacan deals with considerably in Seminar XI, is absent in the Preface. In Lacan's later teaching it seems to be replaced by jouissance. Nevertheless, surprisingly, in the Preface, the word jouissance also does not appear. What appears frequently is satisfaction.  Satisfaction is a term taken from the context of drives which Lacan examines in depth in Seminar XI.  Unlike the Preface, the word jouissance appears in Seminar XI in the chapters that deal with drives; however, it is fascinating how in these chapters, jouissance appears only in conjunction with perversion. [5] It seems to me that the word satisfaction in the Preface hints that we are dealing with the pleasure principle; this is the principle that is disrupted when jouissance breaches the body and the parletre is pushed to strive to retrieve its satisfaction .... until finally it will be said: Satis!

1 Miler, J.-A., “The Speaking Being and the Pass”, The Lacanian Review 6, “¡Urgent!”, NLS, 2018, p. 143. 

2 Lacan, J., Le Seminaire XXIV: L'insu que sait de l'une bevue s'aile a mourre, (Session of the 17th of May 1977, unpublished.

3 Laurent, É., “Disruption of Jouissance in the Madnesses Under Transference”, The Lacanian Review 6, “¡Urgent!”. op. cit., p. 177.

4 Lacan, J., "Preface to the English Edition of Seminar XI", ibid., p. 25.

5 Lacan, J., The Seminar, Book XI, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, tr. A. Sheridan, Hogarth Press, London, 1977, pp. 183-5.