Lacan On Madness -
Review by Anna Fishzon:
Patricia Gherovici and Manya Steinkoler reminded me of something very important and unsettling: I have a brush with madness every night. Most of us do – when we dream. Or fall in love; or write poetry; or free-associate. Madness resides within all speaking beings and erupts in the most ordinary activities. In fact, ordinariness, rationality, and normalcy can be the most maddening phenomena of all. In editing Lacan on Madness: Madness, Yes You Can't (Routledge, 2015) Gherovici and Steinkoler consciously employ the non-nosological, capacious — one might even say literary – term "madness" to resist normative and abjecting approaches to the insane and think in novel and flexible ways about both psychosis and neurosis. Eschewing diagnostic categories like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, the editors embrace "madness" precisely because it exceeds the DSM and the clinic, does not lend itself easily to medication, and inspires controversy and innovative reflection.
The volume brings together eighteen impressive Lacanian theorists and analysts and invites them to ponder encounters with madness in the clinical setting and in the everyday. Several offer fresh perspectives on the category of psychosis – "ordinary," atypical, melancholic, and otherwise; a few allow madness to elicit new technique and modes of listening in the clinical setting; others focus on madness in contemporary culture. Some of the most daring chapters describe and interpret the creative ways authors, both famous and unknown, stave off madness or convert it into art. While maintaining that we cannot choose to go crazy, most authors insist that we can direct madness to productive ends.
The volume asks difficult questions. Is madness dire oppression or radical freedom? The abyss or the pinnacle of subjectivity? Darkness or the repository of truth and knowledge? Both in print and in this interview, the contributors and editors of Lacan on Madness provide varied, paradoxical, and inspiring answers.
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