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ICLO-NLS Open Seminar “Literature and Psychoanalysis in Dialogue”

ICLO-NLS ICLO-NLS OPEN SEMINAR LACAN & THE ARTS Literature and Psychoanalysis in Dialogue “MOTHER … MOTHER … MOTHERS…” IRISH WRITERS’ CENTRE – DUBLIN SATURDAY – NOVEMBER 9 – 2013 This conference aims to bring together the fields of psychoanalysis and literature in a lively and equal exchange around a theme that is relevant to our time and which has been explored in its own unique way by each field. Using this binocular effect, the conference seeks to elaborate and interrogate the contemporary forms of life we engage with and invent as human beings – and – to consider our prospects. Writing and literature from the beginning of history have been of fundamental importance to human beings and through them we shape the ways we see ourselves and the world around us. Indeed, writing often “wakes us up” as subjects as it endeavours to, and succeeds in, touching on our innermost sense of self. Psychoanalysis too has this focus as it presents us with a view of the human subject as opaque to him or herself, as caught in an essentially linguistic history, and in suffering, as a subject who is unable to “read” his or her symptom and how such symptoms cipher for the subject a singular and particular form of jouissance/enjoyment. Following on from the theme of last year’s conference, entitled “All Our Fathers …”, this year we seek to explore the other side of this equation – evoking arguably the most deeply resonant word in language, namely, “mother”. “What is a mother?” This is one of many questions that will be a focus for this conference as will be the question of the varieties of mothers today – from the past and into the future. Such questions cannot, of course, be separated from the question of “woman” – her images and symbols – even as today we are on the edge of a civilisation that, for the first time in human history, is able to go beyond the reference point of the biological in considering what forms of life we engage with. Here we can note how Jacques Lacan, in his seminar of 1963/64, stated the following: “In the psyche, there is nothing by which the subject may situate himself as a male or female being. In his psyche, the subject situates only equivalents of the function of reproduction – activity and passivity, which by no means represent it in an exhaustive way” (p. 204). In this year’s conference, with the participation of Mary O’ Donnell (poet and writer) and Niall MacMonagle (teacher, broadcaster and editor) the focus is on the poetic, which is a form of writing that deeply respects formality of structure and the multifaceted resonance of the spoken word. Psychoanalysis, though a practice that takes place between two subjects, puts a similar emphasis on language and subjective articulation. We look forward to the intersection of these two discourses on a theme that is both important and relevant today – as indeed it has always been. MOTHER … MOTHER … MOTHERS … Literature and Psychoanalysis in Dialogue Irish Writers’ Centre – 19 Parnell Square – Dublin 1 Benedict Kiely Room : 9.30am-4.15pm FEE €40 / €20 (students/unwaged) includes refreshments and light lunch All welcome


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