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Psychoanalysis and the Unrepresentable: From Culture to the Clinic
Piotrowska, Agnieszka, and Ben Tyrer (Eds.)
Routledge / Softcover / 2017-02-01 / 1138954985
reg price: $87.95 our price: $ 79.16 (may be subject to change)
246 pages
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Psychoanalysis and the Unrepresentable opens a space for meaningful debate about translating psychoanalytic concepts from the work of clinicians to that of academics and back again. Focusing on the idea of the unrepresentable, this collection of essays by psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, counsellors, artists and film and literary scholars attempts to think through those things that are impossible to be thought through completely.

Offering a unique insight into areas like trauma studies, where it is difficult – if not impossible – to express one’s feelings, the collection draws from psychoanalysis in its broadest sense and acts as a gesture against the fixed and the frozen. Psychoanalysis and the Unrepresentable is presented in six parts: Approaching Trauma, Sense and Gesture, Impossible Poetics, Without Words, Wounds and Suture and Auto/Fiction. The chapters therein address topics including touch and speech, adoption, the other and grief, and examine films including Gus Van Sant’s Milk and Michael Haneke’s Amour. As a whole, the book brings to the fore those things which are difficult to speak about, but which must be spoken about.

The discussion in this book will be key reading for psychoanalysts, including those in training, psychotherapists and psychotherapeutically-engaged scholars, academics and students of culture studies, psychosocial studies, applied philosophy and film studies, filmmakers and artists.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Representing the Unrepresentable Agnieszka Piotrowska and Ben Tyrer 1. The Body Locked by a Lack of Meaning Katrine Zeuthen and Marie Hagelskjær 2. Trauma without a Subject: On Malabou, Psychoanalysis and Amour 3. A Possible Way to Represent the Un-representable in Clinical Trauma Yaelle Sibony-Malpertu 4. (Un)Representing the Real: Seeing Sounds and Hearing Images Thomas Elsaesser 5. On Touching and Speaking in (Post) (de) Colonial discourse: from Lessing to Marechera and Veit-Wild Agnieszka Piotrowska 6. Pointing at the Other Goran Vraneševic 7. Is poetics a fiction about truth – in a poem? Some remarks about Paul Celan René Rasmussen 8. Presenting The Unrepresentable In Presentable Ways Pia Hylén 9. Duras and the Art of the Impossible Carin Franzén 10. Representation without Language: Freud and the Problem of the Image Annie Hardy 11. Understanding Without Words John Miller 12. Rethinking the Primal Wound, Trauma and the Fantasy of Completeness: Adopted Women’s Experiences of Meeting their Biological Fathers in Adulthood Elizabeth Hughes 13. Embodying Traumatic Griefscapes Per Roar 14. Suture and Gus Van Sant’s Milk Richard Rushton 15. Unnameable Anna Backman Rogers 16. Each Day at a Time Myna Trustram 17. The Scent of Philosophy Birthe Tranberg Nikolajsen Gregersen Index


‘This anthology sets out to 'do the impossible' in interrogating the paradoxes of unrepresentable and unspeakable experience. Drawing together an impressive array of writers from diverse fields including those of clinical practice, film and literary studies, post-colonial theory and cultural analysis, it weaves a complex matrix of ideas grounded in the work of psychoanalytic thinkers as diverse as Freud, Lacan, Bion, Malabou, Winnicott and Meltzer. The essays are lively and compelling, offering new perspectives on themes such as trauma and embodiment, silence and invisibility in the digital age of media, the psychodynamics of touch, voice, gesture, love, grief, adoption, and anxiety. A wide range of textual material embracing literature, cinema, poetry, language, meta psychology and metaphysics, provides the basis for philosophical and psychological commentary that is often astute, and the daring inclusion of creative work premised on personal experience acts as an emotional coup de foudre. Piotrowska and Tyrer have curated a cracking compendium, one that seduces and challenges in equal measure, and one that will surely become essential reading for anyone interested in the riches of psychoanalytic enquiry.’ - Caroline Bainbridge, Professor of Culture and Psychoanalysis, University of Roehampton, UK

'This is an important collection that speaks to contemporary events with compassion and poignancy. Piotrowska and Tyrer’s Psychoanalysis and the Unrepresentable: From culture to the clinic is simultaneously wound and suture. It both opens and seeks to comprehend the cultural fault lines that exist around trauma, abuse, race, image and language itself. These diverse, and at times provocative essays, allow for an outpouring of the unconscious and the experience of pain and anxiety. It is the inability to speak with the inability to be silent that suffuses this radical collection and yet it is these same tensions in this book that serve to heal the cultural body.' – Luke Hockley, Professor of Media Analysis, University of Bedfordshire, UK and author of Somatic Cinema (2014)

About the Editors

Agnieszka Piotrowska,PhD, is an acclaimed filmmaker and theorist. Her current work focuses on post-colonial relationships in Zimbabwe. She is the author of Psychoanalysis and Ethics in Documentary Film; Black and White: Cinema, politics and the arts in Zimbabwe and the editor of Embodied Encounters: New approaches to psychoanalysis and cinema (all Routledge). She is a Reader in Film at the University of Bedfordshire.

Ben Tyrer teaches Film Studies at King’s College London. He has published widely on psychoanalysis and cinema.

Piotrowska and Tyrer together run Psychoanalysis in Our Time, an international research network funded by the Nordic Summer University.

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