On a Language That Does Not Cease Speaking: Blanchot and Lacan on the Experience of Language in Literature and Psychosis

Cathrine Bjørnholt Michaelsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    This essay shows how certain limit-points of Lacan's psychoanalytic discourse in his 1955–56 seminar on The Psychoses tangentially brush up against Maurice Blanchot's writing on the neuter, as presented in The Space of Literature from 1955. The effort is to strike up a conversation between Lacan's “clinical discourse” and Blanchot's “critical writing” on the topics of language, writing, authority, and madness. In this regard, the essay approaches an infinite point of approximation between the procedure of psychosis and the procedure of literary writing by questioning whether, at some point in these different ways of proceeding, they may share a certain experience of language. Namely, this is an experience of a language that, as stated by both Jacques Lacan and Maurice Blanchot, “speaks all by itself” and does so incessantly and with a certain furious neutrality.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalComparative and Continental Philosophy
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)132-147
    Number of pages16
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Published online: 04 Jun 2020


    • Language
    • Literature
    • Psychosis
    • Psychoanalysis
    • Maurice Blanchot
    • Jacques Lacan

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