The Most Crucial Concept in Psychoanalysis

By Juan-David Nasio
Translated by David Pettigrew & François Raffoul

Subjects: Psychoanalysis, Phenomenology, French Studies, Human Sexuality, Developmental Psychology
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary French Thought
Paperback : 9781438433608, 130 pages, July 2011
Hardcover : 9781438433615, 130 pages, October 2010

Table of contents

Translators’ Acknowledgments
Preface to the American Edition: Translators’ Introductory Interview with Dr. J.-D. Nasio
No Child Escapes Oedipus!
1. The Oedipus of the Boy
In the Beginning Was the Body of Erogenous Sensations
The Three Incestuous Desires
The Three Fantasms of Pleasure
The Three Fantasms of Castration Anxiety
The Resolution of the Boy’s Oedipus Complex: The Desexualization of the Parents
Compared to Women, Men Are Essentially Cowards
The Fruits of the Oedipus Complex: The Super-Ego and Sexual Identity
Summary of the Logic of the Boy’s Oedipus
2. The Oedipus of the Girl
A Pre-Oedipal Time: The Girl Is Like a Boy
A Time of Solitude: The Girl Feels Alone and Humiliated
The Time of Oedipus: The Girl Desires her Father
The Resolution of Oedipus: The Woman Desires a Man
The Most Feminine Woman Always Has Her Father within Her
Summary of the Logic of the Girl’s Oedipus Complex
3. Questions and Answers Concerning Oedipus
4. Oedipus Is the Cause of Ordinary and Morbid Neuroses for Men and Women
5. Archipelago of Oedipus
Castration Does not Exist!
The Figures of the Father in the Masculine Oedipus
The Figures of the Mother in the Feminine Oedipus
The Figures of the Phallus in the Feminine Oedipus
The Super-Ego and the Three Roles of the Father in the Masculine Oedipus
Playing with Dolls
The Fantasm of Phallic Omnipotence
Phobia Is a Projection, Hysteria a Rebellion, and Obsession a Displacement
The Bisexual Signifi cation of a Neurotic Symptom
What Is Hysteria?
Hysteria Suffered by an Adult Was Provoked by an Overly Sensual Relation between the Child that He or She Was and the Parents
The Hysterical Woman and Her Fear of Love
The Three Lacanian Figures of the Father in Oedipus
Symbolic, Real, and Imaginary
The Three Types of Lack in Oedipus: A Table Comparing the Masculine and Feminine Positions
6. Excerpts from the Work of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan on Oedipus

First English translation of Nasio's groundbreaking work on the Oedipus complex.


2011 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

In this long-awaited book, Juan-David Nasio, one of France's leading Lacanian psychoanalysts, argues that the Oedipus complex represents the core of psychoanalysis as well as the fundamental constitution of the human being. Defying contemporary claims of an alleged "death of psychoanalysis," and in contrast with recent attempts to minimize the relevance of Oedipus for the psyche, Nasio approaches Oedipus as a legend that helps to make sense of the origins of sexual identity and neurotic suffering. Nasio makes the provocative claim that the entirety of the psychoanalytical corpus, all of its concepts, including repression, sublimation, the theory of the drives, desire, as well as the phantasm of the phallus and castration anxiety, revolves around the idea that the child desires the parents. However, insofar as such desire is bound to be contradicted, frustrated, and repressed, Nasio redefines psychoanalysis in light of Oedipus as a discipline concerned with the very limits of human desire.

Included in Oedipus is a fascinating interview with Nasio, which was conducted by the translators for this book.

Juan-David Nasio is a psychoanalyst who lives and works in Paris and was the first psychoanalyst to be inducted into the prestigious French Legion of Honor. David Pettigrew is Professor of Philosophy at Southern Connecticut State University. François Raffoul is Professor of Philosophy at Louisiana State University. Their many books include translations of Nasio's Five Lessons on the Psychoanalytic Theory of Jacques Lacan and The Book of Love and Pain: Thinking at the Limit with Freud and Lacan, both also published by SUNY Press.


"…Nasio advances the argument that the Oedipus complex remains at the center of psychoanalysis—indeed, that without it there can be no psychoanalysis." — PsycCRITIQUES

"…Nasio has written a splendid, erudite, and concise volume on what is arguably the central concept in psychoanalysis—the Oedipus complex … A welcome addition to and clarification of the significant body of work on sexual identity, this volume will be valuable across the social sciences and humanities, and appreciated for its clarity, concision, and relevance … Highly recommended." — CHOICE