Reading Seminar XX

Lacan's Major Work on Love, Knowledge, and Feminine Sexuality

Edited by Suzanne Barnard & Bruce Fink

Subjects: Cultural Studies
Series: SUNY series in Psychoanalysis and Culture
Paperback : 9780791454329, 198 pages, July 2002
Hardcover : 9780791454312, 198 pages, July 2002

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Table of contents

Suzanne Barnard

Knowledge and Jouissance
Bruce Fink

Hysteria in Scientific Discourse
Colette Soler

The Real of Sexual Difference
Slavoj Zizek

"Feminine Conditions of Jouissance"
Geneviève Morel

Love Anxieties
Renata Salecl

What Does the Unconscious Know about Women?
Colette Soler

Lacan’s Answer to the Classical Mind/Body Deadlock: Retracing Freud’s Beyond
Paul Verhaeghe

The Ontological Status of Lacan’s Mathematical Paradigms
Andrew Cutrofello

Tongues of Angels: Feminine Structure and Other Jouissance
Suzanne Barnard



Examines Lacan's key seminar on sexual difference, knowledge, desire, and love.


This collection offers the first sustained, in-depth commentary on Seminar XX, Encore, considered the cornerstone of Lacan's work on the themes of sexual difference, knowledge, jouissance, and love. Although Seminar XX was originally popularized as Lacan's treatise on feminine sexuality, these essays, by some of today's foremost Lacanian scholars, go beyond feminine sexuality to address Lacan's significant intertwining concern with the rupture between reality and the real produced by modern science, and the implications of this rupture for subjectivity, knowledge, jouissance, and the body.

The essays clarify basic concepts, but for readers already familiar with Lacan they also offer sophisticated workings-through of the more challenging and obscure arguments in Encore—both by tracing their historical development across Lacan's œuvre and by demonstrating their relation to particular philosophical, theological, mathematical, and scientific concepts. They cover much of the terrain necessary for understanding sexual difference—not in terms of chromosomes, body parts, choice of sexual partner, or varieties of sexual practice—but in terms of one's position vis-à-vis the Other and the kind of jouissance one is able to obtain. In so doing, they make significant interventions in the debates regarding sex, gender, and sexuality in feminist theory, philosophy, queer theory, and cultural studies.

Suzanne Barnard is Associate Professor of Psychology at Duquesne University, a clinical psychologist, and an experimental media artist. Bruce Fink is Professor of Psychology at Duquesne University and a Lacanian psychoanalyst. He is the author of several books on Lacan, and coeditor (with Richard Feldstein and Maire Jaanus) of Reading Seminar XI: Lacan's Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis and Reading Seminars I and II: Lacan's Return to Freud, both published by SUNY Press. He has also translated Lacan's Seminar XX, Encore: On Feminine Sexuality.


"This collection will be essential to the reading of Seminar XX in English. " — Kareen Ror Malone, coeditor of After Lacan: Clinical Practice and the Subject of the Unconscious

"Lacan's controversial and important work, only recently translated into English, now receives sustained commentary by a range of French and American voices. A comprehensive, focused collection. " — Charles Shepherdson, author of Vital Signs: Nature, Culture, Psychoanalysis