Psychoanalysis and the Unrepresentable

Psychoanalysis and the Unrepresentable: from Culture to the Clinic, edited by Agnieszka Piotrowska and Ben Tyrer, Routledge, 2016.


A year ago, we were putting together this manuscript and now it has been published! The first collection emerging out of the fantastic work that has been going on for the last three years in the Psychoanalysis in Our Time research network, supported by the Nordic Summer University. Drawing on papers presented in both Copenhagen and Tallinn, as well as incorporating further, original work from international scholars, this is a book of which we are immensely proud. Thank you to all of our contributors and to everyone who helped to make this happen.

Table of Contents:

Introduction – Agnieszka Piotrowska & Ben Tyrer

The Body Locked by a Lack of Meaning – Katrine Zeuthen & Marie Hagelskaer

Trauma without a Subject: On Malabou, Psychoanalysis and Amour – Ben Tyrer

A Possible Way to Represent the Unrepresentable in Clinical Trauma – Yaelle Sibony-Malpertu

(Un)Representing the Real: Seeing Sounds and Hearing Images – Thomas Elsaesser

On Touching and Speaking in (post) (de) colonial discourse – from Lessing to Marechera and Veit-Wild – Agnieszka Piotrowska

Pointing at the Other – Goran Vranesevic

Is Poetics a Fiction about Truth – in a Poem? Some Remarks about Paul Celn – Rene Rasmussen

Presenting the unrepresentable in presentable ways – Pia Hylen

Duras and the Art of the Impossible – Carin Franzen

Representation without Language: Freud and the Problem of the Image – Annie Hardy

Understanding without Words – John Miller

Rethinking the Primal Wound, Trauma and the Fantasy of Completeness: Adopted Women’s Experiences of Meeting their Biological Fathers in Adulthood – Elizabeth Joyce

Embodying Traumatic Griefscapes – Per Roar

Suture and Gus Van Sant’s Milk – Richard Rushton

Unnameable – Anna Backman Rogers

Each Day at a Time – A Daily Intervention into Loss – Myna Trustram

The Scent of Philosophy – Birthe Tranberg Nikolajsen Gregersen

“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])