Rowman and Littlefield International

Esoteric Lacan

Edited by Philipp Valentini and Mahdi Tourage

1 Review

This volume analyses how forms of the "religious", especially from outside the Western European tradition, shape Lacanian theory. It examines how the universal desire for meaning always expresses the radical impossibility for any speech to communicate something of the Real that is necessarily obscured by our own political existences.

Hardback ISBN: 9781786609700 Release date: Oct 2019
£90.00 €126.00 $135.00
Ebook ISBN: 9781786609717 Release date: Oct 2019
£29.95 €41.95 $43.00

Series: Reframing Continental Philosophy of Religion

Pages: 242


Jacques Lacan was fascinated with forms of the "religious" throughout his life, from monotheism, which shaped his account of the signifier, to modern occultism, as he was well acquainted with the writings of figures such as Oskar Goldberg and René Guénon. Lacan also repeatedly turned to non-European religiosities to test the limits of psychoanalytic theory. In his yearly seminars he engaged with traditions such as Kabbalah and Taoism, going beyond the Western Christian, capitalist and postcolonial setting of the French university to search for a possible outside to psychoanalysis. But such a quest ultimately recapitulates Lacan's constant awareness of the desire for a new master, and the still open question regarding the names and meanings that this desire may yield. This anthology of eleven essays, which travel from gnosticism to sufism, from afro-pessimism to post-68 ex-Maoist apocalypticism, investigates these unresolved threads that Lacan left behind. Beneath the exoteric psychoanalytic apparatus of Lacan's thought, there is an esoteric Lacan who remains unexplored.

Introduction, Philipp Valentini and Mahdi Tourage

Part I: Occulted Structures of Desire

1. “Solid Hatred Addressed to Being”: Lacan’s Gnostic Uses of Judaism, Agata Bielik-Robson

2. The Will of the American god: Anti-blackness, Jouissance-Sacrifice, and the Structuration of das Ding, Calvin Warren

3. Lacan and Sufism: Paths for Moving Beyond Pre- and Post-Modern Subjectivities, Mahdi Tourage

4. Jacques Lacan, Wilfred Bion, and the Inverted Kabbalah, Bruce Rosenstock

Part II: Logics of the Master

5. The Capitalist Exception: Discourse, Sexuation, and Infinity, John Holland

6. Assassination and Judgement, Miroslav Griško

7. The Devil’s Choice: Slavery and the Logic of the Vel, Jared Sexton and Sora Han

Part III: In Nothingness where Names and Meanings Gush Forth

8. Experiences of Transcendence in the Borromean Knot, Janina Maris Hofer

9. Freedom and Nothingness, between Theodicy and Anthropodicy: Lacan and (Un)Orthodox Perspectives, Davor Džalto

10. The Most Mysterious of Effusions: On the Presence of Jacques Lacan in the work of Benny Lévy, Gilles Hanus

11. Meaning and Emptiness: Introducing Ibn’ Arabi to Late Modern Minds, Philipp Valentini


Philipp Valentini is a PhD candidate and teaching assistant at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

Mahdi Tourage is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Social Justice and Peace Studies, King's University College at the Western University, Canada

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1 Review

Can psychoanalysis be useful to cure anything more than the neuroses created by the European bourgeois family structure? This book finally tackles this most important issue by exploring the resources available for this task with Lacan's thinking. As such, it is a must read to deepen the much needed process of de-provincializing psychoanalysis.

Chiara Bottici and Benoit Challand, New School for Social Research, authors of The Myth of the Clash of Civilizations

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