Essay Analysis

1) What are the two senses of the word “invention” that Montrelay speaks about in “The Double Status”? How does Barthes’s discussion of the history of rhetoric in “The Old Rhetoric” expand your appreciation of what is at stake in invention subjectively? How is the archaic notion of invention Montrelay alerts us to resonant with the claim Lacan makes is his early work concerning the status of the rhetorician as the precursor of the psychoanalyst? In what way does invention in the archaic sense Montrelay alerts us to related to the floating attention required of the psychoanalyst? What is the relation of said floating attention to the unconscious as a floating field as she describes it with the help of quantum physics? What may the practice of floating attention generate in the libidinal economy of the unconscious that is akin to invention in the ancient sense? Describe and discuss what formal and economic transformations are involved.

2) Jan Mukarovsky speaks of poetry as “violence done to usage.” Structurally speaking, Mukarovsky’s thesis is close to Shklovsky’s sense of the poetic as defamiliarization of what has become habitual. The signifier “violence,” albeit used metaphorically, brings the dimension of the drive, of jouissance, and hence of the flesh that is the site of jouissance, into the field of the poetic. How, then, is the poetic imbricated with the body of the drives as psychoanalysis speaks of it? How is this imbrication manifest in the foundational texts of psychoanalysis such as Freud Letter 52 to Fliess and the Project for a Scientific Psychology?

3) In “The Double Status of the Unconscious” Montrelay speaks of what is one of her most original contributions to psychoanalytic theory: the concept of the “leap” (le saut), the ejection of a fragment from the unconscious once it transitions from a floating (or ondulatory) configuration to a fragmentary (or crepuscular) one. In her book, L’ombre et le nom: sur la feminite (The Shadow and the Name: On Femininity” ), she relates this concept to the circuit of the drive, that is o say, the fragment that leaps is a precipitate of the drive. What might we learn from this concept for poetic theory? In what way does thinking of the poetic in Montrelay’s term, not as a vehicle of sense and not even in the Shklovskian sense as what impedes sense, but as a precipitate of the drive ejected under particular psychic/economic conditions change our conception of the poetic,in particular in its connection with femininity as she conceptualizes it in “Inquiry into Femininity””?

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