The Cybernetic Unconscious: Lacan, Poe, and French Theory

Liu, Lydia H.

Chance put the text of Edgar Allan Poe's story “The Purloined Letter” at the disposal of Jacques Lacan and his psychoanalytic work, and this work has since made numerous surprising moves and detours through poststructuralist literary criticism. These moves and detours are guarding an open secret as to how Lacan discovered Poe's story for psychoanalysis. The secret—hiding in plain sight, as it were—has inadvertently barred us from knowing more. That is to say, something will remain unseen and unheard until we are prepared to reflect on what we know about Lacan through American literary criticism and, more importantly, what we do not know about American cybernetics in France or in the U.S. for that matter.


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Critical Inquiry

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Academic Units
East Asian Languages and Cultures
Published Here
November 18, 2014