Academic Commons

Articles

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.

Files

Also Published In

Title
Critical Inquiry
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1086/648527

More About This Work

Academic Units
East Asian Languages and Cultures
Published Here
November 18, 2014
Academic Commons provides global access to research and scholarship produced at Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary. Academic Commons is managed by the Columbia University Libraries.