This article investigates the applicability of certain aspects of Lacanian psychoanalytic theory to the study of visual satire and/or caricature. Lacan’s treatment of the phenomenon of visual anamorphosis can provide a fruitful new way of thinking about the art of caricature. The visual exaggerations and distortions central to the art of caricature function as they do, as works of social or political satire, by virtue of the extent to which they expose the psychological emptiness or hollowness (castration) which inheres in all human social or symbolic activity. This argument is then applied to the political circumstances prevailing in late Georgian England: in particular, the visual satirical treatment devoted to the nature and status of the monarchy during this period is examined in the light of foregoing arguments.
Lacan and the Satirists
Sartre's phobia of crabs is traced through his experimental experience with mescaline and such literary works as Nausea, The Words and The Condemned of Altona. The phobia is analysed through an examination of Sartre's biphasic childhood Oedipus complex and attendant castration anxiety relating to his mother, father and stepfather. Finally, the question is raised of what the existence of unconscious phobias might imply about the relations between existentialism and psychoanalysis.
The Fleshy Horror of the Unknowable Other in Spring and Honeymoon
Leigh Janiak’s Honeymoon (2014) and Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s Spring (2015) initially seem like two horror films birthed in the spirit of classical psychoanalytic film criticism. They deal with a monstrous female, a fearful, castrated male, and the “otherness” of sexual relationships. Through a close analysis of each film, however, I suggest in the following that both films “think” through problems of the gendered other, sexual politics, and cinematic affect outside the bounds of contemporary psychoanalytic or affect theory. By suggesting and analyzing two neologisms that blend the insights of psychoanalytic and affective film theory—objet a(ffect) and che(www) vuoi—I argue that both films not only complicate typical readings of horror films “about” gender and sex, but that each film performs its own type of philosophical thought about gender and “otherness” through its very form and content.
A Psychoanalytic Reading of Hamlet and Catch-22
Bahareh Azad and Pyeaam Abbasi
The double-bind dilemma that Hamlet is engulfed in places him in a catch-22 situation from which there seems to be no way out. Locked in a psychological impasse exacerbated by a deficient Oedipal process due to the father’s death and mother’s remarriage, he is driven into (feigning) insanity, a situation that brings him close to Yossarian, Heller’s paranoid antihero who is as much inept in the face of the paternalistic ordeal he is subjected to as an army fighter. Evading the fear of castration on the one hand and becoming consumed with guilt for the incompetence to face the trial on the other give rise to problematic identities of both protagonists and numerous evasive strategies they plot. Nevertheless, through mainly linguistic/textual acts of defiance, these initially victimized subjects to the law of the father turn into rebels, mastering and thus making the Symbolic order backfire on itself.