Lacan, Psychoanalysis, and Comedy
Alenka Zupančič, Simon Critchley, et al.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. Octavo. Pictorial boards. 247 pages. First edition. Uncracked, fine.
This collection of essays explores laughter, humor, and the comic from a psychoanalytic perspective. Psychoanalysis has long been associated with tragedy. However, as the authors assembled here contend, there is a strong warrant to take up comedy as a more productive model for psychoanalytic practice and critique. Strong contributions from clinical and academic Lacanian psychoanalysts, also the obligatory chapter on Slavoj Žižek, the foremost Lacanian joker.
"If there is genuine novelty in the psychoanalytic take on jokes and comedy, it consists in recognizing them as the most spirited accomplices of the unconscious, as belonging to its most prominent “formations.” This is the logical result of the singularity of the Freudian unconscious. The Freudian unconscious does not refer to something irrational or strange to the thought process; on the contrary, the first Freudian lesson is that the unconscious thinks."