Read My Desire
Lacan against the Historicists
MIT Press: 1994. First edition. Hardcover in a jacket. Very good. Pages 33 - 38 have water damage and marginalia. Otherwise a crisp copy.
"Anxiety - again, like respect and terror - is not only not caused by an object, it is not even caused by any loss/ lack of object (which is why anxiety can be distinguished from disappointment, say, or grief). Rather than an object or its lack, anxiety signals a lack of lack, a failure of the symbolic reality wherein all alienable objects, objects that can be given or taken away, lost and refound, are constitued and circulate. Somewhat perversely, however, Lacan does refer to this encounter with a 'lack of lack' as an encounter with an object: object a. But this object is unique; it has neither an essence not a signification. It cannot be communicated or exchanged. It has, in in short, no objectivity. The danger that anxiety signals is the overproximity of this object a, this object so inalienable that like Dracula and all the other vampires of Gothic and Romantic fiction it cannot even be cast as a shadow or reflected as a mirror image, and yet so insubstantial that like Murnau's Nosferatu it can disappear in a puff of smoke.
Now, if the signal of anxiety cannot lie, if we cannot be misled as to its message, it stands to reason that any interpretation of anxiety is superfluous and inappropriate. But if interpretation is not the proper response, what is?"