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Title: Symbolic survival : beyond the destruction of language in Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea and Patrick Suskind’s Perfume
Authors: Lloyd, Declan
Keywords: Conceptualism
Death in literature
Transcendence (Philosophy)
Discourse analysis, Literary
Symbolism in literature
Issue Date: 2018-06
Publisher: University of Malta. Department of English
Citation: Lloyd, D. (2018). Symbolic survival : beyond the destruction of language in Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea and Patrick Süskind’s Perfume. Antae Journal, 5(2), 169-181.
Abstract: In his theory of psychoanalysis Jacques Lacan puts forward his famous conceptualisation of the three primary orders—the imaginary, the symbolic and the real—which are the pillars in the constitution of the subject. Lacan’s dual theorisation of death skirts that of biological, physical death, and instead centers around the symbolic death: that is, as Jin Sook Kim neatly summarises, ‘the radical annihilation of the symbolic order through which reality is constituted […] this death implies the obliteration of the signifying network itself’. How then, could such a symbolic death be expressed through the linguistic confines of literary fiction? In some cases, this breakdown is presented not just through the more overt disintegration of language, but through images and other metatextual visual dimensions. In others, the survival beyond the symbolic death allows for transcendence into a psychical state beyond the stable, rational mind which is so cordoned and confined within the symbolic order, and beyond the malignant clutches of what Slavoj Žižek designates as the presiding ‘Big Other’. In this paper, I shall analyse a number of key texts by late modernist authors who navigate this point at which the symbolic order breaks down and the structures of language fail, paving the way for the ensuing ‘real’.
Appears in Collections:Antae Journal, Volume 5, Issue 2
Antae Journal, Volume 5, Issue 2

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