Philadelphia Lacan Study Group

Saint Agatha, by Tiepolo

Saint Agatha, by Tiepolo

The Ecstacy of St. Teresa, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

The Ecstacy of St. Teresa, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Oedipus

Oedipus explains the riddle of the Sphinx, by J. A. D. Ingres

Detail of Saint Lucy, by del Cossa

Detail of Saint Lucy, by del Cossa

Thursday, April 27, 2017 (7:00 pm to 8:30 pm)

SEMINAR: Lacan On Laughter—The New LOL

LACAN ON LAUGHTER—THE NEW LOL

How to fight a situation which seems farcical? When reality reaches absurdity, the subversive power of laughter steps in. Laughter is never innocent, it happens to us, at times inappropriately and inauspiciously. Psychoanalysis is well known for having shed some light on the perennial mysteries of what we do not control – dreams, parapraxes, symptoms, and sexual problems. While the Freudian slip and the bungled act have become part of Western culture’s lingua franca, it is less commonly known that psychoanalysis provides revelatory insights about the mechanisms of jokes, comedy, humor and their effects.

Dreams, Freud noted, are “insufferably witty,” which revealed their predilection for bad puns. Having discovered that wit is at work in all unconscious processes, he related this process to his theory of the joke and the comic. Laughter was also serious business for Lacan. His interest in humor, jokes, and comedy was not purely scholarly but also practical; Lacan stated: “Life is not tragic. It is comic. This is however, why it is so curious that Freud would not find something better than the Oedipus complex, a tragedy, to discuss it, as if that was what it was all about. . .. He could have taken a shortcut – comedy.”

If psychoanalysis has long been associated with tragedy, there is now a strong incentive to take up comedy as a productive model for psychoanalytic practice and critique. This seminar will explore jokes, humor, and the comic. We will propose a paradigm swerve connecting Freud and Lacan about laughter. In this reading group we engage in a close reading of the texts followed by a discussion. The seminar is open to everyone interested.

WHERE? Kelly Writers House, ROOM # 203 Second Floor
38th and Locust Streets, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

FOR READING LIST : Please email: contact@lacangroup.org.

Co-curated by Patricia Gherovici and Manya Steinkoler.