Gender and Text in the Later Middle Ages

By Jane Chance | Go to book overview
pears that Lacan's comparison between woman's jouissance and that of the mystic is bracketed and criticized as insufficient by a mystical text such as Angela of Foligno's, in which the interdiction of unspeakability is consciously recognized and often broken, and pleasure is actively articulated. Again, I may be making a long story short--in the fashion of what Lacan would have called an idiot. But a critical theory that turns the text to which it purports to refer into a speechless image needs to be readjusted: before offering an interpretation that silences the very possibility of woman's selfrepresentation by defining it as an essentially impossible task, the self-interpretive move of the mystic-not to mention that of the woman--needs to be carefully (re)considered.
Notes
Lacan, "Dieu et la jouissance de l/a femme", in Encore, 61-71. Citations to Encore will be followed by page numbers in the text. The most recent critical edition of Angela Book includes both the Latin and an early vernacular version: Il libro della beata Angela da Foligno, ed. Thier and Calufetti. I will be quoting from this edition; citations will be followed by page numbers in the text. Unless otherwise noted, all translations in this essay are mine.
Jardine, Gynesis, 25.
For an illuminating discussion of the mirror image in mystical literature and its relation to Lacan's theory of the mirror stage, see Beckwith, "Very Material Mysticism,"34-57.
Howard, "Note on the Text,"v. Lacan's first thematization of jouissance may be found in his "Subversion du sujet,"793-827.
Macey, Lacan in Context, 200.
Ibid., 200.
Barthes, Plaisir du texte.
Schneiderman, Jacques Lacan, 18-19.
Jardine, Gynesis, 167.
Lacan, "Subversion du sulet,"821.
For stimulating discussions of the relationship between Lacan and feminism, see Gallop, Daughter's Seduction; and Grosz, Jacques Lacan.
Rose, Sexuality in the Field of Vision, 76.
Président de Brosses, cited in Hibbard, Bernini, 241-42. In "La Foi qui guérit" ( 1893), Charcot calls Francis of Assisi and Teresa of Avila "undeniable hysterics." In Studies on Hysteria ( 1895), Breuer describes Teresa of Avila as "the patron saint of hysterics," and Krafft-Ebing, in his pioneering Psycbopatbia Sexualis ( 1886), refers to Teresa's "hysterical faints." Breuer and Freud, Studies on Hysteria, 2:232; Charcot and Richer, Démoniaques dans l'art, 114; Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis, 39.

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