The Sexual Responsibility of Marguerite Duras: A Shameless Text

By  Dominique Fingermann


Dominique Fingermann, psychoanalyst, is a member of the School of Psychoanalysis of the Forums of the Lacanian Field, Brazil (EPFCL-Brasil).

Translated from the French (L’en-je lacanien 2013/2, n° 21) by Richard Jonathan. A translation of the rest of the article (this is but the beginning of the introduction) will follow later.

Posted by kind permission of Dominique Fingermann.

This study explores the erotic reach of Marguerite Duras’ texts, from her voyages along the shores of desire to her ravaging stopovers on the verge of jouissance.

We introduce this confrontation with M.D.’s shameless texts by taking an obligatory detour through the relationship of text and sex in the experience of psychoanalysis and through the recollection, with Georges Bataille, that erotic literature does not necessarily transgress the impossibility of a sexual relation but may take it up po-ethically. Roland Barthes is cited in passing as having located in writing that which evokes the pleasure of the text and convokes its jouissance.



The production of a shameless text: Is that what takes place in the experience of psychoanalysis?

The condition of the experience, the matter and field of its strategy, its tactics, its politics, is its fundamental rule: “Say everything”, even if it is improper, of no importance, inconsistent, untimely: in a word, impudent. Say everything: a text with no censorship and no shame.

It is a rule that implies, however, a grand promise, especially for those who, caught up in the modalities of their phantasy, tangle up their life in the models of their ideals. “Say everything” bears a kind of hope that still today leads many to take the path of psychoanalysis; let us hope they meet there “a partner who has the chance to respond”[1].

There is thus in the initial offer of analysis an implicit promise: that this unique path of speech, opened up by that “say everything”, may reveal, disclose or bring out that which was covered up, or repressed, but shamelessly returns in dreams, slips and symptoms. There is a hope, however vague, that the fluidity of speech can rid one of what returns insistently in repetitions, inhibitions and anxiety, or a hope that what is being repeated will find a voice hitherto unheard (of).


[1] Jacques Lacan (1972), « Introduction à l’édition allemande des Écrits », in Autres écrits, Paris, Seuil, 2001, p. 558.