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Unspeakable: Perversion, Psychoanalysis, Prosopopoeia

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>22/12/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>Filozofski Vestnik
Issue number1
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)97-112
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In order to speak in the voice of “the pervert,” psychoanalysis inevitably find itself performing the classic rhetorical act of prosopopoeia whereby an imagined, absent, or dead person is represented as speaking. To re-read Jacques-Alain Miller’s classic essay “On Perversion” (1996), for example, we find that the pervert is adjudged to be “unspeakable”—in every sense of that word—and so they can only be ventriloquized by the figure of the analyst. If the analyst seeks to speak on behalf of the pervert, however, this essay argues that the perverse speech act is itself a form of prosopopoeia which can ventriloquize the subject position of the hysteric, the neurotic, the psychotic, and even the analyst themselves. In conclusion, the essay argues that Miller’s account of the relationship between the analyst and the pervert, where each are seen to ventriloquize the other, bespeaks of a certain prosopopophilia—a love of prosopopoeia—that is the condition of being a speaking subject in the first place: I am always speaking for and as the other—even or especially when I am speaking as “myself.”