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Why did you tell me I love Mommy and that's why I'm frightened when I love you.

May 14, 1982

I recently re-read the account of the Seminar on "The Object-Relation." In it, Lacan clearly grasped what Freud failed to see: that it is less a matter of owning a big penis than picturing it to oneself as a spare part.(1) That a young boy may represent his penis to himself as removable is not, according to Lacan, a mere fantasy. And it is not blind chance if Little Hans experienced the plumber fantasy at the moment when his phobia was about to be resolved. The fact that he imagined his member as an instrument that can be dismanded, replaced with another, then screwed back on again-means that the status of the latter object had just changed. As a real penis, it had just been struck down with nullity. Conversely, it had attained the function of "signifier," i.e. a verbal element that can be displaced by thought, that may take on all sorts of meaning, depending on its relation to other elements, like a pawn on a chess-board. Though simply stated, this hypothesis is not so easy to follow, however, for the term "signifier," having been used every conceivable way for twenty years, has floating meanings and consequently lands anyone who uses it on slippery ground. To solidify our ideas, as well as to grasp what was at stake for Lacan in this term (in 1957), we shall have to go back to the Seminar and its topic: the clinical case of Little Hans.

When his horse phobia began, making a nightmare of his walks through the streets of Vienna - then filled with omnibuses, hackney carriages, delivery wagons, gigs, in short, many horse-drawn vehicles - the child was four years old. Lacan is in agreement with Freud over the immediate causes of the symptom: a major event, the discovery of masturbation, had taken place the year before. Why major? Was it because it initiated Little Hans into pleasure, juissance? Nothing is certain here. The little man had long enjoyed the delights of reciprocal love, fully shared with his mother - a love so tender and at times so sensual that the father felt entitled to complain of neglect. Little Hans had already known bliss. But the characteristic of this new pleasure was that he could no longer share it. Not only was it forbidden by the woman he loved - but one day she even told him how contemptible she found it, adding that such a dirty act, such filthiness deserved a punishment suited to its loathsome character: to have the doctor come and cut off his "widdler" Yet the little boy persisted. He couldn't help it. When he was alone in bed, how could he not experiment with all the things his instrument could do, an instrument which, incidentally, was beckoning him, calling out for attention. So, for the first time in his life, Hans acted by himself. And in so doing, he separated from his mother - he "unglued himself" from her, says Lacan (and the word is indeed quite accurate). But by the same token he was placed outside the cozy universe in which his raison d'etre was secured by his being - what, if not the "phallus," i.e. the object fulfilling the desire of a darling mother? Not without good reason, he knew he was everything to her: child, friend, lover, king. Yet doesn't the son of every mother occupy such a choice place - albeit sometimes in a more subdued mode? Is he not the one who, at the dawn of life, in his weakness, in his surrender to the care of the woman he loves, gives her the gift of the phallus? And he does this much better than his mother's man, too jealous of his virility, too afraid of having it taken away from him to wish anything more than to display it, as long as amorous interplay is kept up.

Yet masturbation threatens Little Hans for another reason. By experiencing the pleasure peculiar to his member, he is put in a position he has never been in before, the position of the man, and thus of his father, whose rival he becomes. And since his small-size penis could not possibly fill the function he assumes any woman would expect it to perform, he has to acknowledge that, in this realm, says Lacan, "he doesn't carry enough weight." He who defined himself as satisfying, better than anyone else, the woman he loves, has fallen from grace, a "poor wretch" who no longer knows who he is.

So, while going along with Freud in drawing the outlines of the Oedipus complex, Lacan puts more emphasis on the traumatic effects of the mother/child separation. It is as if the boy's member, his "real penis," says Lacan, cast him out of paradise, and tore him from the sorts of impulse, pride and certainty on which his narcissism had rested until then. If I am not her phallus, then who am I? A gap is open, a hole within meaning, and at its edge the young subject wavers - for it threatens to swallow him like the huge horse's mouth that Hans saw open wide. Anxiety is there, close at hand. Let's suppose his father - the only one capable of suggesting new guidelines to him - is silent or is "a poor sort" to his mother, another agency must urgently take his place. In Hans's case it will be "the horse," a mythical animal mediating between anxiety and cure.

For - far from being an ordinary animal - the horse is a "signifier"; first it is hurt, having fallen to the ground, a prisoner of its own weight; then it will ultimately carry the child away in its motion. A rare fact - and a precious one since it makes it possible to specify the clinical use made of the concept of signifier-here Lacan gives evidence of how he conceives the latter's function: it is exactly the same as that which phobia endows it with. Phobia, far from giving the horse a trite and univocal meaning - as would ordinary language - endows the animal with the poetic power of signifying one by one certain essential moments in Little Hans's life that for some time have become unspeakable. Burdened with the same unfathomable non-sense - yet a non-sense given with a different meaning each time - the horse changes place, it progressively sets in motion Hans's uncertain assessment of the situation (a "walking phobia," says Lacan). It makes it gradually more specific, introducing new threads and unsuspected values and perspectives. Moreover, thanks to the horse, to its essential characteristic as permutation," which is also that of the signifier, a myth is being invented and organized.

An Oedipal myth, which is a "complex" or a "structure" as well. The first term is Freud's, who understood it by closely following the etymology of complecti, to retain. The complex is a set of words, memories and persons retained in and by a relation (he also mentions the word "constellation"); structure, the word used by Lacan in his Seminar, in the wake of Levi-Strauss, specifies and designates the same complex, while stressing the fact that each element has a meaning only by and in relation to others. Oedipal complex and structure involve at least three terms: father, mother and child - connected as well as separated by the prohibition of incest. It is a condition of the subject's insertion into the social order, but also of his future desire; so it is important for the child to find his proper place in it. And who but the parents are in the best position to arrange that for him? Unfortunately, for Hans, the parts have been poorly cast, even switched: the child is put by his mother in the place of the one who - so she believes, rightly or wrongly - is not the man she wants. How, then, can he find the right order? This will be the phobia's task - provided that Hans, and his father, and also Professor Freud, agree to help. But it is the horse that carries them away in the first place. Surely, the animal is infinitely frightening, with his mouth half-open to reveal a bottomless pit that would seem ready to "bite," to swallow. At least, though, it assigns a body and a name to this fear. And since it signifies the state of this "heavily burdened" mother Hans could see during the months preceding the birth of Anna, his little sister; since it brings to mind the father with his big penis, and also (while neither Freud nor Lacan seems to have thought about it), a male sex organ of uncertain potency whose "fall" might greatly be feared, the phobic animal successively marks the three places of the three actors of the Oedipus drama - mother, father, son, but also the place of the phallus. Both totem and taboo, it forbids one to look at it, to think about it, or to go out into the street - thus renewing, in the ferocious manner that was his mother's (the only one Hans had ever known), the prohibition without which the Oedipus drama neither begins nor ends. So a "myth," to use Lacan's word, is constructed, within which the familial constellation, once imaged and transposed, is gradually arranged and reshaped. All is grist to this horse's mill; appropriating Freud's and the father's inter-ventions, to which the child's imagination responds immediately and prolifically, the animal prompts a flowering, an "orgy" of representations, in which one by one a number of figures come into play: a giraffe, a grandmother, several little girls, the stork, the Good Lord .... Whether or not these figures are fictional or real is unimportant, since the unconscious uses them less for what they are in daily life than for the place they temporarily occupy, always relative and mobile. It is an imaginary orgy, yet one in which, to the extent that kinship relations are represented and rearranged, the symbolic is at work as well. Logical threads are drawn, dividing lines demarcated: successive hypotheses about conception, birth, and death. A genealogical order is created. Thus, a structure is constructed, sufficient to organize family reality under the double sign of prohibition and desire. Yet, family reality remains what it has always been: the mother's predominance, the father's impotence to express his desire to his son. At the end of this Oedipal scene, both reinvented and failed, the child will rescue his narcissism; he will even strengthen what Lacan calls his "foundation"; yet his member will remain "marginal," withdrawn from identification, since the latter bypasses the father, to sustain itself once again - indeed, more than ever - on the maternal ideals. " Marginal? If we reach this conclusion, then what use was the plumber's intervention? Wasn't it supposed to give the penis the status of a removable, permutable, thus exchangeable object? If it is now qualified as a cast-off object, "disengaged," isn't that to say that the opposite has finally occurred, that Little Hans's member has been withdrawn from circulation, knocked out of symbolic bounds? At the end of the Seminar, many listeners might have taken this to be the case. We have to follow Lacan closely, apply ourselves to the slightest meanderings and slippage of his thought to realize that, fundamentally, there is no contradiction in it. As a lecturer, he worked like a painter: through successive retouching. In the end, we discover the portrait of a child whose sexuality was clearly symbolized, albeit to the limited extent spanned by his mother's measuring tape, while he is discouraged and prevented from boarding the boat where men fraternize. Thus the penis would remain marginal to the launch-off; instead it would stay in harbor, quite satisfied to remain so well sheltered.

Assuming that things were concluded this way - that the solution to the phobia involved less castration prohibition against possessing the mother and transmission by the father of the distinguishing marks of his desire) than a new arrangement of the mother/child relationship - then the plumber's permutation of the member would come down to illustrating an episode of this return of affection. And the transformation of the signifying penis would accompany the working through, as well as the ingenuity displayed to tame the huge, omnipotent Thing that gradually distorted, invaded and supplanted the presence of the woman Hans had loved so. Restoring the primordial love means both mastering and civilizing the beast, the ghoul, the horse-mother that bites, the persecutor-persecuted (for Hans has seen that same woman who wanted to call the doctor to have him mutilated, near newborn Anna, surrounded by bloody linen and pans). It also means devising strategies by which to approach the heavy and swollen body, in which screaming, evil, ugly future little creatures are swarming. It means making sure not to fall into the tank, where there bustles an all-too-animate form of life, which can be mistaken for a form of death. Phobia of large bathtubs - anxiety that grips Hans when his mother wants to give him a bath-panic of being swallowed in the tub. The plumber's first intervention had began to remedy this: "I was in the bath, and then the plumber came and unscrewed it. Then he took a big borer and stuck it in my stomach" (Freud 1963, 105). In this fantasy the maternal body, long before the "widdler," becomes a mobile object that can be unscrewed, dismantled and carried away, to be repaired, as Freud specified. Here we see the dangerous, huge container, worked on by a handyman who dismantles it without incurring harm or danger: the proof, says Lacan, that the mother is then the object of the work of symbolization. Unglued from her too immediate and too threatening reality, she is thus changed into a mere element of a set, the set of mobile, detachable, spare parts(2) that belong to the plumber's trade. A "ball" among others, says Lacan, that would roll, following the same rules as the others, as part of a large game, in which the introduction of other balls would be enough to modify trajectories and positions. Transferred to such a terrain, the mother loses her absolute power, and as a result no longer terrifies. Sex may also be posited without danger. A second fantasy makes this possible, in which the plumber is seen transforming a carnal, sensitive organ - which hitherto derived its raison d'etre from the pleasure it provided - into a part endowed with mobility. Hans's member differs from the bathtub, since it doesn't have the status of a container, but of a protuberant object, of an apparatus designed to be seen ("Let me see your "widdler". . . your behind," says the plumber); it becomes homogeneous with him, as an element of the same plumbing set (in which containers, pipes and faucets represent the body, but in a male, technicalized manner.) Thus transformed, Hans and his mother, their bodies and their respective sex organs, get closer, turn into opposites and are gradually differentiated without danger. The tone of Little Hans's speech changes. Anxiety is replaced by humor. He asks the same questions: how are babies made? what is a girl, a boy? But they are dealt with playfully: the child's verve and inspiration move beyond his father's-and sometimes Freud's - didactic ponderousness. The horse is no longer needed to carry everyone away. The symbolic stakes are in place, wherein the initial deal - sexual difference - is announced. Hans plays his first game, which will be followed by others, light or serious, failed or successful.

Such, more or less, is the tenor of the Seminar. The plumber's intervention is an operation that could very well be described as a sort of fitting up(3) - since Hans's penis is both fitted up and detached from him. It is interpreted as a rite of passage, a symbolic mode of initiation, "castration," since the boy's member finds itself, says Lacan, "annihilated" in its genital function, found "insufficient" by himself and everyone else. But this is only insofar as the plumber's intervention becomes the integral part of a structure in which family and society are organized as well. The main theme of Lacan's teaching for this year is the mutation of the "real penis" - as the bodily site of autoerotic pleasure-into a signifier. Thus transformed, the male sex organ is described as an element fit to be introduced into the mythical Oedipal game. One can also anticipate the hypothesis developed in the next seminar (The Formation of the Unconscious); i.e. that the same penis, as a signifier, beckons to the phallus, the ultimate and continually elusive object of desire. Indeed the signifier in itself "doesn't have" any "interest"; yet in its transitory movement it has helped to map out circuits and trajectories that not only define and direct desire but also revolve around what escapes desire: what has no meaning and will never have any, in the life of the subject. For Hans it will be the father's desire, which Lacan perceives as having remained problematic as well as unexpressed. The symbol gives meaning to this non-sense; it is a directed movement which, devoid of content, remains an enigma. Hence a desire to know, to see what cannot be known or seen. Freud was speaking of the epistemophilic drive, which is the basis of every other human desire.

June 2, 1982

This is a strange ending for the fantasy in which it is not the mother's, but the boy's belly which is transfixed. It may lead us to assume that, still intimately involved at the time with maternal femininity, the child is beginning to detach himself from it; yet in no way would he do so as we might automatically tend to imagine - i.e., by positing himself as a swaggering, aggressive little man. Conversely, Hans differentiates himself from his mother by becoming more female than she is. Transfixed, penetrated by the instrument, but also being born and giving birth - if one takes into account Freud's note in which he remarks that in German Bohrer means borer, and geboren, born. Hans experiences no anxiety in being put in such a situation. In another phase of the cure his penis itself will be "Perforated." We should not, however, conclude from this, as Freud cautiously warns, that the child might desire to be a woman. It is not that he desires this, since he is well aware that, as a boy of his mother, as flesh of her flesh, he is also in a fundamental sense female.

This femininity is interpenetrated by the most primordial happiness of being (which in technical jargon is called primal narcissism); as years pass and drives are organized, this femininity is displaced and distributed through privileged organic zones. The repartition is more or less successful. There are men who bear a life-long aura of jouissance that permeates their entire body, turning them into perfect lures: women are misled if they take this aura as an expression of the intensity of the desire they arouse, for it is nothing but the jealously guarded pleasure these men find in their own femininity. The other men, extricated from this impalpable yet tougher-than-steel shell, hold on to it only at one sensitive point, a sort of internalized umbilicus. In Hans's case, the plumber's interventions might mark two stages of this moulting. Through the first stage, Hans's femininity and that of his mother, still merged, would start to unmesh. The mother's femininity, unscrewed, tinkered with, dismantled into spare parts, thus articulated in signifiers that become more and more complex and differentiated, would change into a radically other femininity: tamed, of a somehow masculine make-up, "phallic" because it has been "fitted up." On the other hand, Hans's body - a carnal, eroticized remnant of the mother/child division - would attest to its fixation, in its entirety, at the place of woman, offered, not without pleasure, to the borer. Then, during the second fantasy, femininity rallies, tightens around the sex organ, which has become the privileged site for manipulations, examinations, and boring operations. This is confessed to the father with considerable difficulty. Every analyst is aware that such uneasiness is a sure sign of the presence of Eros.

But who, by the way, is the plumber? A man, of course. Yet not just any man. He possesses instruments and a know-how that allow him to manipulate skillfully the most delicate and sensitive anatomical parts. A master in the art of making, he is also a dream love partner. Might he not be, if not a prolongation of the father, at least his erotic complement, who would answer not only with tenderness but by his actions to the confession Hans makes one day: " Why did you tell me I love Mommy and that's why I'm frightened, when I love you?" Lacan quotes this sentence - so simple and so true in its observation - but doesn't find it necessary to connect it with the scene of the borer, in which he does, however, recognize a homosexual component. We should briefly note that this component leads him to mention a certain style of romantic behavior later liable to become Hans's own: that of being more receptive to women than sexually aggressive. That may well be, but for the time being, the child's present experience involves this indisputable fact: his desire, frozen by fear in the impulse that drives him toward his mother, turns away from her, and becomes more and more passionately attached to the father. Nothing is more constant, or more normal, in the development of a child this age. The time of the Oedipus complex opens out onto this love - heterosexual for the girl, homosexual for the boy. Yet, reading Freud or Lacan, one has a similar feeling that both are embarrassed by the second sort of love. They notice it, occasionally mention it, but do not deal frankly with it. Freud stresses its conflictive character. The love addressed to the father makes even more anxiety-provoking the spite, fear, anger, the death wishes he rouses as a rival. And Lacan does not entirely gauge the role this love plays in castration. Fully convinced by the idea that castration always involves the intervention of a father experienced as threatening, forbidding, even ferocious, Lacan plays down not only the homosexual register of the Oedipus complex, but also the unconscious reciprocity of the love linking father and child. Yet, without this reciprocity, I doubt any transmission could take place-to say nothing of any transfer of the penis into the signifying order. In other words, Lacan's conception of castration involves a father so harsh and peremptory that it precludes from the very start the nice sort of fellow Hans's father really is. Too nice," but not too clever, the considerate son of a mother he regularly visits, he is disqualified and rated as insufficient: "he does not carry enough weight," "Hans won't have a father" This is why, undoubtedly, Lacan doesn't think for a moment that in Little Hans's desire, the plumber - Superman - and the father - "a poor sort" - are connected. He doesn't think that, without becoming one and the same, they could, in the child's fantasy and speech, without losing their distinct tones - frankly erotic for the plumber, tender for the father - merge to make up the figure of a virility at once ideal and sensual, that of the perfect father-lover as dreamt by Greek homosexuality: the one who knows, who acts, demands, sometimes castigates, but reveals himself as the supreme initiator in matters of pleasure.

It is in its relation to the father's penis - a functioning penis, that takes possession of the mother - that the son's penis, says Lacan, is shown to be ineffectual, and from this point of view, "annuls itself" to become a mere element in a chain of signifiers. The word "to annul" chosen here might be questionable. It is accurate concerning the Oedipal desire, as it is currently understood: that of the son for his mother. Too small, inadequate to satisfy her, the penis can be rightly declared null. Yet as the site of another pleasure, more feminine and passive, about which the child delights in his fantasies, imagining the father's penis as the instrument, the penis, on the contrary, is endowed with an existence it never had before. Two of the "Five Case Histories," Hans's and the Wolf Man's, display dreams and fantasies where various constants are found that are easy to observe in cures and drawings of children living a non-regressive, evolving sexuality: sado-masochistic scenes in particular, that represent the penis or one of its substitutes - mostly an animal - as passive and subject to various kinds of handling. It is marked, fragmented, transfixed, beaten, tinkered with as well. In "the Wolf Man," the child dreams of beating large animals, then being beaten on his member and his body. It is as if the penis's femininity were being offered to the ministrations of a father less ferocious than powerful, owner of a phallus that could be transmitted through contact from one sex organ to another, from body to body. The fantasy of being stuck by blows, by imaginary subjection of the penis to a rhythm of beats, turns it into the object of an articulation decided by someone else who would follow out his own fantasies, his signs, his representatives. Here the penis is inserted into a set a signifiers - not without a jouissance that both inscribes and signifies this mutation of a sense, which is, of course, purely sensual and voluptuous.

June 10, 1982

At that time when Nature in her powerful ardor Conceived monstrous children each day, I would have loved living near a young giantess, As a voluptuous cat at the feet of a queen.

I should like to have seen her body flower with her soul And grow freely in her dreadful games; And guess whether her heart conceals a somber flame From the wet fog swimming in her eyes;

Feel at my leisure her magnificent shape; Climb on the slope of her huge knees, And at times in summer, when the unhealthy suns,

Wearying, make her stretch out across the country, Sleep without worry in the shade of her breast, Like a peaceful hamlet at the foot of a mountain. (Baudelaire, 37)

Baudelaire's poem, "The Giantess," is a response to one of my analysands who, this morning, arrived at his session after a scene he witnessed yesterday that left him scarcely able to believe his eyes, moved and also troubled. His two-and-a-half year-old son was having fun by the swimming pool of their weekend house. Before jumping into the water, his mother took off her bathing suit. Since he bathes often with her, he has had many opportunities to view her stark naked. He usually expresses his curiosity, it is true; only yesterday things took a different course. The child stopped dead in his tracks before this naked body, as if he had never seen it before. His facial expression changed. It was, says the father (who, in talking about his son, may also have been talking about himself), "as if he had entered another world, a paradise, whose enchantment and magic were reflected in his eyes, as if he were seized by the most primordial memories." Meanwhile his little member rose up, and, swelling, extended towards her, thrust forward, so imperatively that the child followed its impulse: he was already pressing against his mother's body, which he passionately embraced "to penetrate it," adds the father - who projects, as did Freud before him, his mature desire onto this child. To follow the latter into the kingdom open to him, where the mother, his first woman, the queen of his first three years, reigns supreme, we should rather re-read Baudelaire: "Mother Of memories, Mistress of mistresses, O you, all my pleasure! O you, all my duties!" All his poems speak of her. And some of them, "The Giantess" in particular, opens onto the infinity of a desire next to which that of penetration can come to seem so reasonable, even narrow! For it is the whole of the mother's body which the child, caught by the radiant strength of its flesh and beauty, wants to inhabit, traverse, explore as an intimate and privileged guest. In these carnal landscapes where body and memory "flower," the child regards himself as a regular visitor, a faun wandering freely, keenly attentive to the unexpected aspects and gentle charm of the place, taking his rest there, enlivening the landscape with his curiosity, his happiness in sojourning there. The lives of the mother and the child are at once distinct and attuned to one another, the erect penis their extreme point, as it were - their punctuation.

A few remarks or questions: in his mother's womb, does the boy experience erections that would be correlative to certain sounds, rhythms, movements and vibrations? On the other hand, the power and beauty of Baudelaire's poem are due to the opposite forces it successfully suggests and contains. The giantess is generosity, rest, vigor, plenty. She is "dreadful" too. In her heart a "somber flame" is "concealed." In her the two antagonistic mother figures coexist. The "first" one is the enchantress. The "second" is the huge Thing anticipated even in the first months of life after the first one has withdrawn; the one who frightens Hans and the Wolf Man so: dark continent, Lilith, Kali in her fury. And, as everyone knows, leaving, casting off the mooring rope, breaking off with a woman (another meaning of the word "launch-off"), all this is tantamount to running away from the first mother, who, for a thousand reasons, true or false (what were those of Fabrice's father?(4) has suddenly begun to be frightening - in order to indulge wholly in the happy, carefree exploration dreamt by the subject, and conducted by Baudelaire's "monstrous" child, in the first years of life. Yet there is also another way of holding and taming the maternal Thing: action, work, technics. It is fitted out, as if a light skiff were to be rigged out with a sail and rudder, then engines, then various improvements that, whether it were now a sail-boat or a warship, would turn it into a high-performance apparatus, "state-of-the-art" as they say.(5)

Several stages must be distinguished in the boy's Oedipus phase. I spoke yesterday of its preliminary stage: a time of desire during which the penis keeps its continuity with the femininity of the two bodies it is a part of Then, a moment of crisis. First, in a redoubled movement, the child breaks away from the mother whose sexual difference, by becoming clearer, frightens him - and becomes attached to the father, this "same" that is so much more stable and reassuring, of whom he asks nothing more than to reciprocate his love. This is an essential moment, during which the child's member has a double status. It certainly remains what it has already been for a long time, i.e. a site of the female body, privileged because of the redoubled pleasure it was providing, first to the mother, and then through masturbation, and it forms the background against which the father's desire is drawn and rendered increasingly clear. From then on, as Lacan perceived it, the child's penis attains a status as a signifier, but not, as he said, because it annuls itself, cast aside because of its "inefficiency." For him to come to this conclusion, the little boy would have to wish to use his member as a penetrating instrument. He certainly has (as shown in some dreams) the intuition of this function, but for the time being, as we've seen, he must come through with his penis in the place of woman - where symbol and desire, instead of excluding each other, connect. It is only in this realm - both erotic and homosexual - that the penis becomes a signifier. Those are some fantastic mises en scenes, in which the child enjoys having his member counted as one among others: the father's first, who himself leads back to other men (Freud), other penises (the plumber's borer), others yet ("The Eleven Thousand Rods"),(6) while the place they all seem to be attracted to is defined: a feminine space once more, but other, and no longer frightening. Mother, little girls, women one meets: these hitherto unsettling, unreliable, vaguely mutilated creatures now take on a new face, lead back to a new secret - for in several ways they are revealed as the privileged objects of grown-up men's desires, once they are "fitted up" and phallicized. The dreadful Thing is forgotten - or rather, repressed. The child may again look, admire, covet with a new but never entirely secured desire, the mother he loved so. This is the second phase of the Oedipus, in which the penis - gradually but not without difficulty-imagines itself as an organ penetrating female genitals without excessive risk. If we were to linger on it, the all too rarely asked question of the active being of the young boy would be raised.

Notes

(1.) The French "piece detachee" also conveys the connotation of something which has been "detached." (Translators' Note). (2.) See Note 1. (3.) Untranslatable in English. The French word appareillage also means "launch-off"; "rigging up" (a ship to make it ready for launching); and, as in this case, "fitting up" (a mechanical set). (Translator's Note) (4.) Fabrice is the protagonist of one of Michele Montrelay's case histories, discussed in the article "Folding and Unfolding." (5.) "De pointe" in French, which leads back to the "extreme point" that ends the previous paragraph. (Translator's Note) (6.) Title of a famous erotic novel by French poet Guillame Apollinaire. This title is in itself a pun connecting verge ("rod") and vierge ("virgin"), so it connotes an allusion to Saint Ursula's "eleven thousand virgins." (Translator's Note)

References

Baudelaire, Charles. The Flowers of Evil and Other Works. Translated and Edited by Wallace Fowlie. New York: Bantam. Freud, Sigmund. 1963. The Sexual Enlightenment of Children. Collier: New York.
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Title Annotation:issue title: 'Psychoanalysis in Left Field'
Author:Montrelay, Michele
Publication:American Imago
Article Type:Cover Story
Date:Jun 22, 1994
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