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Imagine There's No Woman


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"When Rossini was asked who the greatest composer was, he replied: 'Beethoven.' And when the interviewer responded, 'What about Mozart?', Rossini calmly snapped back: 'Mozart is not the greatest composer, he is the only composer.' The same should be said of Joan Copjec: she is not simply 'the greatest' American Lacanian - in a much more radical sense, she is THE ONLY American Lacanian. Her new book is not simply 'great' by any standards, it REDEFINES THE STANDARDS OF 'GREATNESS.' In it, two series - that of Lacanian psychoanalysis and that of feminism - meet in a way which totally restructures both fields. After reading Imagine There's No Woman, anyone who continues in the old way will sound like a physicist advocating phlogiston in the twentieth century. Only classics like de Beauvoir's The Second Sex even come close to Copjec's new book."--Slavoj Zizek, author of The Puppet and the Dwarf and The Parallax View "Joan Copjec's latest work is a tangy mix of precise conceptual argumentation and its imaginative application: Freud with Kara Walker, Pasolini with Zapruder, Bersani with Cindy Sherman. Copjec maintains an overall link to Kant and Lacan, two figures often mistakenly thought to represent critical erasures of the body, of sexuality and of woman. Those who take such truisms for granted are in for a surprise. Copjec puts these assumptions under the full pressure of her formal and psychoanalytic discernment."--Juliet Flower MacCannell, University of California, Irvine, Author of The Hysteric's Guide to the Future Female Subject, The Regime of the Brother, and Figuring Lacan "In this volume Joan Copjec expands and deepens the theoretical trajectory that she initiated in Read my Desire. One of the most striking features of this brilliant new book is its systematic exploration of the ontological implications of psychoanalytic categories. Following a rigorous and exhaustive discussion of Freud's and Lacan's texts, she shows how for Freud the theory of the drives occupies the place of classical ontology and how Lacan's ethics is grounded in his proposition that there is no 'whole of being'. This gives psychoanalysis a projection which far transcends any regional theorization. In the author's words: 'My arguments here are premised on the belief that psychoanalysis is the mother tongue of our modernity and that the important issues of our time are scarcely articulable outside the concepts it has forged.' Copjec's book is bound to have a deep and lasting impact on contemporary theory."--Ernesto Laclau, Department of Government, University of Essex

About the Author

Joan Copjec is Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and Media Study at the University at Buffalo, where she is also Director of the Centre for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. She is the author of Read My Desire: Lacan against the Historicist (MIT Press, 1994).


"Only classics like de Beauvoir's The Second Sex even come close to Copjec's new book." - Slavoj Zizek, philosopher and psychoanalyst, author of The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity

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