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Irreducible Woman

“Contrary to what is said, of phallic jouissance, “the” woman, if I dare say since she does not exist, is not deprived of it. She has it no less than the man to whom her instrument (organon) is hooked. However little she herself is provided with it […], she nonetheless obtains the effect of that which limits the other edge of this jouissance, namely the irreducible unconscious.”

Lacan, J., Seminar, Dissolution, in Aux confins du Séminaire, J.-A, Miller, Paris, Navarin, coll. La Divina, 2021, p. 51. Untranslated.

At the end of his Seminar, Lacan still holds the hand of the non-existent woman. He posits that she does not need the organ to be engaged as much, if not more, than man in phallic jouissance. She obtains the major effect of limiting Other jouissance by constituting for it an edge that Lacan describes as irreducible unconscious. There is thus a knowledge that will always escape us, allowing our hunt to never end. Isn’t this good news?

Translation Joanne Conway