The Art of Reading: From Homer to Paul Celan

  Bollack, Jean. 2016. The Art of Reading: From Homer to Paul Celan. Trans. C. Porter and S. Tarrow with B. King. Edited by C. Koenig, L. Muellner, G. Nagy, and S. Pollock. Hellenic Studies Series 73. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.

18. Reading a Reference?*

There remains the problem of understanding how such an elaborate and complex literary work could, on its own, resist being transferred into the order of myth. Depending on whether one follows Freudian logic or the logic that ensues from close textual analysis, the mythical story and its interpretation by Sophocles—and, with these, the signification of the murder and the incest—are situated at two different levels of reflection. During numerous sessions with groups of psychoanalysts since 1984, I have added to this example that of Antigone, which was central for Lacan. The use of a cultural tradition illustrates {247|248} less a case of conflict than a case of competing hermeneutics, if the term can be applied to psychoanalysis (it is used in that context for the “reading” of non-manifest fragments of dreams). We can try to engage in straightforward debates about competencies in order to discover under what conditions the one may become fruitful for the other. {248|}

Work Cited

Bollack, J. 1995. “Le fils de l’homme.” In La naissance d’Oedipe, 282–321. Paris.


[ back ] * Originally published as “Lire une référence,” in: Jean Bollack, La Grèce de personne: les mots sous le mythe (Paris, 1997), pp. 106–106.

[ back ] 1. The most recent manuals keep on lazily reproducing the traditional understanding—which I consider outdated—without even discussing it.

[ back ] 2. This study, devoted to Freud’s analyses of the myth, was reprinted in Bollack 1995.