“The Pardon of Speech”

Walter Kalaidjian

in The Oxford Handbook of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398779
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

“The Pardon of Speech”

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Literature
  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)
  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)



This article focuses on the relationship between poetry and psychoanalysis. Beginning with Freud, the modern analyst and modern poet share a vexed but reciprocal investment in exploring the unconscious. In this vein, the “psychoanalysis of modern poetry” reads as a double genitive: signifying poetry's paradoxical status both as the literary object of clinical analysis and as a forceful agent of psychic revelation. Unlike analysis, however, poetry offers neither a science of nor cure for the anxieties, neuroses, and psychoses of social modernity. Rather, as an envoi of the unconscious, poetry gives testimony to the latter's mystery and enigma in the linguistic registers of what Jacques Lacan describes as “the pardon of speech”.

Keywords: poetry; psychoanalysis; psychoanalyst; modern poet; unconscious

Article.  17413 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »