'How long do you intend to stay?': Desire meets proscription in the subject in Henry Miller's Via Dieppe-Newhaven.

Herian, Robert (2014). 'How long do you intend to stay?': Desire meets proscription in the subject in Henry Miller's Via Dieppe-Newhaven. Liverpool Law Review, 35(1) pp. 65–81.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10991-013-9145-9

Abstract

This paper uses Henry Miller's account, 'Via Dieppe-Newhaven', concerning the Parisian-based author's barred attempt to visit London in order to satisfy a desire 'to hear English spoken twenty-four hours of the day', as a means of exploring the intersection of language and proscription in the psychic space of the subject. Like Miller, people often undertake a journey, physical or metaphorical, in order to search for that which they presume to be lacking from their lives; that illusive thing capable of satiating desire and making their world a better, more tolerable place. But are all such journeys forever condemned to fail, and to what extent does law play a role in that failure? Within a psychoanalytical framework and with particular emphasis on the association between language, law and the subject formulated by Jacque Lacan, this paper will first examine the relationship language has with desire and its architect lack in order to explore the subject's motivation for undertaking the quest or journey, 'the bon voyage' as Miller refers to it, and ask whether or not it ever has an end as such. Secondly, consideration will be given to law (as proscription) and the manner in which it intersects the subject en route and helps to shape the many linguistic bumps, barriers, obstacles and hurdles that constitute the subject's 'road'; an intervention which inevitably disrupts, deforms, frustrates, even terminates, their journey.

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