Book reframes work of psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan

BOWLING GREEN, O.—A new book by Dr. Erin Felicia Labbie, an associate professor of English at Bowling Green State University, examines the work of famed Freudian psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan.

Among his theoretical and analytical explorations, Lacan studied medieval courtly love texts in developing his theory of the centrality of desire to philosophy. Published in 2006 by the University of Minnesota, “Lacan's Medievalism” has been nominated for the First Book Award of the Modern Language Association.

It is Labbie's claim that, in his methods and in his choice of research material, Lacan can be called a medievalist. Like medieval writers, who attempted to apply reason and temporal evidence to explain matters of faith and other “unknowables,” Lacan examined medieval texts on courtly love, mysticism, philosophy and the hard sciences to help explain the relationship of the unconscious to our perception of the real. Labbie writes that “ . . . Lacan's work fits precisely into the medieval search for the real.”

Based on “Lacan's Medievalism,” Labbie is completing two book chapters for collections and is at work on several articles. A 2006-07 faculty associate at BGSU's Institute for the Study of Culture and Society, she teaches undergraduate and graduate introduction to theory courses, British literature survey and Chaucer classes, and gives focused seminars.

In spring 2008, she will offer a new graduate course, “The History of the Gaze,” and is co-organizing, with Dr. Allie Terry, an assistant professor of art history, “Beholding Violence: A Conference on Medieval and Early Modern Representation and Culture.” She also is scheduled to chair a panel on “Interpretation of Dreams and Dream Visions” at the 2008 New Chaucer Society meeting in England, where she also will present a paper on the state of medieval studies and psychoanalysis.

Labbie has taught at BGSU since 2000. She received her Ph.D. in English, with a specialization in cultural and medieval studies, from the University of Minnesota; her master's degree from Bucknell, and her bachelor's degree from Miami University.

# # #

(Posted September 06, 2007 )