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Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac: boredom and knowledge as defence : the discourse of the university and the discourse of the hysteric

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In the second chapter, Kirsten Hyldgaard takes on a concrete cultural product, Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, and shows how psychoanalytical concepts are already at work in culture itself. The clinical categories in psychoanalysis do not represent a differentiation between pathology and normality but rather describe formal ways of forming social bonds, i.e., they serve to analyse how speech is structured – inside as well as outside the clinic. The focus of the analysis is how the principal characters of Nymphomaniac speak, how they address the Other, and how this relates to the status of knowledge. The contention of the chapter is that when knowledge is in the position of agent, (as it is the case in the discourse of the university), speech protects against the desire of the Other and produces hysteria, i.e., lack of knowledge. This description exactly fits the principal character Seligman.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnalysing the cultural unconscious : science of the signifier
EditorsLillian M. Rösing, Henrik J. Bjerre, Brian B. Hansen, Kirsten Hyldgaard, Jakob Rosendal
Place of publicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Publication year23 Jan 2020
Pages85-94
ISBN (print)9781350088368
ISBN (Electronic)9781350088375, 9781350088382
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2020

    Research areas

  • Nymphomaniac, Lars von Trier, boredom, The discourse of the university, the discourse of the hysteric

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