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Cantlie, A. (1993). The Non-Lover: Desire and Discourse in the Psychoanalytic Session. Free Associations, 4(2):210-240.

(1993). Free Associations, 4(2):210-240

The Non-Lover: Desire and Discourse in the Psychoanalytic Session

Audrey Cantlie

This article is an attempt to understand the place of Love in the psychoanalytic session through certain ideas developed by Plato in the Phaedrus.

The theme of the Phaedrus is Love. On a hot day Socrates and Phaedrus discuss the nature of Love, lying under the shade of a plane tree on the banks of the Ilissus in the countryside outside Athens. Love, however, does not enter into the Phaedrus at the level of discourse alone. Throughout the first part of the dialogue Socrates and Phaedrus, in a half-bantering way, play the parts of Lover and Beloved, roles which they exchange several times until they are combined and transcended by Socrates in the character of the philosopher.1 Love therefore appears in the dialogue at two levels: at the level of discourse, when they discuss Love, and at the level of desire, when they experience and give substance to the Love that is discussed.

A similar duplication occurs in the psychoanalytic session. Psychoanalysis, as popularly conceived, is about sex.

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