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Hook, D., Ph.D. (2018). Das Ding as Object of Melancholia. Psychoanal. Dial., 28(4):491-495.

(2018). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 28(4):491-495

Das Ding as Object of Melancholia

Derek Hook, Ph.D.

While Freud’s account of melancholia stresses the role of a lost object, a Lacanian approach draws attention to the role of an intruding and excessive “real” object and the inability of the psychotic subject to adequately shield themselves from the traumatic jouissance associated with it. While initially these approaches seem to contradict one another, this short commentary argues that the loss of an imaginary (ego-supporting) object (as per Freud’s conceptualization of psychosis) may be coterminous with the invasive presence of an object of a different order—that of the Lacanian real. We are able to better appreciate the particularity of this invasive object by reference to Lacan’s notion—itself derived from Freud—of das Ding. Das Ding is that “object” of amassed primal jouissance, which—like a black hole—corresponds to its own absence and which, in its terrifying and sublime materializations, brings together the three crucial Freudian concepts of libidinal overproximity, unmodulated jouissance, and the death drive.

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