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Kristiansen, S. (2010). The Absent Pain of Lol V. Stein: Reflections on Psychic Pain Based on a Reading of Marguerite Duras. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 33(2):87-95.

(2010). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 33(2):87-95

The Absent Pain of Lol V. Stein: Reflections on Psychic Pain Based on a Reading of Marguerite Duras

Sølvi Kristiansen

The French author Marguerite Duras (1914-1996) is known for her repetitive focus on the topics of sensuality, passionate love, madness and psychic pain, and experiences it as difficult to translate into an understandable meaning. This article explores the experience and transformation of psychic pain through a close reading of one of her most famous novels, “The ravishment of Lol V. Stein”. In it, we meet the 19-year-old Lol who witnesses her fiancé falling in love with an older woman at an evening ball and disappearing from Lol's life. Lol does not react with the expected grief, but falls into a state of indifference and emotional deadness. The novel provides a background for a discussion of psychic pain as an “ultimate affect” on the border between bodily and mental experience, of the transformation of pain into suffering, and of the rôle of passion and the Other in this transformation.

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