Touching the Real: Trauma, History, and Psychoanalysis

Author(s) : Leslie Chapman

Touching the Real: Trauma, History, and Psychoanalysis

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : November 2018
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Category :
  • Category 2 :
    Trauma and Violence
  • Catalogue No : 39648
  • ISBN 13 : 9781782205555
  • ISBN 10 : 1782205551
RRP : $40.95
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In this book, Leslie Chapman explores the whole notion of trauma and how it can be conceptualised in terms of the Lacanian Real. In the process, he also looks at how trauma is situated within history, both in terms of the individual human subject, and within a wider social historical context.

One of Chapman’s claims is that the histories of such cataclysmic events as the Great War and the Holocaust that focus on their traumatic aspects are in fact attempts to ‘manage’ and ‘detoxify’ their Real and unbearable effects. The same argument is applied to historical abuse, with a particular focus on the Jimmy Savile case. In both situations, argues Chapman, the construction of a ‘trauma narrative’ is used to create a distance between the Real of the trauma and the present day.

A key concept explored in the book is Freud’s controversial notion of Nachträglichkeit, which is the idea that trauma is always retroactive, and is the product of a retranscription of an earlier history. This is linked to a more general critique of current notions of history itself, and especially the argument that history can ever provide us with an account of ‘what really happened’, which is of particular significance in the field of trauma. And underpinning the whole of the book is a particular conceptualisation of the Real, in which Chapman argues that far from being ‘outside’ of language, as it is often portrayed, the Real is very much part of language and what Lacan called the Symbolic order.

About the Author(s)

Leslie Chapman is a Lacanian psychoanalyst in private practice, based in Hampshire, United Kingdom. He has a long-standing interest in trauma and its relation to Lacanian ideas and practice, with a particular interest in how psychoanalytic ideas can be used to explore wider social and historical questions. He publishes a range of articles on psychoanalysis on his own blogging platform, as well as having written a number of published journal articles on topics including corporate stress and NHS psychotherapy as the new Taylorism. He is an Associate of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research.

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