Penumbr(a): A Journal of Psychoanalysis & Modernity, edited by Steven Miller and Fernanda Negrete

abstract art.

Image:  Abhipsa Chakraborty

Penumbra is a word that reminds us that language knows oft-forgotten things: in this case, that that the process of enlightenment is always uncanny and ambivalent. This word thus becomes a privileged figure for the disorienting time and space of psychoanalytic gnosis. In Jacques Lacan’s early texts, penumbra figures among the privileged signifiers that represent the subject: he speaks of the penumbra of symbolic effectiveness (“The Mirror Stage”) and a subjective penumbra oriented to the growing illumination of a fringe at the edge of the eclipse that the objectivity of the time for understanding undergoes due to reflection (“Logical Time”). When the sun is blocked, the subject’s anticipation conjures a light that returns from another scene. In the dim light source unknown; Pénombre obscure source pas sue (Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho; Cap au pire, trans. Edith Fournier).

Penumbr(a) A Journal of Psychoanalysis and Modernity, then, seeks to promote writing that formalizes the knowledge that emerges from an experience of the unconscious. Each number stages encounters across experimental registers—theoretical, political, clinical, literary, and artistic. Our choice of texts and themes will be attentive to the emergent questions that trouble the present-day social bond. But the peril that experience welcomes can never simply be located here and now; it is anachronistic, disregarded, obsolete, insistent. We situate our work under the sign of modernity because it remains the name for the recognition of the pivotal influence of the untoward or untimely in contemporary life. And for Joan Copjec—the founder, with graduate students at the University at Buffalo in the 1990s, of Umbr(a), this journal’s original iteration—psychoanalysis is the mother-tongue of our modernity. We have not yet caught up, she adds, with its most revolutionary insights. Penumbr(a)—honored to carry into the future the title that Sigi Jöttkandt gave to a collection of essays from our predecessor (, 2013)—thus endeavors to sustain the paradoxical tradition of modernity, to remain attentive to the logic that language and culture transmit beyond the project to master reality, and thereby to open practices of reading, political contestation, and artistic production.

Penumbr(a) A Journal of Psychoanalysis and Modernity is edited and published by the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis & Culture at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. One issue of the journal will appear each year.

umbr(a) one cover.

Please like Umbr(a)’s Facebook Page here:

penumbr(a) cover.

Fernanda Negrete. The Aesthetic Clinic: Feminine Sublimation in Contemporary Writing, Psychoanalysis, and Art. SUNY Press, 2020

book cover.

Fernanda Negrete and James Martell, Co-editors. Beckett beyond Words. Special Issue of Samuel Beckett Today/aujourd’hui. 30.2, 2018

abstract image.

Image: Isaí Tapia

Cover of "Porn Archives".
Cover of "War after Death".
book cover.
book cover.
book cover.