Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Jouissance and Suicide

Maire Jaanus.

My investigation is focused on suicidal jouissance. My question is: is the quota of painful enjoyment and lethal desire in suicide always a phallic jouissance or is there a suicidal jouissance of para-being? According to Lacan, the body keeps us connected to phallic jouissance, to the signifier, and therefore, to the imaginary and the symbolic, or to what is human reality. But the body is a boundary. There is a beyond the body, a para-being, that has to do with feminine jouissance, with the Real, and with what Lacan calls the letter as opposed to the signifier. I explore these issues in relation to Freud’s analysis of the attempted suicide of the homosexual girl and the accomplished suicides in Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.


Maire Jaanus
Prof. Of English & Comparative
Department of English
'Department of Language and International Studies'

  • Suicide
  • body
  • Jouissance
  • Phallic sexuality
  • Anna Karenina
  • The Sorrows of Young Werther
  • Freud’s homosexual girl
  • Real
  • Signifier
  • Femininity

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)