The Decision of Desire

The Decision of Desire


by Silvia Lippi

Translated by Peter Skafish

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

240 pages, 140.00 x 216.00 x 25.00 mm, 4

  • ISBN: 9781517905293
  • Published: April 2020



A unique rereading of Lacan’s theory of desire and its link to masochism, joy, mysticism, death, and feminine jouissance

Of all of Lacan’s reconceptualizations of Freudian psychoanalytic discourse, the most misunderstood are those concerning human beings’ relation to the unconscious play of desire and the neurosis stemming from their attachment to the phallic function. An interpretive tour de force that engages works by surrealists such as André Breton, canonical writers like William Faulkner and James Joyce, and the philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Levinas, and Baruch Spinoza, The Decision of Desire is groundbreaking in its proposal that each of us can seek out and reimagine our relation to the infinite aporias of desire and thereby detach from its destructive, repetitive forms in favor of joy and affirmation. 

Providing insight to the lay reader of psychoanalytic theory as much as to practicing psychoanalysts, The Decision of Desire is a bold reengagement with the legacy of the notion of desire within psychoanalysis and the quandary of how to assume responsibility for desires. For if desire is always already that of the Other and the unconscious, and also a decision that escapes our consciousness of ourselves, how can we assume an ethical relation to it that avoids the vicious circle of disappointment, neurosis, and destruction? Such is the decision of desire attempted within Silvia Lippi’s profound development of a contemporary psychoanalytic thought.