The Name-of-the-Father as an operator that regulates jouissance is born in Lacan on the side of metaphor and then goes on to be conceived as a logical function and, finally, as a knot or symptomatic knotting. In the clinical and social realms of the twenty-first century, we find these different versions of the father, notable examples of what operates, among which I would like to mention three writers who have used writing to border on a real situated beyond the father.
At the turn of the century, the American writer Joan Didion coped with the illness and the death of her husband and only daughter with two books: The Year of Magical Thinking (2005) and Blue Nights (2011). In several interviews, she describes and defends the writing of these works as the only possible way to sustain herself and stay alive, the natural response of someone who claims to have found what works for her at the age of five, when her mother gave her a notebook and suggested that she “stop whining and learn to have fun writing down her thoughts”.
The other examples I wish to recall are two French authors known and cited by psychoanalysis: Philippe Lançon, who with the writing of Le Lambeau (2011) went through the real of death and suffering of the Charlie Hebdo attack and the terrible after-effects it left on his body; and Emmanuel Carrère, whose recent V13 (2022) compiles the chronicles written during his months of immersion in the trials of the Bataclan attack, an immersion in horror with which he seems to respond to something that his body demands.
The proximity of these writers to the real could teach us a lot about the “clinic of excess”, but despite their proximity to the edge, far from J. Didion’s operator or E. Carrère’s know-how, those who visit us never cease to show us the failure of the word and the proximity of the non-metaphorisable. And the difficulties are growing, for to the metaphorical deficit has been added the universalisation of “self-publishing”, a form of the current push for “autonomy” which contributes even more to the devaluation of the power of the word.
What use is there to be had in the father’s afterlife? What use is there to be had in the push for a relationship that does not exist, the compulsive consumption of imaginary experiences, autonomy and the recourse to science? What regulator in the face of death beyond the risky professions, in new training courses aimed at working with corpses and all kinds of practices and modifications of the body?
While waiting to read my colleagues, I would like to contribute a reminder of J. Didion, for whom writing seems to operate as a way of making use of the father, but who in her afterlife also knows how to make use of other solutions. In the interviews and books cited, J. Didion recalls that: going to live by the ocean enabled her to save her marriage. She attributes to the proximity of the ocean the pacification of a relationship that would last forty years. The ocean allowed her drive for limitlessness –which she does not hide– to condescend to the non-relationship, to fail in the best way. I am interested in this small solution because of its opacity, impossible to know the weight of the father in this beyond.
 Didion J., The Year of Magical Thinking, Barcelona, Literatura Random House, 2018.
 Didion J., Blue Nights, Barcelona, Literatura Random House, 2019.
 Cf. DidionJ., The Center Will Not Hold, documentary by Griffin Dunne, Netflix, United States, 2017. See also the interviews with Charlie Rose (PBS), available at : https://charlierose.com/guests/3293.
 Lançon P., El colgajo, Barcelona, Anagrama, 2019.
 Carrère E., V13, Paris, POL Editeur, 2022.
 Cosenza, D., « Las nuevas formas del síntoma : potencialidad y límites de un paradigma psicopatológico », La comida y el inconsciente, NED Ediciones, 2019, p. 53-64.
Translation: Linda Clarke
Proofreading: Belén Vigil Mendoza
Picture: ©Jos Tontlinger