The Perfume of Soul from Freud to Lacan: A Critical Reading of Smelling, Breathing and Subjectivity

Author(s) : Berjanet Jazani

The Perfume of Soul from Freud to Lacan: A Critical Reading of Smelling, Breathing and Subjectivity

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : July 2024
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 120
  • Category :
    Lacanian Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 97734
  • ISBN 13 : 9781032757353
  • ISBN 10 : 1032757353

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The Perfume of Soul from Freud to Lacan seeks to understand the human sense of smell and its marks on our subjectivity from a psychoanalytic perspective.

Accessibly written, the book considers whether our understanding of the sense of smell and odours in culture has changed over time, and where we locate olfaction in theories of psychoanalysis. Beginning with the theorisation of the sense of smell in philosophy and medicine, Berjanet Jazani explores what treatment of this sense we can find in the historical and contemporary linguistic and cultural context. Jazani then takes examples from the psychoanalytic clinic as well as cultural references, from cinema to ancient literature, to elaborate the marks of the olfactory experiences on our subjectivity and sexuality. Lacanian theories, clinical anecdotes and autobiographical references are woven together to raise some critical questions about the law of odours as well as the invisible marks of breathing on subjective position, body, and symptom.

The Perfume of Soul from Freud to Lacan will be of great interest to psychoanalysts, academics and all readers who are interested in psychoanalysis, philosophy, and culture.

Reviews and Endorsements

This fascinating and highly original study puts smell back on the psychoanalytic map, drawing together beautifully case study, autobiography, developmental theory and conceptual analysis. Why has smell been neglected for so long despite being something that touches us all to the quick? Berjanet Jazani's arguments are compelling and the breadth of her examples impressive, as we follow her reflections on the earliest role of smell in the bond of baby and mother to the place of breath in adult sexual practices. Every chapter of this superb book opens up new questions, enriching psychoanalytic theory and inviting us to lift the veil of repression that has blocked exploration of this vital sensory pathway for so long.
Darian Leader, Psychoanalyst, Author

At the risk of being outrageously cheeky I will say that Berjanet Jazani has a nose for sniffing out what has been lost and radically under-theorised by psychoanalysis, until now. Selecting from ancient and interdisciplinary texts and theorists as well as from the Freudian and Lacanian oeuvres, scanding clinical vignettes from her own practice as well as dipping into her personal experiences, Jazani challenges contemporary psychoanalysis to speak of an olfactory drive in the same breath as the scopic and invocatory drives and to consider with her what is smell, what is breath, and what is the status of perfume and scent for the speaking being, in memory and in mourning. With this work, we can say that Jazani restores the lost sense of smell to its rightful place, worthy, that is, of proper psychoanalytic scrutiny, and elevates olfaction convincingly for this reader to the status of the drive.
Carol Owens, Psychoanalyst, Dublin

Is there an olfactory drive, and if so, how does it work? By answering this question, Berjanet Jazani fills a huge gap in psychoanalysis’ understanding of the undervalued sense of smell. Unlike other senses, olfactory perception requires a direct contact with the molecules that trigger chemical reactions in our brains. In a whiff, body and soul, brain and psyche, intermingle. This superb book full of arresting clinical examples puts us on the scent of an invisible mechanism that binds the aromas of the world to our unconscious.
Patricia Gherovici, Psychoanalyst, Author

Table of Contents

1. The Law of Odours
2. What is Smell?
3. A Lost Sense?
4. Is there an olfactory drive?
5. Breath of Life, Kiss of Death: On Breathing, the Nose and Olfaction

About the Author(s)

Berjanet Jazani Berjanet is a medical doctor and practicing psychoanalyst based in London, UK. She is the president of The College of Psychoanalysts UK, clinical member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis & Research (CFAR).

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