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Editor's Column: Fantasy's Realities

Editor's Column: Fantasy's Realities Zahi Zalloua Editor’s Column Fantasy’s Realities One of the significant lessons of psychoanalysis is its radical reconfiguration of fantasy’s relationship to reality, its rejection of the belief that the former is merely an illusory rendering of the latter. For the psychoanalytically minded reader, fan- tasy is not always or inherently escapist; rather, fantasy is better understood as sup- porting reality. That is to say, fantasy does not merely add an extra layer to reality but is constitutive of it. “Everything we are allowed to approach by way of reality remains rooted in fantasy,” 1 writes Jacques Lacan. And fantasy’s role in the cultiva- tion of desire is of paramount importance. Psychoanalysis insists that fantasy is not only not brought about by unsatisfied desires, but that it is in fact responsible for the object of my desire. As Slavoj Žižek avers, “fantasy does not mean that, when I desire a strawberry cake and cannot get it in reality, I fantasize about eating it; the problem is, rather, how do I know that I desire a strawberry cake in the first place? This is what fantasy tells me.”2 Žižek further explains: “It is only through fantasy that the subject is constituted http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

Editor's Column: Fantasy's Realities

The Comparatist , Volume 45 – Nov 11, 2021

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Copyright © Society for Comparative Literature and the Arts
ISSN
1559-0887

Abstract

Zahi Zalloua Editor’s Column Fantasy’s Realities One of the significant lessons of psychoanalysis is its radical reconfiguration of fantasy’s relationship to reality, its rejection of the belief that the former is merely an illusory rendering of the latter. For the psychoanalytically minded reader, fan- tasy is not always or inherently escapist; rather, fantasy is better understood as sup- porting reality. That is to say, fantasy does not merely add an extra layer to reality but is constitutive of it. “Everything we are allowed to approach by way of reality remains rooted in fantasy,” 1 writes Jacques Lacan. And fantasy’s role in the cultiva- tion of desire is of paramount importance. Psychoanalysis insists that fantasy is not only not brought about by unsatisfied desires, but that it is in fact responsible for the object of my desire. As Slavoj Žižek avers, “fantasy does not mean that, when I desire a strawberry cake and cannot get it in reality, I fantasize about eating it; the problem is, rather, how do I know that I desire a strawberry cake in the first place? This is what fantasy tells me.”2 Žižek further explains: “It is only through fantasy that the subject is constituted

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 11, 2021

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