에이해브의 주이상스: 『모비딕』의 라캉적 읽기
Ahab’s Jouissance: A Lacanian Reading of Moby-Dick
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 미국학연구소
- 미국학, Vol.30, pp. 123-148
- 주이상스(jouissance ); 에이해브(Ahab); 이쉬메일(Ishmael); 숭엄(sublime); 대상소문자 a(objet petit a); 『모비딕』(Moby-Dick))
- As Jacobson points out, Moby-Dick is definitely ‘'the greatest American novel ever written." Then we have to consider what makes it the ever greatest American novel. Since the publication of Moby-Dick in 1851, various attempts have been made to answer this question, with the results, however, not being very satisfactory to everyone concerned. In this essay I try to combine two main concepts in answering the time-old issue of the greatness of Moby-Dick. These are the concept of the sublime and that of jouissance advocated by Jacques Lacan. The first point of view utilized is the concept of the sublime advocated by both Edmund Burke and Kant. This attempt was found to be useful only to a certain extent in accounting for the psychology and behavior of Ahab. Then, the concept of jouissance advocated by Jacques Lacan has been applied in an attempt to probe into the intricate psychology of Ahab. Jouissance has been found to be a very helpful concept in explaining Ahab’s monomaniacal pursuit of Moby-Dick. Lacanian concept of jouissance is very suitable in unlocking the enigmatic nature of Ahab’s pain and joy in his single-minded pursuit of Moby-Dick. The complex interlocking of pain and joy is found to be at the very core of Ahab’s psyche in his maniacal pursuit of Moby-Dick. Lacan proposes that pain and joy are inextricably inform jouissance that is the cause and at the same time effect of the pursuit of object petit a. In this respect, Moby-Dick is Ahab’s object petit a, and his pursuit of this giant white whale becomes a source of jouissance， pleasure and pain beyond description.