The Name on the Tip of the Tongue by Jeanna Joucla


The name on the tip of the tongue (1)

In the forgetting of the name Signorelli, the creator of the Orvieto frescoes, Freud relates how the signifying chain is interrupted; he jogs his memory, reviewing his day in Orvieto to the point of portraying the paintings with such a “particular acuity” that “standing before his eyes was the painter’s self-portrait… but his name was persistently hiding”. (2) The painter looks at Freud, to the point where his castration as a physician emerges in his previous conversation. Freud, in the position of the analysand, knows that this forgetting is not fortuitous. This has prompted me to reveal my own forgetting, as well as a part of its mental thread:

I have been forgetting Charles Berling’s name since I have read his book of interviews with Michel Bouquet. (3)

1. This book upset me and I have to admit that this is not because of its content but rather of the tone used by Berling; I was expecting a demonstration of his admiration equal to mine. His peer-to-peer tone bothers me! My forgetting topples Berling.

2. Nothing comes as a substitute, as it did for Signorelli. But I have a foreign sound on the tip of my tongue: le “ing” surfaces, associated to the English that I struggle so much to speak!

3. Berling’s name does not come back to me, but I can see his face. Is he looking at this point of my impotence when it comes to speaking English as well as I should? It is by this tip (bout) of signifier, this “waste”, says Lacan, this “ing”, that I succeed in recalling – before forgetting it again.

4. I saw M. Bouquet at the theatre in Le roi se meurt – the culmination of my boundless admiration! C. Berling had met M. Bouquet on the shooting of Anne Fontaine’s film, Comment j’ai tué mon père, the start of the conversations where, much to my displeasure, he kills the father.

The ideal father dies hard… To be continued!

Translated by Coralie Le Berche

(1) Workshop, Introduction to Psychoanalysis, Clinical Sections of Rennes, “Ça rêve, ça rate, ça rit”.

(2) Freud S., (translated from) “Sur le mécanisme psychique de l’oubli”, Résultats, idées, problèmes I, PUF 1998, Paris, p. 101.

(3) M. Bouquet and C. Berling, Les joueurs, Entretiens, 2001, Grasset.