Since completing her doctoral thesis under David Scott’s supervision, Maria Scott has worked as a lecturer in French at UCD (2000-2002), NUI Galway (2002-2013), and the University of Exeter (2013 to present). She has continued to be fascinated by the authors and themes studied for her thesis, and in fact many of her publications to date have their origins in this doctoral work. Her first book (on Baudelaire), which won the Society for French Studies’ 2006 R. H. Gapper Book Prize, grew out of a chapter of her thesis, as did her more recent book on Stendhal, published by Legenda in 2013 and by Garnier, in translation, in 2015. Her contribution to the website is essentially a section of her doctoral thesis that she has always wanted to publish; it reminds her of the time, during a supervision, that David pointed to a Warhol reproduction on the wall of his office and asked her what it was that made us want to look at it (she didn’t know the answer, as so often). Maria’s current project, on pre-reflexive identificatory attachments in literary reception, also has its roots in the work she began under David’s supervision. She is not related to David, just as he was not related to his own doctoral supervisor, Clive Scott. She is still searching for an appropriately named PhD student.
By contrast with a previously published essay on Lacan’s seminars on vision in The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis , this essay focuses on making sense of Lacan’s theorization of the gaze. It contends that the complexity of the seminars that are collectively entitled ‘Of the Gaze as Objet Petit a’ stems largely from the shifting properties that they attribute to the gaze. It proposes that the latter is presented as a lack in the image, as a presence in the image, as a cause of fascination and as a cause of separation. Arguing that these different modalities of the gaze confusingly compete in these seminars, the essay links each of these variations to an aspect of Lacan’s object a.