In The Spectator, Stuart Jeffries reviews
Catherine Millot's Life with Lacan
In 1976, Millot and Lacan visit the ageing philosopher and former Nazi Martin Heidegger, who has suffered a stroke. His wife insists the visitors don slippers as they enter. Once settled, Lacan launches into a long disquisition on the Borromean knots that, as Millot explains, became such an important feature of his thought. He even produces a piece of paper to sketch his knots, while Heidegger, lying on a chaise longue, like an analysand driven to desperate measures by his babbling shrink, closes his eyes and says not a word. ‘I wondered if this was his way of expressing his lack of interest or whether it was due to the decline of his mental faculties,’ muses Millot.
Either way, Lacan (‘not a man to give up’) obstinately carries on wittering about knots until Frau Heidegger, concerned the visit is tiring her husband, ushers them out, not before reclaiming the slippers. Such was the meeting of two great European intellectuals. We will never know, presumably, if Heidegger’s silence implied rejection of late Lacanian psychoanalytical theory, but it is possible.