L’Hainamoration – The Love (Whom I Hate)


Eadweard Muybridge
Woman Spanking a Child
1884-85

Lancelot / Masochism
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen
Department of English and Program in the Human Sciences
The George Washington University


Through a script composed and agreed to in advance, a man and a woman enact transformative roles that bring a series of signs and their significations (or forces) into explosive, unusual contact: “One series explodes into the other, forms a circuit with it: an increase in power or a circuit of intensities” (Deleuze and Guattari, 156). Yet, whether the masochist instigates a process of becoming-animal or becoming something other, the “circuit” produced by the erotic script is not a closed one; the story does not simply end when its outline is concluded. A surplus is always produced, something beyond and extraneous to the mere satisfaction of a contract. That masochistic surplus, that transformative jouissance (pleasure, enjoyment, explosion, orgasm) is, in fact, the supplemental narrative which the enactment of the contract engenders. We start with a merely contractual relation, but we end with a fiction whose formal structure has been scripted by the “victim,” its protagonist.

Fiction-making is the interpretive surplus of masochism: the aphorism is already derivable from the primal scene of “modern” masochism, Freud’s essay “A Child is Being Beaten.”[2] Kaja Silverman explains that this “female fantasy” which Freud details is composed of three distinct parts:

* Phase 1: “My father is beating the child [whom I hate].”
* Phase 2: “I am the child beaten my father.”
* Phase 3: “Some boys are being beaten. [I am probably looking on.]”[3]



Mignon Nixon
“You Thrive On Mistaken Identity”
October, Vol. 60 (Spring, 1992), pp. 58-81

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