How could we elucidate Lacan’s assertion ‘The woman does not exist’? The present paper intends to reason around this leitmotiv of psychoanalysis appealing to references from the field of literature. Daniel Schreber’s memories will help us to sketch, first, the distinction between signification and referent when we talk about the woman. After that, a detailed reading of some fragments of Yunichiro Tanizaki’s ‘In praise of shadows’ will facilitate an appraisal of how neurotic men deal with the feminine, being absent this significant in their unconscious. Belong the writing, Lacan’s Seminar XVIII permits to examine the genesis of this thesis, particularly concerning jouissance, while in parallel we describe the different ways the universal of women is not sustainable.
Keywords: Sexuation | Psychoanalysis | Lacan