In November 2019, Paul B. Preciado was invited to speak in front of 3,500 psychoanalysts at the École de la Cause Freudienne’s annual conference. Causing a veritable outcry among the assembly, Preciado called for a radical transformation of psychoanalytic discourse and practices, denouncing its complicity with the ideology of sexual difference.
In November 2019, Paul B. Preciado was invited to speak in front of 3,500 psychoanalysts at the École de la Cause Freudienne’s annual conference in Paris. Standing up in front of the profession for whom he is a ‘mentally ill person’ suffering from ‘gender dysphoria’, Preciado draws inspiration in his lecture from Kafka’s ‘A Report to an Academy’, in which a monkey tells an assembly of scientists that human subjectivity is a cage comparable to one made of metal bars. Demonstrating the discipline’s complicity with the ideology of sex, gender and sexual difference dating back to the colonial era, Preciado was heckled and booed and unable to finish. The lecture, filmed on smartphones, ended up published online, where fragments were transcribed, translated and published with no regard for exactitude. Eighteen months on, Can the Monster Speak? is published in a definitive translation for the first time.
‘Read here the words of a monster, brought to you unedited and without embellishment! Yes, it is true – the monster speaks! But he does not speak the language of castration and penis envy, nor is he fluent in lack and misrecognition. This monster speaks in his own words, and he does not speak as a subject, as an individual but rather as part of a constantly mutating “somatheque”. The monster announces the fall of the father, the end of Oedipus, the solidarity of the monsters. This short book is powerful, dangerous, important. Read it alone but share it with friends. Whisper its secrets and tell everyone its message –the monster of whom you speak, has left his cage.’
—Jack Halberstam, author of Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Guide to Gender Variability
‘Drawing on decades of radical trans theory, Preciado presents not just a searing critique of the psychoanalytic establishment, but also a bold challenge to it. Calling for a paradigm shift that will have an impact way beyond its intended field, Can the Monster Speak? demands its audience to think politically, granting new power to previously marginalized voices.’
—Juliet Jacques, author of Variations
‘The joy of reading Preciado, whether or not one has the theoretical tools to support or refute him, is the single and singular life that pulses in every word, and speaks to the individual within each of us and not – as all too often – to our persona.’
— Les Inrockuptibles
‘Written in a mutant language that owes much to Kafka, the master of metamorphoses, this radical text is a welcome insurrection again the psychoanalyst’s couch.’