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Writings on Psychoanalysis
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0231101694, Paperback)Louis Althusser is perhaps better remembered for strangling his wife to death during a fit of temporary insanity than for most of his writings (with the possible exception of his essay on the "ideological state apparatus," an explication of normalizing social institutions that has become standard fare in academic postmodernism), but he was one of the key figures in postwar French philosophy. Writings on Psychoanalysis is a collection of essays, article drafts, and correspondence that displays the extent of his intellectual grappling with Freud's writings and with contemporary psychoanalytic theorist Jacques Lacan, a former friend whom Althusser would gradually come to view as a "magnificent and pitiful Harlequin." (Two of the pieces here deal with the 1980 conference at which Althusser vehemently broke with Lacan, ostensibly over the latter's stifling position of dominance among their colleagues.) Writings on Psychoanalysis is a bit heavy-going and theoretical in places, but of unique historical interest.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:56 -0400)
A prominent member of the French structuralist movement, Louis Althusser was influential for reinvigorating Marxist thought in France in the 196Os with celebrated works such as For Marx and Reading Capital. Yet many readers are not as familiar with the profound impact of psychoanalysis on Althusser's life and work. Writings on Psychoanalysis gathers, for the first time, Althusser's major essays on psychoanalytic thought. The volume begins with Freud and Lacan, which lays the groundwork for comprehending Althusser's entry into psychoanalysis. Letters to D. was the result of Althusser's fervent reading of Rene Diatkine's paper "Aggressiveness and Fantasies of Aggression," years before Diatkine was his psychoanalyst. Invited by Leon Chertok to participate in the "International Symposium on the Unconscious," at the Tbilisi colloquium, the chapter The Tbilisi Affair presents Althusser's essay "The Discovery of Dr. Freud." The chapter In the Name of the Analysands... reprints Althusser's "Open Letter to Analysands and Analysts in Solidarity with Jacques Lacan," written the day after the famous meeting on the dissolution of the Ecole Freudienne de Paris. Characterizing Lacan as a "magnificent and pitiful Harlequin," the 'open letter' relates Althusser's untimely outburst at that assembly and the "spectacular and violent intervention he subsequently made in the presence of Lacan." The volume closes with the correspondence between Althusser and Lacan, detailing their first and last meetings with each other and the launching of one of the central alliances of contemporary French thought.
An edition of this book was published by Columbia University Press.
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