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About the Author

Jacques Lacan was born into an upper-middle-class Parisian family. He received psychiatric and psychoanalytic training, and his clinical training began in 1927. His doctoral thesis, "On Paranoia and Its Relation to Personality," already indicated an original thinker; in it he tried to show that no show more physiological phenomenon could be adequately understood without taking into account the entire personality, including its engagement with a social milieu. Practicing in France, Lacan led a "back to Freud" movement in the most literal sense, at a time when others were trying to interpret Sigmund Freud (see also Vol. 3) broadly. He emphasized the role of the image and the role of milieu in personality organization. Seeking to reinterpret Freud's theories in terms of structural linguistics, Lacan believed that Freud's greatest insight was his understanding of the "talking cure" as revelatory of the unconscious. By taking Freud literally, Lacan led a psychoanalytic movement that evolved into a very specific school of interpretation. Often embroiled in controversy, in the 1950s he opposed the standardization of training techniques, the classification of psychoanalysis as a medical treatment, and the then emerging school of ego psychology. Although general readers may find Lacan difficult to read, his works are provocative and rewarding. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Series

Works by Jacques Lacan

Écrits: A Selection (1966) 725 copies
Écrits (1966) 691 copies
My Teaching (2005) 134 copies
Ecrits, tome 1 (1970) 97 copies
Écrits II (1796) 90 copies
The Triumph of Religion (2005) 56 copies
On the Names-of-the-Father (2005) 54 copies
Autres écrits (2001) 18 copies
La familia (1978) 9 copies
Obras Escogidas I (2006) 7 copies
Radiofonia televisione (1982) 6 copies
Fallus'un Anlami (1994) 6 copies
Escritos 1 (2002) 6 copies
Yine - Hala (2020) 4 copies
Lacan redivivus (2021) 3 copies
Schriften 1. (1975) 3 copies
Scritti I 2 copies
Revue. Jacques Lacan (1991) 2 copies
Lembi di reale 2 copies
Aux confins du Séminaire (2021) 2 copies
Televizyon (2013) 2 copies
Baba-nin- Adlari (2014) 2 copies
Benim öğrettiklerim (2017) 2 copies
Scilicet, numéro 5 (1975) 2 copies
Schriften II (1999) 2 copies
Schriften III (1973) 2 copies
Altri scritti (2013) 2 copies
Scritti I II 1 copy
エクリ 2 1 copy
Écrits I 1 copy
L'amour. 1 copy
Schriften 1 copy
エクリ 1 (1972) 1 copy
L'amour 1 copy
Mi-dire... 1 copy
Premiers écrits (2023) 1 copy
Radiophonie (1988) 1 copy
Schriften 2 [...] (1975) 1 copy
Radio - fjernsyn (1993) 1 copy
Escritos II 1 copy
Obras Escogidas II (2006) 1 copy
L'angoisse 1 copy
Lacan 1 copy

Associated Works

Mapping Ideology (1994) — Contributor — 185 copies

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Common Knowledge

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Reviews

Apologies ladies and gents, no review today. Skim this highlight reel instead.

"The true religion is the Roman one. To try to put all religions in the same basket and do what is called "the history of religions" is truly awful. There is one true religion and that is the Christian religion. The question is simply whether this truth will stand up - namely, if it will be able to secrete meaning to such an extent that we will truly drown in it. It will manage to do so, that's certain, because it is resourceful."

"for the average Joe - for this carnal being, this repugnant personage-the drama begins only when the Word is involved, when it is incarnated, as the true religion says. It is when the Word is incarnated that things really start going badly. Man is no longer at all happy, he no longer resembles at all a little dog who wags his tail or a nice monkey who masturbates. He no longer resembles anything. He is ravaged by the Word."

"There are, in fact, little domains where philosophy might still have something to say. Unfortunately, it is rather curious that philosophy shows so many signs of aging. Okay, Heidegger said two or three sensible things. But it has nevertheless been a very long time since philosophy has said anything that might interest everyone. Moreover, it never says anything that interests everyone. When it does say something, it says things that are of interest to two or three people. After that, it shifts to universities and then it's shot - there is no longer the slightest philosophy, even imaginable."

"What a sublime relief it would be nonetheless if we suddenly had to deal with a true blight, a blight that came from the hands of the biologists. That would be a true triumph. It would mean that humanity would truly have achieved something - its own destruction. It would be a true sign of the superiority of one being over all the others. Not only its own destruction, but the destruction of the entire living world. That would truly be the sign that man is capable of something. But it gets them quaking a bit in their boots, all the same. We aren't there yet."

"What scientific discourse unmasks is that nothing any longer remains of a transcendental aesthetic by which harmony would be established, even if that harmony were [now] lost, between our intuitions and the world. No analogy can henceforth be established between physical reality and any sort of universal man. Physical reality is fully and totally inhuman."

"The death instinct is, nevertheless, the response of the Thing when we don't want to know anything about it. It doesn't know anything about us either. But isn't this also a form of sublimation around which man's being, once again, turns on its hinges? Isn't libido - about which Freud tells us that no force in man is more readily sublimated, ­the last fruit of sublimation with which modern man responds to his solitude?"

"nothing in the concrete life of a single individual allows us to ground the idea that such a finality directs his life and could lead him - through the pathways of progressive self-consciousness undergirded by natural development - to harmony with himself as well as to approval from the world on which his happiness depends."

"Yes, we come back to Plato. It is pretty easy to come back to Plato. Plato said a huge number of banalities and naturally we return to them.”
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theoaustin | 1 other review | Dec 26, 2023 |
I know from reading Bruce Fink (and har har Paul Ricœur's book on Freud) that Lacan's philosophy has a ton of potential (not to mention his actual influence on a couple writers I adore: Deleuze and Laruelle). However, Lacan himself is a horrible writer. Reading him is a very unenjoyable experience.
He very often feels the need to unexpectedly jump from one topic to another with little logical connecting tissue. He comes off as completely petty and overly self-important in the takedowns of his colleagues he performs with some regularity (especially because he barely takes the time to explain why he is so obviously correct). And despite the impressive web of concepts and literary references he weilds to back up his points, he barely ever ends up making points. There are really great passages here and there in the papers in Écrits, but to get to them, the reader has to slog through pages and pages of nebulous piles of psychoanalytic jargon, arguments which are interrupted half-way, obtuse irrelevant wordplay, and vague allusions to whatever books Lacan happened to be skimming at the time.
In short, this book sucks. Which itself sucks, because from what I've gotten from secondary sources, Lacanian philosophy is really interesting, just not when written by Lacan! blech
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schumacherrr | 3 other reviews | Feb 21, 2022 |
Reading primary Lacan is frustrating, generally, particularly when this collection is more an introduction for a lay-audience. I did come away with some new insights into transference, or perhaps more of a clarification, and felt connected to what Lacan stresses about the analyst's striving for "absolute difference" in their work with an analysand.
 
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b.masonjudy | 1 other review | Sep 5, 2020 |
Jacques Lacan's 19th Seminar is titled "...or Worse," a name that he seems to think is very witty and funny, but that makes no sense to me. It doesn't seem to connect in any meaningful way to the themes he explores here. It is also worth noting that in this year, Lacan ran his usual seminar at the Sorbonne in conjunction with a series of talks on the topic "The Psychoanalyst's Knowledge" at the Sainte-Anne Hospital, the original location of his seminar. Jacques-Alain Miller includes those pertinent to "...or Worse" in this book, while the three other Sainte-Anne talks are collected in Talking to Brick Walls.

In his earlier years Lacan spent a lot of time talking about the interaction between subject and Other. One of the most crucial revisions he undertook of this idea occurred in Seminar XI, where he develops the concept of the "subject who is supposed to know." This concept allows him to show how the subject's desire is directed at an illusion. The analyst, for instance, is constructed as an imaginary master, a subject who is supposed to know, but this mastery is merely a product of the analysand's fantasy.

The ideas we get in Seminar XIX are essentially a very complicated reworking of this idea through two channels.

The first channel is that of Plato's Parmenides. Here, Plato considers the nature of the One and formulates some important caveats. Foremost among these is that the requirement that the Form/Idea be seen as something formal and absent. Think of it in the terms of Borges's story "On Exactitude in Science," which describes an empire where exact map-making is taken to such an extreme that they make a one-to-one scale map. The impracticality of such a move is what Plato seeks to avoid: if the One were in the world, it would fill it up completely, a redundant replica, like Borges's map. For that reason, the One can only be imagined - and thus, from Lacan's perspective, the One is a zero (it only exists formally) that is perceived as a one (because it is mistaken for something, despite its inexistence).

The second channel is the mathematical one, which is primarily drawn from Frege and set theory. Lacan harps on about how it is Frege who discovers the importance of the number zero to the sequence of integers. The number zero, and the empty set, both again show something that exists formally but that, at the same time, has no existence. The "one" is thus, in a sense, zero, so that there is "no relationship" between two terms as such: zero (formal one) plus one (actual one) always equals one.

If we put all this back into analytic relationship, then we see that it consists of a subject who mistakes the "formal one" of the analyst for reality - the analyst is actually a zero, a nothingness, that seems only to exist in a formal sense. This is becomes true in Lacanian theory for all subjective interactions, whereby the subject tries to connect with an Other that *appears* to be "one" but is actually zero. In fact, every "one" is in this situation: all ones are actually empty sets, entities that appear to exist only because they are formal markers of inexistence. That is why his formula "Y a de l'un" ("There is only one") has a double meaning: insofar as there is only the (formal) one, there are only zeroes.

While all of this theorizing and interplay between different fields is very clever in a formal sense, I don't really see the point of any of it. Lacan is not really doing anything amazingly new: the genuine revolution happened in Seminar XI, so that what he presents us with here is a highly formalized (and not very useful) restatement of those concepts. Still, it could have been worse...
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vernaye | May 23, 2020 |

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