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Lacan: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides) Paperback – 1 Apr 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (1 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851686371
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851686377
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.9 x 20.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 158,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Well-written, carefully structured and broadly accessible. The author offers lucid explanations of key Lacanian concepts, without over-simplifying or having recourse to 'Lacan-light'." --Dany Nobus, Chair of Psychology and Psychoanalysis, Brunel University and author of 'Jaques Lacan and the Freudian Practice of Psychoanalysis'<br /><br />"Simply the clearest explanation of Lacan anywhere. The author succeeds where almost everyone else has failed. Highly readable and entertaining." --Peter Fonagy, Freud Memorial Professor of Psychoanalysis, UCL and Chief Executive at the Anna Freud Centre, London

"Simply the clearest explanation of Lacan anywhere. The author succeeds where almost everyone else has failed. Highly readable and entertaining." --Peter Fonagy, Freud Memorial Professor of Psychoanalysis, UCL and Chief Executive at the Anna Freud Centre, London

Review

Well-written, carefully structured and broadly accessible. The author offers lucid explanations of key Lacanian concepts, without over-simplifying or having recourse to 'Lacan-light’." (Dany Nobus – Chair of Psychology and Psychoanalysis, Brunel University and author of Jaques Lacan and the Freudian Practice of Psychoanalysis)

"Simply the clearest explanation of Lacan anywhere. The author succeeds where almost everyone else has failed. Highly readable and entertaining." (Peter Fonagy – Freud Memorial Professor of Psychoanalysis, UCL and Chief Executive at the Anna Freud Centre, London) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having previously read both the Writers and Readers Lacan for Beginners and Introducing Lacan books and now this introduction, I have to say that this is easily the best out of the three. The other two readings came across at times as cribbed notes or condensed primers that would supplement previous learning rather than a straight forward guide for the novice. There is no getting away from the fact that Lacan offers a system of thought that has to be learnt, and once the building blocks are in place a rich journey awaits. Maybe to over-simplify at the beginning could actually confuse matters. However it is with irony that re-reading the cartoon guides again, brought a whole layer of rich meaning that was locked out first time round. They have an almost poetic resonance that Bailly's book more than amply fleshes out.

Particular highlights for me are the very strong explanations of the 'four discourses' of the Hysteric, Institution, Master and Analyst which based on 'mathemes' I found inpenetratable elsewhere. Also the description of 'sexuation' in establishing gender is lucidly described after the groundwork for understanding this concept in preceding chapters is logically and plainly layed down.

Lacan is famed for his emphasis on the capturing of the image at the 'mirror stage' in the development of the ego and the representation of the Other in language, i.e. the imaginary and symbolic registers as alienating features of the Subject or Self. A considerable amount of explication is provided to the rest of the interconnecting web of Lacan's theory, in his notions of the Real, the Sinthome, the Object Petit a, The Name of the Father, Desire, Jouissance and The Phallus.
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Format: Paperback
This is the best book on Lacan you are likely to read anywhere! It is (a) understandable, (b) clinically relevant and (c) entertaining and witty. It is obviously the work of someone with an exceptional intellect who is also a highly talented communicator. I thoroughly enjoyed it and warmly recommend it to anyone, by no means just the beginner. I would not consider myself one, yet I profited more from this book than 50 others I could list.
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A Kid's Review on 15 July 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is undoubtedly one of the best books to on the work of the French Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. Lionel Bailly skillfully introduces major Lacanian concepts in an accessible way. This book is for readers who may not know about the work of Jacques Lacan or who have been discouraged to engage with his complex, and some say, obscure writings. The author seems to have had the reader in mind and it feels that he has spent much time thinking about the best way to explain Lacanian concepts. The book is nicely structured and very well-written. Chapters are illustrated with case studies and clinical examples that support a better understanding of the concepts that are presented in each section. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to discover the work or Lacan.
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This book is very simple and perfect for those starting out with Lacan. Especially students!

I was first introduced to Lacan with Darien Leader's "Introduction to Lacan, a Graphic Guide", and then spent a long time reading "Introduction to the Reading of Lacan" by Joel Dor. I then purchased Lionel Bailly's book "Lacan: A Beginner's Guide" and found it a very smooth read. My experience of having read two books prior to Bailly's book enabled me to read Bailly's book with ease, but it also enabled me to say that whilst the book is a great start, it lacks the depth one may be looking for with particular topics in Lacan. Therefore I'd say that although there is no such thing as the perfect balance for what a reader looks for when learning about Lacan, the three books I have mentioned are a perfect combination for getting to grips with him.

Above all, with Lacan, patience is key.
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I am two chapters into the book and I have learned so much, not only about Lacan, but about Psychoanalysis. I have read many books around psychoanalysis and this one is proving to be one of the best. I am learning so much of value. I have stopped underlining helpful text because there is more underlined in these first two chapters than not underlined! Thanks Mr Bailly. Enormous value.
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As others have commented, this is a really well written and clear description of Lacan's work. The writing style is engaging and thoughtful. Before moving into Lacan's concepts and useful chapter is provided both on Lacan's background and also his influences. I found this particularly helpful as I am more interested in Lacan's impact on social theory and philosophy than on his psychodynamic practice. That said, as the author is himself a practitioner he was able to give useful practical examples of how Lacan's different concepts could be applied to case studies and real world examples - this really brought the thinking to life.
The author has found a good way to make many of Lacan's key terms understandable whilst retaining their original (sometimes French) terminology - having read the book I feel confident to now directly tackle some of Lacan's original work and source material.
I also found the contextual elements of the book about the debates and battles between different psychoanalytic bodies and institutions helpful as it provides a map for how Lacan is viewed now.
I can thoroughly recommend the book. It has the merits of being a deep and stimulating read whilst being accessible and enjoyable.
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