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Lacan to the Letter: Reading Ecrits Closely Paperback – 20 Mar 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press (20 Mar. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816643210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816643219
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 1.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 552,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Bruce Fink is a practising Lacanian psychoanalyst and analytic supervisor who trained in France with the psychoanalytic institute that Jacques Lacan created shortly before his death, the Ecole de la Cause freudienne in Paris. He has translated several of Lacan's works into English, including 'Ecrits: The First Complete Edition' and 'Seminar XX: Encore', and is the author of numerous books on Lacan, including 'The Lacanian Subject, A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis', 'Lacan to the Letter', 'Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Technique', and most recently 'Against Understanding'.


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Format: Paperback
This is Bruce Fink's commentary on Lacan's Ecrits (which is also translated by him). Several different concepts are explained such as the "mechanics" of the graph of desire, Lacan's algebraic formulations, the sliding of the signifier, etc. Re-reading Ecrits afterwards is a different experience, as Lacan is sometimes notorious as regards the difficulty of his concepts and the formulation of his ideas, perhaps out of his own desire to make his audience coax more knowledge out of themselves.

There are 2-3 grammatical mistakes in the book and there is also a mistake in the number of pages in the Amazon description; the number of pages is 192.
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Format: Paperback
I was surprised at how accessible and clear Fink was in writing this book. Lacan's 'Ecrits' is a very difficult book but Fink makes it all quite intelligible using ordinary understandable sentences. Unlike other Lacanian authors he doesn't try to copy his master and show how smart he is by mystifying everyone with the complexity of his writing. He's letting the masses in to feed at the same table as the elite. Good for him.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9df696a8) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
80 of 85 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e4ecc18) out of 5 stars Fink is the Man 28 Jan. 2005
By James C. Deirmendjian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As an undergraduate philosophy student, I'll never forget the day I stumbled across Fink's "Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalytic Theory." I remember reading the first couple of pages and being immediately sucked in. People come to therapy not because they want to rid themselves of their symptoms - they come to therapy, rather, because they can't get themselves to stop wanting to keep their symptoms! I was amazed at the profundity of this Lacanian insight. I knew I had to read on. So, this past year I picked up the Ecrits and Fink's commentary on it. Lacan's writing is nigh unto impossible to get through; but Fink's "Lacan to the Letter" is, again, some of the easiest reading I've ever done - and it blows my mind! For some of the most readable commentary on Lacan, you can't go wrong with Bruce Fink. What appeals to me the most, I think, about Lacan, is reading him as a philosopher, as someone who talks about the human condition - not so much as a "psychologist", but as a thinker who is doing a complex and amazing philosophical anthropology. He (accurately) shows how tied up with speech and language the being of the human being is. Lacanian theory astutely points out that we do not have a self outside of our linguistic contacts and exchanges with others, and of course, these exchanges largely shape how everyone, ultimately, thinks and feels about him or herself. Anyhow, if you are interested in knowing why people are crazy, healthy, or what the real (scandalous and negligible) difference between the two are, check this out. Fink offers clear readings of Lacan's phenomenological and anthropological explanations that shed light on the unconscious aspects of our being in ways that no biological-reductionistic or cognitive-behavioral approach ever could.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e3a7f30) out of 5 stars The Voice of One Crying in the Freudian Field 7 April 2009
By Lost Lacanian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Bruce Fink, with his books The Lacanian Subject and Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis, has established his reputation as the premiere commentator of Lacan. Fink is the quitessential "subject supposed to know," if there ever was one (other than the unconscious that is). This book only furthers this reputation, bringing together six beautifully written essays. Fink is a practising and a training analyst and this background gives his commentary a force of clarity and groundedness that is missing in much of the literature on Lacan. It is because he grounds his readings of Lacan in practical situations that lends his books to first timers AND long time readers. His command of Lacan's text is second to none, and therefore a first timer can put (or, transfer) their trust that Fink is guiding them through to the truth of Lacan.

It is this same brilliant reputation that also makes Fink's writing often seem secondary. As if they were mere explanations of Lacan's difficult texts. Like the biblical John the Baptist who was only the herald of the coming messiah, whose sandal lace he was unwrothy to tie, Fink always seems to position himself as the lone voice crying in the Freudian field, calling all who will hear to repent and return to the letter of Lacan's text. This is certainly true of Fink's earlier works. But this book has a different force behind it. Don't get me wrong: these are rigorous commentaries on Lacan's texts. But somehow, through some kind of magic, Fink is able to push commentary to the limit such that it emerges as an original voice itself. In other words, Fink here speaks as Fink. The herald cannot tie even his own lace as it were! This is why I especially recommend this book to long time readers of Lacan and of Fink. In this book, you get something that approximates a Finkian psychoanalysis. The highlight is Chapter 3 on The Letter--a brilliant piece of writing that sounds all by itself.

In the era where deconstructing the ambiguous meaning of a text seems the hegemony, it is quite refreshing to see someone practising COMMENTARY. That is, the practice of unpacking what is actually in the letter. Commentary, it seems to me, is much more interesting than interpretation or, what is now referred to as, "reading."

Lacan once said that commenting on a text is like analysis. Then, it is no wonder that Fink, an accomplished analyst, can present a beautiful piece of commentary such as this!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e0d993c) out of 5 stars Another excellent book from Fink 20 May 2008
By Stein's Object a - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another excellent book from Fink.

In particular, it was truly rewarding to read Fink's detailed exposition of Lacan's critique of ego-psychology and his instructive breaking down of the rather overwhelming graph of desire.

What's more, lots of other details fell into place, such as the lack in the Other S(A/) and the notion of separation (as opposed to alienation). Indeed, this book clarifies why the Lacanian subject finds itself between language and jouissance, cf. the title of Fink's first book (I have to admit I wasn't quite sure after having read his book about the Lacanian subject).

Overall, everything Fink has written is highly recommended. Fink is without a doubt my number one reference when it comes to clinical psychoanalysis and the registers of the imaginary and the symbolic. As regards the symbolic/real-connection, it still seems that one has to turn to Zizek & the eccentric Slovenians.
HASH(0x9e3a7a80) out of 5 stars Very clearly written. 28 Sept. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be very clear and accessible. I have gone from being totally dismissive of Lacan as a Charlatan to being, if not a believer, then at least someone who appreciates his work through reading texts written by Bruce Fink. Fink really does make Lacan's work accessible to ordinary interested folk like me.
HASH(0x9e24ea68) out of 5 stars A must have for any psych student. 27 Jun. 2013
By Khalana1331 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cultured, brilliant, controversial, mandatory study in high school in France, how much don't we know about Lacan the legendary in America… a must read
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