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Ecrits: A Selection (Routledge Classics) Paperback – 17 May 2001

2.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; New Ed edition (17 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415253926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415253925
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 311,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

'Lacan's work marks a crucial moment in the history of psychoanalysis, a moment which will perhaps prove as significant as Freud's original discovery of the unconscious.' - Colin MacCabe 'Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Georges Bataille had often urged Lacan to publish the text of his seminars: the influence of his teaching can be observed in works by Maurice Blanchot and Michel Foucault... in Roland Barthes's studies on semiology and Louis Althusser's "reading" of Marx. But it can be felt still more basically [in] the current revival of interest in psychoanalysis... the desire for a return to origins which is a common factor in so many avenues of modern thought.' - The Times Literary Supplement

From the Back Cover

'Lacan's work marks a crucial moment in the history of psychoanalysis, a moment which will perhaps prove as significant as Freud's original discovery of the unconscious.' - Colin MacCabe

Genius and charismatic leader of a psychoanalytic movement that in the 1950s and 1960s provided a focal point for the French intelligentsia, Jacques Lacan attracted a cult following. 'Ecrits' is his most important work, bringing together twenty-seven articles and lectures originally published between 1936 and 1966. Following its first publication in 1966, the book gained Lacan international attention and exercised a powerful influence on contemporary intellectual life. To this day, Lacan's radical, brilliant and complex ideas continue to be highly influential in everything from film theory to art history and literary criticism. 'Ecrits' is the essential source for anyone who seeks to understand this seminal thinker and his influence on contemporary thought and culture.

Jacques Lacan (1901-1981). Psychoanalyst and critical thinker.

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2.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
Ecrits is one of the few pieces of work that Lacan prepared specifically for publication. He selected the papersd to be published from among his work and did most of the editing himself. This is in stark contrast to his published seminars which were edited by his son-in-law, Jacques-Alain Miller, although with the Master's approval. Lacan also selected the reduced number of papers that Alan Sheridan translated for his 'selection'. However, more recent reading of Lacan's work has cast doubt on Sheridan's translations. In many cases it was not entirely his fault, tied as he was to James Strachey's translations of many of Freud's concepts. However, the work of modern Lacanians, such as Bruce Fink has made a number of Sheridan's passages appear extremely suspect. It can also be argued that Sheridan and Lacan did not necessarily select the best papers from the original, Lacan's analysis of Edgar Allan Poe's short story 'The Purloined Letter' is a case in point here. With Bruce Fink's new retranslation of the selected Ecrits now available, and his translations of the remaining works hopefully soon to appear then these books could well be a better choice.
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Format: Paperback
It's time to stop reprinting this old translation. Sheridan made a brave attempt some 25 years ago to render Lacans difficult prose into English, but Sheridan's command of French left a great deal to be desired, and his knowledge of Lacans numerous seminars (that form the backdrop of most of his writings) was non-existent; after all, almost none of them were available even in French at that time. This old translation should no longer be reprinted: it is virtually incomprehensible at times and is often quite inaccurate. Readers seeking to study the Ecrits should consult the 2002 translation by myself; the paperback version will be out very shortly, will be competitive in price with this old translation, and is vastly superior in readability and accurary.
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Very useful texts
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars At times brilliant, at times ridiculous reading 22 Mar. 2009
By Mike - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lacan was the vanguard of the French Neo-Freudian lay psychoanalyst movement. He has some genuinely good ideas - notably the mirror stage, the short session, and the conception of psychoanalysis removed from medicine.

He also has some laughable ones - the Borromean knot, the Moebius strip and everything he mentions involving geometry (as famously satirized by Sokal) or formulas, or anything vaguely related to math. Sometimes he'll just make bizarre statements that border on religious (the writings on "the phallic signifier" are particularly egregious). The biggest problem is that sometimes he uses purely associative reasoning. He's also a fairly terrible writer (though this is a good translation, better than the overly dry Fink). On the whole though, he's still one of the more coherent post-structuralists.

If you're interested in psychoanalytic theory or psychology, this is a recommended read if you can stomach the usual French Post-structural idiosyncracies (oblique Hegel and Saussure references, obscurantism, longwindedness, complete unfamiliarity with scientific and mathematical concepts, etc).

Honestly, why this hasn't caught on in American psychoanalytic circles baffles me. There are some really interesting ideas, especially in "The Freudian Thing". This is obscure, but it isn't much more obscure than Kohut, et al. It's a really radical take on Freud.

This is pretty interesting stuff, but it is also turgid and littered with irrelevancy. I cannot emphasize how terrible of a writer Lacan is. He's squarely in Hegel territory.

He is also really, really awful at anything vaguely mathematical. If you have any familiarity with high level math or psych statistics you will probably laugh out loud at some of the ways Lacan tries to operationalize variables. He's operating well outside his abilities and education when he attempts to do that. Yet despite that, some academics in literary circles still cite these "formulas" as if they make sense. They don't.

I'd read Schneiderman's "Death of an Intellectual Hero" first (he's actually better at explaining Lacan than Lacan is and systematizes him in a cogent way), but this is worth a read after that if you can deal with Lacan's bloated writing - and are already familiar with his basic concepts (and shortcomings).
2.0 out of 5 stars Close, but no cigar. 3 Mar. 2013
By B - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It seems my copy was printed by an Indian distributor and many many attempts were made on the cover and inside cover to hide that fact. There also were a few typos on the summary of the back cover. I'm sure the contents of the book are in order, but this was a little weird/disappointing to find.
5.0 out of 5 stars lacan's writings 23 May 2014
By Case Quarter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
i’ve owned alan sheridan’s translation long before the publication of the bruce fink translation. were i choosing today between the two translations, i would choose the fink translation— actually, i would purchase the complete escrits translated by bruce fink—since the nine articles from the selection are included there.

i have compared similar passages by both translators, for the fink translation using the pages provided on the amazon site. twenty years between the two translations and differences in translator style i don’t believe have left sheridan’s translation obsolete, certainly not unreadable. certain terms in german survived translation in french so they, the german and the french, will fare well in english. i was not distracted by out-of-date phrases.

Fink:
THE MIRROR STAGE AS FORMATIVE OF THE I FUNCTION as Revealed in the Psychoanalytic Experience
The conception of the mirror stage I introduced at our last congress thirteen years ago, having since been more or less adopted by the French group, seems worth bringing to your attention once again—especially today, given the light it sheds on the I function in the experience psychoanalysis provides us of it. It should be noted that this experience sets us at odds with any philosophy directly stemming from the cogito.

Sheridan:
THE MIRROR STAGE AS FORMATIVE OF THE FUNCTION OF THE I AS REVEALED IN PSYCHOANALYTIC EXPERIENCE
The conception of the mirror stage that I introduced at our last congress, thirteen years ago, has since become more or less established in the practice of the French group. However, I think it worthwhile to bring it again to your attention, especially today, for the light it sheds on the formation of the I as we experience it in psychoanalysis. It is an experience that leads us to oppose any philosophy directly issuing from the Cogito.

lacan was an entertainer at his seminars, and his sense of play is conveyed in his writings. all of the papers in the selection were written as lectures and talks at congresses.

his personal contributions, beyond freud, to the field, on linguistics and the signified and the signifier, inspired by the work of ferdinand de saussure, supplemented by charts and graphs are here.
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart 16 Mar. 1999
By tblanken@haverford.org - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There are books about Jacques Lacan, and there are books that record his lectures in an informal way, but this is the only one that I know of that presents his words, as he meant them. Lacan is the guy who took Freud and De Saussure and integrated the two, and his insights are brilliant and very difficult to follow. This book is an odd combination of Lacan's histrionic attacks on his opponents, of tedious punnings and lengthy and awkward sentences, and wonderful insights. I keep picking it up and plugging away at it, in the belief that his interpretors and translators don't do him justice, and in the belief that he's the smartest guy around, in the humanities. He argues persuasively for example that the ego, which we think in the Anglo-American tradition is the major organ of our personhood, is little more than a clever creation of, and creator of words -- without integrity or grounding. De Saussure, the creator of Structuralism, left behind only one (albeit lucid) book, and I urge any "advanced hobbyists" of the intellect to tackle that prior to tackling Lacan, who read De Saussure closely and if nothing else develops our insight into what it means that language has its own patterns of distortion, its own "agenda" if you will, and that we struggle as persons to distinguish ourselves as persons from ourselves as creations of the system of meaning and language.
12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new Saussurean paradigm 1 Oct. 2000
By Jacques Guy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As another reviewer remarked, there are doubts as to how faithful translations of Lacan's "Ecrits" are, and I am therefore referring here to the original, published by "Editions du Seuil". These two volumes are a treasure trove of gems, perhaps first and foremost Lacan's treatment of the square root of -1, pp.183-5, volume 2 of the paperback edition, 1970. A tour-de-force indeed: he manages to link the square root of -1 to a phallus, even though, in French, you cannot pun on "root" the way you can in English. Lacan has a marvellous knack for stringing together words which, taken individually, mean something, and yet, once gone through Lacan's logorrhoea, end up devoid of any imaginable, and unimaginable, meaning whatsoever. Thus Lacan replaces the Saussurean sign (signifier and signified) with the Lacanian sign, entirely bereft of any possible signification. His Ecrits, however, suffer from one shortcoming: his venomous threatening innuendoes, usually in footnotes, which remain all too significant. A bitter viper, with the intelligence of a decerebrated viper, that is not even successful at being completely incoherent. Still, 5 stars for trying.
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