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Ecrits: A Selection (Routledge Classics) Paperback – 17 May 2001
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'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.See all Product description
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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).
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.
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.
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.