Philosophy Jacques Lacan
by
Adrian Johnston
  • LAST REVIEWED: 08 October 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 November 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0296

Introduction

Jacques Marie Émile Lacan (b. 13 April 1901–d. 9 September 1981) arguably is the most creative and influential figure in the history of psychoanalysis after Sigmund Freud. Lacan portrays himself as an embattled defender of Freud’s true legacy within and beyond analytic circles, the lone champion of a “return to Freud.” His teachings emphasize the crucial differences between the Freudian unconscious and speciously similar notions such as that of the id as a dark, seething cauldron of irrational, animalistic instincts. He stresses especially the centrality of language in psychoanalysis, with the unconscious subject at stake in analysis being constituted and sustained through socio-symbolic mediations (as per Lacan’s famous thesis according to which “the unconscious is structured like a language”). Dubbed “the French Freud,” Lacan significantly broadened and deepened Freudianism through putting Freud’s discoveries into conversation with a wide range of other disciplines and orientations. In particular, Lacan’s reflections draw frequently and extensively on the resources of 19th- and 20th-century Continental philosophical currents such as German idealism, structuralism, semiotics, phenomenology, and existentialism. Indeed, not only did Lacan inspire the formation of distinctly Lacanian clinical approaches—perhaps his greatest worldwide impact has been (and continues to be) in the fields of the theoretical humanities, themselves heavily indebted to the past two centuries of European philosophy. Over the course of recent decades, Lacan’s concepts/theories of, for instance, the mirror stage, subjectivity, language, desire, drive, jouissance, fantasy, and the objet petit a all have come to serve as key components in numerous scholars’ explorations of issues and instances relating to philosophy, art, literature, cinema, culture, politics, and religion, among other areas of concern. Furthermore, like Freud, Lacan remains a source of heated controversy among various commentators and critics right up through the present day.

Introductory Works

A phrase frequently used by commentators and critics alike to describe Lacan’s texts is “notoriously difficult.” This is not without justification, given these texts’ technical vocabulary, complex style of expression, and numerous explicit and implicit references to and reliances upon a wide range of background material from the history of ideas generally (including, of course, Freud’s voluminous corpus). Furthermore, Lacan, over the course of his intellectual itinerary spanning roughly five decades, continually develops and repeatedly transforms, sometimes quite dramatically, his various concepts and theories. Hence, this body of work can appear daunting to an interested reader approaching it for the first time. Initial exposure to Lacan usually provokes a reaction of perplexed frustration. Fink 1995 provides an especially lucid, thorough, and yet compact overview of the full sweep of Lacan’s thinking. Assoun 2003, Homer 2005, Julien 1994, and Vanier 2000 likewise survey Lacanian analytic thinking as an evolving whole in ways that helpfully clarify Lacan’s terminology and theses for the uninitiated. Dor 1998 and Lemaire 1977 are especially illuminating regarding the perhaps best-known period of Lacan’s teachings, namely, the 1950s-era “return to Freud” colored by Saussurian structuralism and centered on the contention that “the unconscious is structured like a language”; Dor and Lemaire render transparent what is involved in the Lacanian fusion of Freud with Saussure during this period. Žižek 1991 places a greater emphasis on Lacan’s later focus on the register of the Real instead of the Symbolic (i.e., the 1960s and 1970s, rather than the 1950s). This book makes a range of Lacanian ideas readily comprehensible through its pedagogically productive employment of examples drawn from familiar recent literary, cinematic, and sociocultural references; Žižek, here as elsewhere, concretizes Lacan’s seemingly abstract discourse through showing how these notions are embodied in well-known quotidian phenomena. Overall, what the introductory works listed in this section share in common is a combination of accessible clarity and balanced coverage apropos Lacan’s oeuvre in its fullness.

  • Assoun, Paul-Laurent. Lacan. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2003.

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    Assoun concisely covers a broad swath of content, including: Lacan’s “return to Freud”; his biography; the major periods of his teachings; subjectivity, objectivity, and Otherness à la Lacan; his turn to formal models; his clinical practice; and the Lacanian legacy after Lacan.

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    • Dor, Joël. Introduction to the Reading of Lacan: The Unconscious Structured Like a Language. Translated by Susan Fairfield. New York: Other Press, 1998.

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      Dor focuses on the middle-period Lacan (1950s), with Lacan’s stress on his register of the Symbolic. This work sheds much light on Lacan’s theory of language, his modified concept of the Saussurian signifier, the linguistic mediation of the unconscious and libidinal dynamics, and the clinical implications of the preceding.

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      • Fink, Bruce. The Lacanian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995.

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        Starting in the 1990s, Fink, along with Žižek, opened up to English-language readers a more balanced picture of Lacan’s teachings by including his hitherto under-examined preoccupation with the Real in the 1960s and 1970s. Fink’s book provides an especially accurate and complete picture of Lacan’s shifting, multifaceted thinking.

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        • Homer, Sean. Jacques Lacan. New York: Routledge, 2005.

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          Homer is of assistance especially in deciphering both Lacan’s register theory (i.e., the Real, the Symbolic, and the Imaginary) as well as his accounts of Oedipal and sexual topics. Additionally, Homer’s book contains appendices listing recommended readings for those eager to explore further.

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          • Julien, Philippe. Jacques Lacan’s Return to Freud: The Real, the Symbolic, and the Imaginary. Translated by Devra Beck Simiu. New York: New York University Press, 1994.

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            Guided in part by the tripartite distinction between the Imaginary, the Symbolic, and the Real, Julien unpacks Lacan’s changing doctrines by relating them to their Freudian sources of inspiration. His book furnishes demonstrations of how Lacan advances psychoanalysis by creatively revisiting Freud’s texts.

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            • Lemaire, Anika. Jacques Lacan. Translated by David Macey. New York: Routledge, 1977.

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              Lemaire’s study was the first doctoral thesis written on Lacan, and Lacan provided a foreword to its published version. Lemaire highlights Lacan’s engagements with structural linguistics. She also discusses the tensions between Lacan and some of his dissenting students (particularly Jean Laplanche) regarding the relationship between language and the unconscious.

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              • Vanier, Alain. Lacan. Translated by Susan Fairfield. New York: Other Press, 2000.

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                Vanier begins with some biographical material in relation to the public emergence of Lacanianism as a distinct analytic orientation circa 1953. Vanier’s book then surveys the three major phases of Lacan’s teachings, namely, those of the primacies of the Imaginary (1930s and 1940s), the Symbolic (1950s), and the Real (1960s and 1970s).

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                • Žižek, Slavoj. Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1991.

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                  Drawing upon detective fiction, Hitchcock’s films, pornography, postmodernism, and contemporary politics, among other points of reference, Žižek introduces readers to Lacan by revealing the spontaneous Lacanian structures and dynamics operative within everyday objects and experiences. Lacan’s concepts thereby go from being mysteriously ineffable to becoming tangibly manifest.

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                  General Philosophical/Theoretical Overviews

                  Whereas the entries in Introductory Works provide quite broad overviews of the entirety of Lacan’s oeuvre, the entries in this section here are somewhat more concerned with surveying the specifically philosophical and metapsychological dimensions of Lacanian theory. In addition to Freud and the psychoanalytic tradition, the history of Western philosophy as well as contemporaneous 20th-century philosophical developments furnish Lacan with crucial resources for his reflections. As such, understanding Lacan’s rapport with philosophy is essential to understanding Lacan overall. Collège International de Philosophie 1991 gathers sets of papers situating Lacan in relation to an extremely wide range of authors and orientations in philosophy past and present. Juranville 1984 and Chiesa 2007 are philosophical reconstructions of the multifaceted components and features of Lacan’s analytic framework (rather than catalogues of his references to various and sundry sources in philosophical history). Nobus 1998 is an edited collection containing theoretical assessments by some leading Lacanian scholars of select metapsychological concepts absolutely central to Lacan’s teachings. Borch-Jacobsen 1991 is devoted to exploring how and why Hegel and post-Hegelian phenomenologies influence Lacan in certain decisive fashions. Similarly, Žižek 2007 explains the multiple links between German idealism and Lacanianism through the medium of film. Žižek 1989, his first book in English, often relies upon sociopolitical examples to weave together German idealism, Marxism, and Lacanian psychoanalysis. Finally, Milner 1995 situates Lacan in the lineage of Descartes and the neo-rationalist French structuralism of the 1950s and 1960s, examining thereby Lacan’s manner of situating psychoanalysis with respect to both philosophy and modern science.

                  • Borch-Jacobsen, Mikkel. Lacan: The Absolute Master. Translated by Douglas Brick. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1991.

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                    Guided by Lacan’s own appeals to Hegel, Heidegger, Kojève, and Sartre, among others, Borch-Jacobsen brings to light the dialectical-speculative and phenomenological dimensions of, in particular, Lacan’s interrelated accounts of the mirror stage, language, truth, desire, and intersubjectivity.

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                    • Chiesa, Lorenzo. Subjectivity and Otherness: A Philosophical Reading of Lacan. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2007.

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                      Counterbalancing a tendency among scholars to divide up Lacan’s intellectual itinerary into utterly separate and distinct periods, Chiesa instead presents it as a series of transformations of a single system perpetually under (re)construction. Chiesa thereby helps reveal the underlying theoretical logic governing these permutations.

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                      • Collège International de Philosophie, ed. Lacan avec les philosophes. Paris: Éditions Albin Michel, 1991.

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                        This volume is the published version of an important conference of the same title and put on by the Collège International de Philosophie. It contains a star-studded line-up of philosophers and psychoanalysts discussing Lacan in conjunction with, for instance, Sophocles, Plato, Kant, Heidegger, Kojève, Derrida, science, and subjectivity.

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                        • Juranville, Alain. Lacan et la philosophie. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1984.

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                          Juranville provides a philosophical reconstruction of core aspects of Lacan’s corpus. He emphasizes especially the implications for philosophy of Lacan’s entwined theories of the unconscious, desire, truth, and psychopathologies. Juranville’s main interest is in a possible philosophy of the Lacanian unconscious.

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                          • Milner, Jean-Claude. L’Œuvre claire: Lacan, la science, la philosophie. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1995.

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                            Milner offers readers a crystalline, rigorous examination of Lacan’s initial (1950s) and later (1970s) engagements with structuralist thinking as Lacan moves from reliances upon linguistics to mathematics. Milner’s narrative pushes off from an insightful Lacanian revisitation of the emergences of modern science and philosophy in the early 17th century.

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                            • Nobus, Dany, ed. Key Concepts of Lacanian Psychoanalysis. New York: Other Press, 1998.

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                              Nobus’s collection contains eight essays by Lacanains accessibly exploring the following “key concepts of Lacanian psychoanalysis”: jouissance (Evans), the theory of the four discourses (Fink), foreclosure (Grigg), the desire of the analyst (Libbrecht), the mirror stage (Nobus), the Borromean knot (Thurston), the subject (Verhaeghe), and fantasy (Žižek).

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                              • Žižek, Slavoj. The Sublime Object of Ideology. London: Verso, 1989.

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                                Žižek’s first book in English puts Lacan into dialogue with both German idealism and Marxism. Anchored by a Lacanian theory of subjectivity, it revealingly unpacks and deploys a number of Lacan’s analytic concepts. Žižek demonstrates theses concepts’ potent productivity in the context of cultural and political analyses.

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                                • Žižek, Slavoj. Enjoy Your Symptom! Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out. New York: Routledge, 2007.

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                                  As its subtitle already indicates, this book relies primarily upon popular cinema in its endeavor to make Lacan’s central notions as clear and palpable as possible. Žižek’s characteristic combination of German idealism and Lacanian psychoanalysis provides the theoretical/philosophical framework for his employment of illustrative films.

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                                  Dictionaries

                                  Lacan, in the earlier phases of his work up through the end of the 1950s, favors primarily employing Freud’s own discourse in the articulation of his (Lacan’s) ideas. But even when doing this, Lacan adds his own inflections and twists to classical Freudian vocabulary. And, in the 1960s and 1970s, he rapidly expands a specifically Lacanian discourse, with its own swelling technical lexicon. What is the case with other theorists and philosophers is especially the case with Lacan: part of what is involved with becoming conversant with Lacan’s thinking is something akin to learning a foreign language (even if one is, like Lacan himself, a native French speaker). A requisite step in demystifying Lacan’s often enigmatic pronouncements is learning his unique terminology (i.e., becoming fluent in “Lacanese”). Evans 1996 thoroughly lists and defines Lacan’s own vocabulary as well as the Lacanian versions of Freudian psychoanalytic words, phrases, and concepts. Bénabou, et al. 2002 exhaustively catalogues the numerous neologisms coined by Lacan over the course of his career; this work focuses exclusively on these Lacanian inventions. Laplanche and Pontalis 1973, although not devoted to defining Lacan’s own battery of terms, is a dictionary covering Freud’s discourse written by two students of Lacan profoundly influenced by him. Moreover, Laplanche and Pontalis’s book has become a standard reference work for Lacanian and non-Lacanian analysts and scholars alike.

                                  • Bénabou, Marcel, Laurent Cornaz, Dominique de Liège, and Yan Pélissier, eds. 789 néologismes de Jacques Lacan. Paris: EPEL, 2002.

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                                    As this work’s title indicates, Lacan was a prolific neologizer. This study carefully collects and defines all of these neologisms, organizing them into what might be described as different permutation groups or families. Moreover, the editors indicate the locations in Lacan’s corpus where each neologism is invented and employed.

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                                    • Evans, Dylan. An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis. New York: Routledge, 1996.

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                                      Evans’s book is devoted to thoroughly surveying and summarizing all of the concept-terms essential to various phases of Lacan’s teachings. In each entry, Evans elegantly encapsulates the most important features of the idea under discussion. Additionally, the Freudian components central to Lacanian analysis are treated here as well.

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                                      • Laplanche, Jean, and Jean-Bertrand Pontalis. The Language of Psycho-Analysis. Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith. New York: Norton, 1973.

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                                        For the psychoanalytic world as a whole, Laplanche and Pontalis’s dictionary of Freudian terminology is the authoritative reference work of its kind. Both of its authors were formed as analysts under the supervision of Lacan. Their interpretations of Freud in this tome contain various echoes of Lacan’s “return to Freud.”

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                                        Biographies/Histories

                                        With Lacan as a still-controversial figure, his life history remains a matter of some dispute among those invested in its telling. Élisabeth Roudinesco, France’s leading historian of psychoanalysis (and perhaps the world’s preeminent historian of analysis), has produced a number of sizable studies of Lacan’s personal and professional lives. However, Lacan’s official intellectual heir (and son-in-law) Jacques-Alain Miller and his (Miller’s) followers hotly contest the accuracy and trustworthiness of Roudinesco’s multiple biographies. Nonetheless, the latter have come to serve as the primary references for those delving into Lacan’s biographical details. Roudinesco 1990, although centered on Lacan, places him and his movement within the larger context of the history of psychoanalysis in France during the bulk of the 20th century; and, its narrative regarding Lacan himself amounts to the most detailed of Roudinesco’s three biographies. This book is necessary for the serious Lacan scholar. Roudinesco 1997 is a lengthy but readable story of Lacan’s life, with Roudinesco 2014 being a much shorter version of this (approximately 150 pages, versus over 500). Macey 1988 offers a strong exploration of the roots of Lacanianism in the young Lacan’s often underemphasized engagements with surrealism, phenomenology, and certain French psychiatric orientations. Clément 1985 and Turkle 1992 both provide perspectives on the intellectual/cultural atmosphere informing and informed by the mature Lacan, with Turkle’s study also bringing out the complex cross-resonances between Lacanianism and the larger sociopolitical dimensions of mid-20th-century France.

                                        • Clément, Catherine. The Lives and Legends of Jacques Lacan. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.

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                                          Clément’s narrative brings into play the personal perspectives and experiences of someone who, for a time, had participated in the public phenomenon of Lacan’s weekly seminars and the Lacanian movement. In telling this part of the later Lacan’s story, Clément also seeks to set certain records regarding Lacan straight.

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                                          • Macey, David. Lacan in Contexts. London: Verso, 1988.

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                                            What makes Macey’s study distinctive is its grounding of the middle (1950s) and late (1960s and 1970s) periods of Lacan’s theorizing in an earlier (1920s and 1930s) period. Specifically, Macey argues for the enduring influence of Lacan’s relatively youthful encounters with, for instance, Dali, Bataille, Breton, Hegel, Heidegger, and Kojève.

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                                            • Roudinesco, Élisabeth. Jacques Lacan & Co.: A History of Psychoanalysis in France, 1925–1985. Translated by Jeffrey Mehlman. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

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                                              By contrast with both Roudinesco 1997 and Roudinesco 2014, this is not exclusively a tale of Lacan. However, it arguably contains Roudinesco’s most in-depth portrait of him. It is especially helpful in situating Lacan within the wider intellectual and institutional settings of Freudian France.

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                                              • Roudinesco, Élisabeth. Jacques Lacan: Outline of a Life, History of a System of Thought. Translated by Barbara Bray. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.

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                                                Balancing thoroughness and precision with accessibility and clarity, this is the longer of Roudinesco’s two biographies of Lacan (the shorter one being Roudinesco 2014 listed in this section). It takes readers from Lacan’s childhood all the way through to his death and the latter’s immediate consequences for French psychoanalysis.

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                                                • Roudinesco, Élisabeth. Lacan: In Spite of Everything. Translated by Gregory Elliott. London: Verso, 2014.

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                                                  Much shorter than either Roudinesco 1990 or Roudinesco 1997, a selective revisitation of Lacan’s life and legacy roughly thirty years after his death. Its retrospective perspective asks and answers questions about what various facets of Lacan mean in an era of psychoanalysis diminished in stature.

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                                                  • Turkle, Sherry. Psychoanalytic Politics: Jacques Lacan and Freud’s French Revolution. New York: Guilford, 1992.

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                                                    Turkle has an interest in the sociohistorical forces and factors shaping the French reception of Freud. In line with this, she examines the mutual influences flowing between, on the one hand, Lacan and his followers and, on the other hand, France’s contemporaneous intelligentsia, politics, and popular culture.

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                                                    Bibliographies

                                                    During Lacan’s lifetime, he published only two texts as books: his doctoral thesis in psychiatry (De la psychose paranoïaque dans ses rapports avec la personnalité [1932]) and the Écrits (1966). However, he also published myriad articles and essays and gave many interviews. Furthermore, le Séminaire, his weekly lectures each academic year, served as Lacan’s main platform for the dissemination of his evolving ideas. Therefore, as has already been implied, the full Lacanian oeuvre consists of a widely distributed array of textual components. Clark 2013 is a reprint of a 1988 bibliography in English of Lacan’s works, with Dor 1994 offering in French a slightly more up-to-date listing. The website of the École lacanienne de psychanalyse offers not a traditional bibliography but rather online archives of both transcriptions of Lacan’s oral seminars as well as hundreds of his articles, essays, interviews, letters, conference presentations, and occasional interventions of various sorts.

                                                    Other Reference Works

                                                    In addition to dictionaries and bibliographies (see Dictionaries and Bibliographies), there are other sorts of reference works available to students and scholars of Lacan. Johnston’s entry in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy presents an accessible overview of Lacan; it also provides for interested readers selective, relatively short bibliographies of both primary and secondary literature by and on Lacan. Marini 1992, in addition to furnishing both historical and intellectual overviews of Lacan’s life and labors, chronologically lists his various texts (individual écrits, annual seminars, etc.) and summarizes the contents of each listed text. Žižek 2002 is an anthology of some of the most important writings on Lacan of the past several decades by thinkers situated primarily in the theoretical humanities. Krutzen 2009 and Le Gaufey, et al. 1998 are both indices for Lacan’s annual seminars published and unpublished alike (i.e., all twenty-seven years of le Séminaire), with Krutzen 2009 being the most comprehensive available index of key terms and concepts in le Séminaire and Le Gaufey, et al. 1998 being the most comprehensive available index of proper names and text titles referred to by Lacan in his seminars. Although Krutzen also covers proper names and text titles, Le Gaufey, et al. 1998, devoted exclusively to such references, is more thorough for this specifically. These two indices, taken together, are indispensable for researchers specializing in Lacan.

                                                    • Johnston, Adrian. “Jacques Lacan (1901–1981).” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. 2008.

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                                                      This is a synopsis of Lacan’s intellectual itinerary in approximately 10,000 words. In light of the encyclopedia in which it is contained, it is geared more toward those approaching Lacan from philosophical backgrounds and angles. It is accompanied by sets of references suggesting additional readings.

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                                                      • Krutzen, Henry. Jacques Lacan, Séminaire 1952–1980: Index référentiel. Paris: Anthropos, 2009.

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                                                        This is the third edition of Krutzen’s index. A thorough cataloguing of Lacan’s myriad concept-terms (and name/title references), it indexes by date of seminar session each occurrence of each concept-term or name/title. Moreover, it succinctly describes the gist of each indexed occurrence.

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                                                        • Le Gaufey, Guy, José Attal, Emilie Berrebi, et al., eds. Index des noms propres et titres d’ouvrages dans l’ensemble des séminaires de Jacques Lacan. Paris: EPEL, 1998.

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                                                          This index catalogues Lacan’s references in his seminars to proper names and titles of works. For each name and title, the dates of every seminar session in which the given reference occurs are listed. The dates of especially substantial discussions of given references are highlighted in boldface.

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                                                          • Marini, Marcelle. Jacques Lacan: The French Context. Translated by Anne Tomiche. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1992.

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                                                            This book is divided into two major sections: a biographical and theoretical survey of Lacan’s career and a chronological listing and summary of Lacan’s works. Whereas its first part is a short version of ground covered by biographers such as Roudinesco (Biographies/Histories), its second part offers a unique resource.

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                                                            • Žižek, Slavoj, ed. Jacques Lacan: Critical Evaluations in Cultural Theory. New York: Routledge, 2002.

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                                                              This anthology is a fairly comprehensive “greatest hits” collection of scholarship on Lacan by researchers based mainly in the humanities. The essays gathered herein engage with Lacanianism mostly from the perspectives of philosophy, political theory, and cultural studies.

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                                                              Journals

                                                              There are numerous journals devoted to Lacanian psychoanalysis theoretical and/or clinical. Additionally, articles on Lacan or by Lacanians regularly appear in many academic and psychoanalytic journals with broader, not-exclusively-Lacanian remits. The journals listed here are all Lacanian in their focus. Some of them are more strictly theoretical in emphasis, such as Filozofski Vestnik, Lacanian Ink, and S: Journal of the Circle for Lacanian Ideology Critique, while others publish a mix of theoretical and clinical articles, such as Journal of European Psychoanalysis, the Letter: Irish Journal for Lacanian Psychoanalysis, Ornicar? Revue du champ freudien, Psychoanalytic Notebooks of the London Society of the New Lacanian School, and Revue du Champ lacanien.

                                                              Écrits

                                                              Of the two books Lacan published during his lifetime, the first of these two being his psychiatric thesis (De la psychose paranoïaque dans ses rapports avec la personnalité [1932]), 1966’s Écrits definitely counts as his published magnum opus. At over 900 pages, this hulking tome gathers an indispensable set of Lacan’s articles, essays, and seminar synopses representing the development of his thinking from the 1930s through the mid-1960s. Écrits became a best seller in France after its release, its appearance consolidating Lacan’s standing as “the French Freud.” Yet, this same book, more than any other single component of Lacan’s body of work, has been responsible for the infamy of his “notorious difficulty.” Lacan himself, perhaps not without a touch of humor, later remarked that the Écrits was “not meant to be read.” The demanding (if not infuriating) character of Lacan’s style, as epitomized by many of the pivotal pieces in this 1966 collection, is due to several factors, including the heavy reliance on the nuances and subtleties of the full expanse of Freud’s corpus, the incredible number of implicit and explicit interdisciplinary references to a wide range of material from the entire history of ideas, the recourses to the Western philosophical tradition, and Lacan’s own technical terminology. Another important factor here is that Lacan, in both the Écrits as well as le Séminaire, strives to get his readers and listeners to engage in analysis while learning about analysis; that is to say, he attempts to force his addressees to interpret his texts in the same ways that a psychoanalyst unpacks material in analyses. The thus-required changes of reading habits and exegetical techniques present challenges to all who approach these texts. Hence, guides to the Écrits are much-needed supports to students of Lacan. Marini 1992 provides short summaries of the various individual chapters of the Écrits chronologically by date of each chapter’s original composition. Benvenuto and Kennedy 1986 and Fink 2004 offer discussions of select majors essays in this collection. Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe 1992 and Van Haute 2002 each are book-length close readings of just one écrit.

                                                              • Benvenuto, Bice, and Roger Kennedy. The Works of Jacques Lacan: An Introduction. New York: St. Martin’s, 1986.

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                                                                This coauthored work is devoted primarily to exploring key portions of the Écrits. Grounding Lacan’s ideas in Freud’s oeuvre, Benvenuto and Kennedy cover: “The Mirror Stage”; “Beyond the Reality Principle”; “The Rome Discourse”; “The Purloined Letter”; “The Instance of the Letter”; and “The Subversion of the Subject.”

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                                                                • Fink, Bruce. Lacan to the Letter: Reading the Écrits Closely. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004.

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                                                                  These essays by a leading scholar and translator of Lacan—Fink’s invaluable (and only) unabridged English translation of the Écrits appeared in 2006—gloss “The Direction of the Treatment,” “The Instance of the Letter,” “The Subversion of the Subject,” and “The Signification of the Phallus,” among other pieces.

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                                                                  • Marini, Marcelle. Jacques Lacan: The French Context. Translated by Anne Tomiche. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1992.

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                                                                    The second half of Marini’s book chronologically lists and summarizes Lacan’s works. Included here are short summaries (ranging from a few paragraphs to a couple of pages) of each and every significant essay contained in the Écrits.

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                                                                    • Nancy, Jean-Luc, and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe. The Title of the Letter: A Reading of Lacan. Translated by François Raffoul and David Pettigrew. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992.

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                                                                      Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe’s book scrutinizes a single écrit: “The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious, or Reason Since Freud.” Lacan, in his Seminar 20 of 1972–1973, singled out this book for praise, although he did not greatly appreciate these two Derrideans’ deconstructionist criticisms in its second half.

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                                                                      • Van Haute, Philippe. Against Adaptation: Lacan’s ‘Subversion’ of the Subject—A Close Reading. Translated by Paul Crowe and Miranda Vankerk. New York: Other Press, 2002.

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                                                                        Van Haute tackles one of the most difficult of the Écrits: “The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious.” He sheds light on vast swaths of Lacanian content as well as demonstrates how most productively to read Lacan line by line.

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                                                                        Le Séminaire

                                                                        From 1953 until 1980, Lacan gave a series of annual seminars. These weekly lectures were the primary means by which Lacan worked through and disseminated his ideas. In fact, much like Kojève, whose legendary 1930s oral presentations on Hegel Lacan attended, he relied more on the spoken than the written word for the transmission of his teachings. The first decade of le Séminaire was conducted, for the most part, under the banner of a “return to Freud.” Moreover, its audience during this period consisted mainly of analysts and the clinically minded. Following Lacan’s expulsion from the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA) in November 1963, he relocated le Séminaire from the Hôpital Sainte-Anne to the École Normale Supérieure (ENS). Lacan was hosted by ENS from 1964–1969, with the Faculty of Law across from the Panthéon providing his venue from 1969–1980. Beginning with his deservedly celebrated eleventh seminar of 1964 (on The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, the first annual seminar to be published in French in book form and the first to be translated into English), Lacan’s listening audience expanded from a circle of analytic specialists to a teeming multitude of academics, intellectuals, artists, activists, etc. Additionally, with him founding his own analytic institution, the École freudienne, in the aftermath of his banishment from the IPA, Lacan also starts in Seminar XI rapidly accelerating the pace of expansion of his own theoretical apparatus/system and its distinctive lexicon (by contrast with the more Freudian discourse of the first decade of le Séminaire). In French, sixteen of Lacan’s twenty-seven annual seminars thus far have been published in official Champ freudien editions by Miller as their general editor (Seminars I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, X, XI, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX, and XXIII); in English, only eight of these have been published as official translations (Seminars I, II, III, VII, X, XI, XVII, and XX). Unofficial versions of all the annual seminars circulate clandestinely in multiple languages. Marini 1992, Safouan 2001, and Safouan 2005 provide summaries of each and every year of le Séminaire. Feldstein, et al. 1996 focuses on the first two years of it. Chiesa 2007 is particularly valuable for its coverage of the under-covered fourth, fifth, and sixth seminars. Feldstein, et al. 1995; Barnard and Fink 2002; and Clemens and Grigg 2006 each treat a single year of le Séminaire.

                                                                        • Barnard, Suzanne, and Bruce Fink, eds. Reading Seminar XX: Lacan’s Major Work on Love, Knowledge, and Feminine Sexuality. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002.

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                                                                          Seminar XX (1972–1973) is one of Lacan’s most renowned seminars, furnishing detailed meditations on sexual difference informed by mathematical and logical formalisms. This seminar’s influence (particularly on feminist theories) is matched by its difficulty. The essays in this collection helpfully demystify the multiple facets of this crucial seminar.

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                                                                          • Chiesa, Lorenzo. Subjectivity and Otherness: A Philosophical Reading of Lacan. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2007.

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                                                                            This surveys Lacan’s intellectual itinerary from start to finish. However, in terms of le Séminaire specifically, its distinctive scholarly contributions reside in its examinations of three relatively neglected seminars: IV (The Object-Relation [1956–1957]), V (Formations of the Unconscious [1957–1958]), and VI (Desire and Its Interpretation [1958–1959]).

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                                                                            • Clemens, Justin, and Russell Grigg, eds. Jacques Lacan and the Other Side of Psychoanalysis: Reflections on Seminar XVII. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.

                                                                              DOI: 10.1215/9780822387602Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                              Seminar XVII (“The Other Side of Psychoanalysis” [1969–1970]) has become an important reference especially because of its post-May-’68 sociopolitical content. Its theory of the “four discourses” has since been taken up from many angles. This volume’s essays by leading Lacanians thoroughly illuminate this seminar.

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                                                                              • Feldstein, Richard, Bruce Fink, and Maire Jaanus, eds. Reading Seminar XI: Lacan’s Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995.

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                                                                                This volume collects interventions by an international ensemble of authorities on Lacan’s work. It comprehensively covers the pivotal eleventh seminar, with its “four fundamental concepts,” and puts this content into dialogue with other fields and disciplines. Miller, Soler, Žižek, Fink, and others contribute.

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                                                                                • Feldstein, Richard, Bruce Fink, and Maire Jaanus, eds. Reading Seminars I and II: Lacan’s Return to Freud. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996.

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                                                                                  This involves roughly the same group of contributors as Feldstein, et al. 1995. In addition to elucidating key aspects of the first two years of le Séminaire, this collection more broadly addresses Lacan’s structuralism-inflected “return to Freud” of the 1950s as a whole.

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                                                                                  • Marini, Marcelle. Jacques Lacan: The French Context. Translated by Anne Tomiche. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1992.

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                                                                                    This contains a chronology and synopsis of the majority of texts by Lacan, including his annual seminars. Marini lists and summarizes every one of Lacan’s seminars. In the context of a chronology of all Lacan’s works, one can see the overlaps between the seminars and other texts by him.

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                                                                                    • Safouan, Moustapha. Lacaniana: Les séminaires de Jacques Lacan, 1953–1963. Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard, 2001.

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                                                                                      Authored by an early analytic student of Lacan’s, the ten chapters of this book cover the first ten years of le Séminaire. Thanks to Safouan’s thoroughness and clarity, readers easily can track both the continuities and shifts marking the first decade of Lacan’s seminars.

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                                                                                      • Safouan, Moustapha, ed. Lacaniana: Les séminaires de Jacques Lacan, 1964–1979. Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard, 2005.

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                                                                                        Unlike Safouan 2001, Safouan is the editor rather than sole author of this volume. The chapters of this book take readers from an overview of Seminar XI to Lacan’s conclusion of le Séminaire and dissolution of his school soon before his death. Its detailed, essay-length synopses are helpful.

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                                                                                        Lacan’s Main Concepts and Theories

                                                                                        The lengthy arc of Lacan’s intellectual itinerary contains a proliferating multitude of conceptual and theoretical inventions. To begin with, Lacan uniquely inflects, modifies, and/or transforms Freud’s concepts and theories that he (Lacan) takes up and redeploys in his psychoanalytic teachings. Furthermore, Lacan arguably adds his own distinctive contributions to the edifice of psychoanalysis, starting with the early account of the mirror stage in the 1930s (and followed by such other additions as his register theory, need-demand-desire triad, notion of jouissance, and objet petit a). And, as Lacan’s thinking unfolds over the years, he continually reworks and expands these contributions. The subheadings represent a nonexhaustive inventory of some of the most important and prominent conceptual coordinates of the Lacanian theoretical framework. Their ordering roughly reflects, for the most part (but not strictly and exclusively), a certain chronological trajectory in the development of Lacan’s thought. The account of the ego via the mirror stage circa the 1930s eventually leads to a corresponding rendition of subjectivity coming into its own in the early 1950s. Then, the classic “middle period” Lacan of the 1950s, with his (quasi-)structuralist “return to Freud,” is represented by the subheadings on “Register Theory (Real, Symbolic, Imaginary),” “Language” (as per Saussure’s structural linguistics and general semiology), “The Unconscious” (à la Lacan’s dictum that, “the unconscious is structured like a language”), “Oedipal Structures and Dynamics” (involving such Lacanian concept-terms as “the Name-of-the-Father,” the phallus, and symbolic castration), “Otherness/Alterity” (covering its Real, Symbolic, and Imaginary dimensions and thereby also overlapping with later, post-1950s aspects of Lacan’s work), and “Need, Demand, and Desire.” The later Lacan of the 1960s and 1970s is emphasized more in the subsequent subheadings. These last two decades of his teachings, in which the register of the Real replaces that of the Symbolic as the center of gravity in this system-under-construction, bring to light even more than before the libidinal-economic sides of psychical-subjective being.

                                                                                        The Mirror Stage and the Ego

                                                                                        In addition to the unconscious-structured-like-a-language of the Saussurian structuralist return to Freud in the 1950s, Lacan’s other best-known idea is that of the mirror stage. His 1949 écrit “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience”—this is a later version of the unfortunately lost original 1936 presentation of this theory, with a 1938 essay entitled “The Family Complexes in the Formation of the Individual” providing clues to the initial 1936 version—probably is the most frequently perused text in his entire corpus. Students exposed to Lacan for the first time usually are assigned at least this écrit (if nothing else). At the same time Anna Freud was laying the foundations for Anglo-American ego psychology (with its autonomous, conflict-free spheres of the ego as seats of rational, self-transparent agency mastering the opaque, roiling depths of the unruly, animalistic id), the Lacan of the mirror stage elaborates a theory of the ego (qua object-like puppet and unwitting plaything of a multitude of clashing forces and factors) setting up his fierce lifelong contestation of the supposed Freudian analytic legitimacy of the ego psychologists’ metapsychological theories and corresponding clinical practices. Lacan revisits and revises his 1930s- and 1940s-era accounts of the mirror stage at several subsequent points in his career, with these accounts remaining central to his later reflections. Roudinesco 2003 is a short but informative summary of some of the contextual influences shaping the early versions of Lacan’s mirror stage. Nobus 1998 is a longer essay surveying the historical, theoretical, and practical facets of the Lacanian mirror stage in both its earlier and later incarnations in Lacan’s oeuvre. Jalley 1998 is a book-length exploration of how Lacan, in the 1930s, brings together the Freudian conception of the ego with Henri Wallon’s research regarding mirroring in childhood. Ogilvie 1987 provides a sustained examination of Lacan’s interlinked notions of the ego and subjectivity as they take shape in tandem during the 1930s and 1940s. Le Gaufey 1997 and Chiesa 2007 both offer sophisticated assessments of the mirror stage, drawing broadly and deeply on philosophy past and present. Johnston 2012 stresses the underemphasized role of things biological in connection with the mirror stage, while Johnston 2013 clarifies the intimate link between this stage and Lacan’s core concept of the objet petit a.

                                                                                        • Chiesa, Lorenzo. Subjectivity and Otherness: A Philosophical Reading of Lacan. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2007.

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                                                                                          The opening chapters of Chiesa’s study are devoted to examining the first decades of Lacan’s theorizing (the 1930s and 1940s) as centered on his register of the Imaginary. Chiesa provides an especially illuminating treatment of the importance of human infants’ extended prematurational helplessness for Lacan’s mirror stage.

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                                                                                          • Jalley, Émile. Freud, Wallon, Lacan: L’enfant au miroir. Paris: EPEL, 1998.

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                                                                                            Lacan’s reworking of the Freudian theory of the ego is deeply informed by the psychological works of Wallon. Jalley carefully shows how Wallon’s investigations into mirroring as well as his own interweaving of Hegel and Freud directly contributed to the early Lacan’s thinking.

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                                                                                            • Johnston, Adrian. “Reflections of a Rotten Nature: Hegel, Lacan, and Material Negativity.” Filozofski Vestnik 33.2 (2012): 23–52.

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                                                                                              Continental-philosophical interpreters of Lacan’s mirror stage tend to exaggerate its phenomenological dimensions and correspondingly downplay or neglect its materialist and naturalist sides. Johnston demonstrates how and why minimizing or ignoring the biological facets of this Lacanian account is exegetically and theoretically indefensible.

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                                                                                              • Johnston, Adrian. “The Object in the Mirror of Genetic Transcendentalism: Lacan’s Objet petit a Between Visibility and Invisibility.” Continental Philosophy Review 46.2 (2013): 251–269.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.1007/s11007-013-9263-zSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                In Lacan’s later redeployments of the mirror stage, he connects it to his concept of the objet a. However, he somewhat perplexingly describes this object as being both visible and invisible within the mirror of this stage. This article seeks to dispel this appearance of inconsistency.

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                                                                                                • Le Gaufey, Guy. Le lasso spéculaire: Une étude traversière de l’unité imaginaire. Paris: EPEL, 1997.

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                                                                                                  Le Gaufey thoroughly situates Lacan’s mirror stage and related concepts both philosophically/theoretically (particularly vis-à-vis Descartes, Diderot, Freud, Husserl, and Wallon) and culturally (specifically with respect to Christian theology). This book also begins with a careful reconstruction of the history of the mirror stage in Lacan’s oeuvre.

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                                                                                                  • Nobus, Dany. “Life and Death in the Glass: A New Look at the Mirror Stage.” In Key Concepts of Lacanian Psychoanalysis. Edited by Dany Nobus, 101–138. New York: Other Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                    This impeccably well-researched and well-documented chapter combines historical and theoretical examinations of the mirror stage. Nobus lucidly explains the various Lacanian ideas folded into this stage as well as explores how Lacan develops this account drawing on a wide range of sources of inspiration.

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                                                                                                    • Ogilvie, Bertrand. Lacan: La formation du concept de sujet (1932–1949). Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1987.

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                                                                                                      As the dates listed in this book’s subtitle already indicate, Ogilvie’s study zooms in on the initial phase of Lacan’s evolution. This book culminates with a discussion of the mirror stage, building to this conclusion by charting the interdisciplinary social-scientific milieus out of which this stage partly springs.

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                                                                                                      • Roudinesco, Élisabeth. “The Mirror Stage: An Obliterated Archive.” In The Cambridge Companion to Lacan. Edited by Jean-Michel Rabaté, 25–34. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521807441Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        Here, France’s leading historian of psychoanalysis furnishes additional background details behind Lacan’s mirror stage. In so doing, Roudinesco further clarifies this Lacan’s indebtedness to Kojève’s brand of Hegelianism and connects this to later French debates about Cartesianism and madness (involving Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, among others).

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                                                                                                        Subjectivity

                                                                                                        Notions of the subject remain central to Lacan’s theorizing from around the time of the mirror stage up through the end of his life. Lacan initially has recourse to the concept-term “subject” in relation to the mirror stage. In this relatively early context (and continuing into the 1950s), Lacan refers to subjectivity as separate and distinct from the ego, with the latter being portrayed as an inert, reified object; the speaking subject qua “I” (je) is posited as different-in-kind from and irreducible to the spoken “me” (moi) of the ego. Also, Lacan, already in the mid-1940s, calls for a “return to Descartes.” His fidelity (albeit qualified) to a certain modern philosophical conception of Cogito-like subjectivity (especially as articulated by Kant and post-Kantian German idealism) both during (the 1950s) and after (the 1960s and 1970s) his engagements with structuralism make him an outlier with respect to his contemporaries and immediate successors in postwar, late-20th-century French intellectual circles. Whereas (post-)structuralists, (post-)Heideggerian phenomenologists, and deconstructionists, whatever their disagreements, all concur that the subject of modern philosophy is outmoded and to be moved beyond (or behind/beneath), Lacan pursues a reinvention, rather than abandonment, of this subject. Additionally, in the later period of his teachings, Lacan had rapidly increasing and detailed recourse to logical and mathematical models as means for the articulation of his metapsychological theory of subjectivity. Miller 1977–1978 is a now-classic formal presentation of the split subject ($) as per the mature Lacan. Similarly, Dor 1992 reconstructs Lacan’s theory of the subject in connection with the formal models favored by Lacan himself, and Nobus 2003 examines Lacan’s shift in this same vein from linguistic to mathematical formalizations. Dolar 1998 is an elegantly compact and precise delineation of the Cartesian roots of Lacanian subjectivity. Likewise, Verhaeghe 2001 situates Lacan vis-à-vis the modern mind-body problem à la Descartes. Žižek 1993 moves from Descartes to Kant and the German idealists as forerunners of Lacan on subjectivity. Finally, Fink 1995 comprehensively covers the various facets of the Lacanian subject across the span of Lacan’s teachings, while Le Gaufey 2009 places this Lacan in the vast panorama of Western philosophical history.

                                                                                                        • Dolar, Mladen. “Cogito as Subject of the Unconscious.” In Cogito and the Unconscious. Edited by Slavoj Žižek, 11–40. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                          Despite the apparent incompatibility between Cartesian rationalism and Freudian psychoanalysis, Lacan repeatedly ties his renditions of (unconscious) subjectivity to Descartes’s (in)famous Cogito. Dolar’s essay is a clear, rigorous, and philosophically satisfying justification of this peculiar feature of Lacan’s thinking.

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                                                                                                          • Dor, Joël. Introduction à la lecture de Lacan: 2. La structure du sujet. Paris: Éditions Denoël, 1992.

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                                                                                                            The distinctive main strength of Dor’s study is its explication of Lacanian accounts of subjectivity specifically via Lacan’s graphs, formalizations, and appropriations of resources from mathematics (especially, in his later years, from topology). Dor thereby productively illuminates how and why mathematical-style models are crucial to Lacan.

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                                                                                                            • Fink, Bruce. The Lacanian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                              Fink’s superb overview of the complete expanse of Lacan’s thinking includes, as this book’s title already promises, a concise and crystalline characterization of the Lacanian subject. Fink covers this topic as it relates to Descartes, Freud, Saussure, ego psychology, science, sexuality, and alterity in Lacan’s texts.

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                                                                                                              • Le Gaufey, Guy. C’est à quel sujet? Paris: EPEL, 2009.

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                                                                                                                Le Gaufey’s erudite and wide-ranging study situates Lacan’s theory of subjectivity in the context of the history of Western philosophy. Centered on Lacan’s dictum according to which “the signifier represents a subject for another signifier,” this work puts Lacan into conversation with ancient, modern, and postmodern philosophical interlocutors.

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                                                                                                                • Miller, Jacques-Alain. “Suture (elements of the logic of the signifier).” Screen 18.4 (1977–1978): 24–34.

                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1093/screen/18.4.24Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  In this celebrated article, Miller furnishes a formal distillation of Lacan’s later (mid-1960s) rendition of the subject. Specifically, this subject, as per the distinction between the subjects of enunciation and utterance, is explained through Frege’s account of numerical succession, with subjectivity proper being equated with zero in Fregean arithmetic.

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                                                                                                                  • Nobus, Dany. “Lacan’s Science of the Subject: Between Linguistics and Topology.” In The Cambridge Companion to Lacan. Edited by Jean-Michel Rabaté, 50–68. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521807441Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    The crucial contribution made by Nobus’s essay, signaled by its subtitle, is its examination of the shift in Lacan’s thinking between the 1950s and 1970s whereby Saussurian structural linguistics (filtered through Lévi-Strauss and Roman Jakobson) comes to be replaced by topological constructs (primarily those of knot theory).

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                                                                                                                    • Verhaeghe, Paul. Beyond Gender: From Subject to Drive. New York: Other Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                      Two consecutive chapters of Verhaeghe’s book in particular (“Subject and Body” and “Mind Your Body”) both address directly and in scholarly detail what Lacan has to offer by way of contributions to the traditional modern-philosophical mind-body problem. Verhaeghe emphasizes the utility of Lacan’s register theory in this vein.

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                                                                                                                      • Žižek, Slavoj. Tarrying with the Negative: Kant, Hegel, and the Critique of Ideology. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993.

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                                                                                                                        Žižek repeatedly revisits the topic of the Lacanian subject throughout his vast and still-expanding oeuvre. However, this 1993 book, one of Žižek’s own favorites among his many philosophical writings, provides a particularly focused and lucid presentation of the now-renowned Žižekian synthesis of German idealism and psychoanalytic metapsychology.

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                                                                                                                        Register Theory (Real, Symbolic, Imaginary)

                                                                                                                        From the 1950s onward, the tripartite distinction between the Real, the Symbolic, and the Imaginary serves as a sort of “holy trinity” in Lacan’s unfolding discourse. Preliminarily and quite simply, one could begin by saying that these three registers constitute, for Lacan, the three basic dimensions of, to put it somewhat crudely and inaccurately, the “human condition” (such a phrase problematically conceals Lacan’s grave reservations concerning any and every variant of humanism). Another initial sweeping generalization perhaps worth making here is that the Imaginary designates the more phenomenological and the Symbolic the more structural sides of the subject’s reality; indeed, in Lacan’s parlance, “reality” usually refers to the fields of existence and experience familiar to consciousness and co-constituted by the two registers of the Imaginary and the Symbolic. The Real, moreover, generally names everything that fails to find a place within and/or evades taming and domesticating by Imaginary-Symbolic reality (hence, “reality” and “the Real” are opposed rather than synonymous in the Lacanian terminological universe). According to a now-standard periodization of Lacan’s intellectual itinerary, this itinerary can and should be divided into early, middle, and late periods, with each period being fundamentally characterized by the theoretical dominance of one of the three registers: the early Lacan of the Imaginary (1930s–1940s), the middle Lacan of the Symbolic (1950s), and the late Lacan of the Real (1960s–1970s). In this narrative, the 1930s and 1940s pivot primarily upon the phenomenology of the mirror stage; the 1950s are preoccupied with the socio-symbolic mediation resulting in “the unconscious structured like a language”; and, finally, the 1960s and 1970s orbit around such black holes of problematic, difficult-to-represent libidinal gravity as das Ding (la Chose, the Thing), objet petit a, jouissance, and sexual difference (as “sexuation”). Boothby 1991, Chiesa 2007, Fink 1995, Homer 2005, and Vanier 2000 all offer, from different perspectives, discussions of the three Lacanian registers as these evolve during the course of Lacan’s sustained reflections. The papers collected in Feldstein, et al. 1996 shed light on the R.S.I. triad specifically as it takes on preliminary shape during the initial years of le Séminaire. By contrast, Eyers 2012 and Žižek 1991 both devote themselves mainly to the register of the Real, with this register, as mentioned, becoming central only in the final decades of Lacan’s teachings.

                                                                                                                        • Boothby, Richard. Death and Desire: Psychoanalytic Theory in Lacan’s Return to Freud. New York: Routledge, 1991.

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                                                                                                                          The guiding thread of Boothby’s study is an examination of Lacan’s engagements with one of Freud’s most ambiguous and enigmatic notions, namely, the later idea of the “death drive” (Todestrieb). Through tracing Lacan’s shifting positions on this topic from the 1930s onward, Boothby sheds much light on the Lacanian registers.

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                                                                                                                          • Chiesa, Lorenzo. Subjectivity and Otherness: A Philosophical Reading of Lacan. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2007.

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                                                                                                                            Chiesa’s careful philosophical survey of the lengthy arc of Lacan’s intellectual itinerary is divided into three major sections: the Imaginary, the Symbolic, and the Real. In a more or less chronological manner, Chiesa explains the interrelations between registers at each stage of Lacan’s thinking.

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                                                                                                                            • Eyers, Tom. Lacan and the Concept of the ‘Real’. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1057/9781137026392Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              As its title promises, Eyers’s study is committed to exploring and illuminating the multiple facets of the Lacanian register of the Real specifically. Eyers brings clarity to an obscure topic and meticulously unpacks its many metaphysical and metapsychological implications. He also speaks to contemporary philosophical appropriations of the Lacanian Real.

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                                                                                                                              • Feldstein, Richard, Bruce Fink, and Maire Jaanus, eds. Reading Seminars I and II: Lacan’s Return to Freud. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                Many of the papers gathered in this volume address Lacan’s register theory. All three registers are treated in this collection. However, given the focus on the Lacan of the early 1950s, the Symbolic and the Imaginary appropriately receive the most attention.

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                                                                                                                                • Fink, Bruce. The Lacanian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                  In its concise thoroughness, Fink’s overview of Lacan from start to finish provides readers both with a solid working sense of what Lacan means by “Imaginary,” “Symbolic,” and “Real” as well as with knowledge of how and why Lacan relies upon these terms throughout his theoretical career.

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                                                                                                                                  • Homer, Sean. Jacques Lacan. New York: Routledge, 2005.

                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.4324/9780203347232Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    Homer devotes his first, second, and fifth chapters (i.e., three out of the six chapters constituting this book) to the Imaginary, the Symbolic, and the Real respectively. Homer’s explanations of these three notions are straightforward and helpfully connect them to numerous other conceptual coordinates located throughout Lacan’s oeuvre.

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                                                                                                                                    • Vanier, Alain. Lacan. Translated by Susan Fairfield. New York: Other Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                      Vanier’s book (like Chiesa 2007) is divided into three major sections addressing (in this order) the Imaginary, the Symbolic, and the Real. Vanier accessibly unfolds for readers the interrelationships binding all three of Lacan’s registers into an inextricably intertwined theoretical matrix doing justice to Freud’s discoveries.

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                                                                                                                                      • Žižek, Slavoj. Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                        One of Žižek’s many contributions was to highlight the importance of the later Lacan’s versions of the Real and their philosophical significance/utility. Here, Žižek renders this particularly mysterious and opaque register transparent and comprehensible via turns to familiar quotidian points of reference as concrete examples.

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                                                                                                                                        Language

                                                                                                                                        Perhaps the most famous of Lacan’s many one-liners is his proclamation according to which “the unconscious is structured like a language” (l’inconscient est structuré comme un langage). This arguably is the guiding thesis for the Lacan of the first six years of le Séminaire (i.e., 1953–1959). Moreover, partly due to the history of the chronologically uneven publication and translation of Lacan’s works from various of his periods—for instance, up until the 1990s, English-language readers were limited primarily to texts by Lacan from the 1950s—the theoretical focus on language at the intersection of Freudian psychoanalysis and Saussurian structuralism is perhaps the best-known feature of Lacanian doctrine. The “return to Freud” of the middle-period Lacan indeed is routed through structuralist-style conceptions of socio-symbolic mediation inspired by Saussure, Jakobson, Benveniste, and Lévi-Strauss, among others. However, Lacan significantly modifies what he borrows from structuralism and structuralist linguistics, bending these fields’ concepts in interfacing them with the Freudian analytic apparatus. Starting arguably in his seventh seminar of 1959–1960, Lacan moves away from the overriding emphasis on language and the register of the Symbolic prioritized in prior years (with the Real coming to occupy pride of place in this shift). However, his quasi-structuralist accounts of the socio-linguistic dimensions of reality and subjectivity in and around the 1950s are redeployed continually in the contexts of his later teachings of the 1960s and 1970s. Dor 1998, Lemaire 1977, and Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe 1992 are dedicated primarily to scrutinizing Lacan’s 1950s theory of language marrying Saussure with Freud. Fink 1995 covers this stretch of Lacan’s theorizing as part of the larger Lacanian picture from the 1930s through the 1970s. Van Haute 2002, with its targeting of the 1960 écrit “The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious,” brings out the contours of language à la Lacan at the pivotal moment between Lacan’s middle and late phases. Milner 1995 compares and contrasts these same middle and late phases, delineating how and why Lacan’s conceptions of language and structure shift over time. Le Gaufey 1996 situates the quasi-structuralist Lacan within the broader history of modern philosophy. Lastly, Johnston 2005 contains a debunking of widespread, commonplace misreadings of “the unconscious is structured like a language.”

                                                                                                                                        • Dor, Joël. Introduction to the Reading of Lacan: The Unconscious Structured Like a Language. Translated by Susan Fairfield. New York: Other Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                          Dor’s subtitle already announces his intention to introduce readers to Lacan via Lacan’s 1950s-era Saussurian return to Freud. Dor is amazingly clear, rigorous, and thorough in explaining the metapsychological and clinical reasons and implications associated with the Lacanian emphasis on language and language-like structures and dynamics.

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                                                                                                                                          • Fink, Bruce. The Lacanian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                            With his characteristic insight and lucidity, Fink demystifies the Lacanian versions of signifiers, signifying chains, and speaking subjectivity. Moreover, with Fink’s illuminations of language, structure, and the Symbolic being situated in a study of the entire expanse of Lacan’s sprawling corpus, this provides a broader contextual assessment of these topics.

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                                                                                                                                            • Johnston, Adrian. Time Driven: Metapsychology and the Splitting of the Drive. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                              Many critical interpretations of “the unconscious is structured like a language” have it that Lacan reduces the unconscious to the elements of natural languages and thereby leaves out everything else. In the context of reinterpreting Lacanian drive theory, Johnston refutes such criticisms as based on misreadings of Lacan.

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                                                                                                                                              • Le Gaufey, Guy. L’incomplétude du symbolique: De René Descartes à Jacques Lacan. Paris: EPEL, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                Here, Le Gaufey engages in a particularly helpful discussion of the relations between Freud’s and Lacan’s accounts of language. Contra certain critics of Lacan, he ably shows how the Lacanian mobilization of such resources as Saussurian structural linguistics is consistent with and justified by the Freudian metapsychology of language.

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                                                                                                                                                • Lemaire, Anika. Jacques Lacan. Translated by David Macey. New York: Routledge, 1977.

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                                                                                                                                                  The first doctoral thesis written on Lacan, with a foreword to its published version by Lacan himself, dwells primarily upon Lacan’s appropriations of structural linguistics. In this vein, Lemaire examines the dispute between Lacan and his dissenting student Jean Laplanche apropos the rapport between language and the unconscious.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Milner, Jean-Claude. L’Œuvre claire: Lacan, la science, la philosophie. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                    Milner’s study furnishes an elegant reconstruction of Lacan’s language-centered (quasi)structuralist period in which this 1950s phase is situated in relation both to a Lacanian conception of scientificity and the later Lacan’s turns to mathematics accentuated in the 1960s and 1970s.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Nancy, Jean-Luc, and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe. The Title of the Letter: A Reading of Lacan. Translated by François Raffoul and David Pettigrew. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                      Through a painstaking unpacking of Lacan’s 1957 écrit “The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious, or Reason Since Freud,” these two students of Derrida elucidate the status of language in Lacan’s marriage of Freud and Saussure. Lacan himself, during his twentieth seminar (1972–1973), praised its exegetical portions.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Van Haute, Philippe. Against Adaptation: Lacan’s ‘Subversion’ of the Subject—A Close Reading. Translated by Paul Crowe and Miranda Vankerk. New York: Other Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                        Van Haute’s study is a book-length line-by-line interpretation of Lacan’s 1960 écrit “The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious.” It clarifies the linguistic dimensions of the Lacanian framework at this transitional moment in Lacan’s thinking.

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                                                                                                                                                        The Unconscious

                                                                                                                                                        Both within and beyond psychoanalytic circles, one of the most distinctive features of Lacanianism is its vision of the unconscious. In the minds of many self-identifying (post)Freudians as well as educated laypersons in general, the unconscious brought to light by Freud is to be imagined as the psyche’s hidden underbelly, its dark depths of unruly animalistic instincts, a seething cauldron of wild, primitive impulses and urges. In short, a majority of analysts and non-analysts alike often tend to picture the Freudian unconscious as the nocturnal ocean of irrationality sidelined by the mainstream of traditional Western philosophy and celebrated by such predecessors of Freud as the German Romantics. Lacan’s “return to Freud” reveals, among many other things, that this widespread, commonplace representation of Freud’s key discovery is a misinterpretation that profoundly distorts the true import and unprecedented radicality of the psychoanalytic breakthrough at the start of the 20th century. For Lacan, this misrepresentation erroneously conflates the unconscious proper with the id. Appealing to Freud’s first major works establishing the early foundations of analysis (i.e., Interpretation of Dreams [1900], Psychopathology of Everyday Life [1901], and Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious [1905]), Lacan emphasizes that the Freudian analytic unconscious is not only inextricably intertwined with socio-symbolic mediating factors and forces (instead of reflecting a brute, raw animality of a primordial “first nature”) but also organized and governed according to precise, rationally articulable operations and logics (instead of being the unstructured anarchy of a writhing mass of blind, unthinking passions). Dor 1998 and Fink 1995 both provide accurate and complete delineations of Lacan’s handling of language. Nasio 1998 and Van Haute 2002 connect the language-mediated unconscious with Lacan’s reflections on, for instance, libidinal and clinical topics as well as theories of subjectivity. Soler 2009 explores the later Lacan’s recasting of the unconscious consequent upon the theoretical ascendency of the register of the Real in these years. Laplanche and Leclaire 1972 contains Laplanche’s critique of Lacan in which the unconscious is said to precede language, rather than the other way around (as Lacan has it). Johnston and Malabou offer the authors’ two different critical reconsiderations of the Freudian-Lacanian unconscious in relation to recent neurobiology and various currents of contemporary philosophy.

                                                                                                                                                        • Dor, Joël. Introduction to the Reading of Lacan: The Unconscious Structured Like a Language. Translated by Susan Fairfield. New York: Other Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                          With its focus on the middle-period, 1950s “return to Freud” via Saussure, Dor’s study is especially helpful in bringing to the fore the distinctive features of the Freudian unconscious as recast along quasi-structuralist lines. Dor provides a solid sense specifically of the signifier-mediated unconscious.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Fink, Bruce. The Lacanian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                            Particularly in the first of this book’s four parts, Fink clearly explains the links between language and the unconscious in Lacanian psychoanalysis. He renders Lacan’s own explanations and examples apropos these links, drawn mainly from early years of le Séminaire, especially accessible and compelling.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Johnston, Adrian, and Catherine Malabou. Self and Emotional Life: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Neuroscience. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                              Malabou’s and Johnston’s portions of this coauthored book both bring out features of the Lacanian unconscious through critical assessments of it informed by neurobiology. Malabou explores radical traumas incapable of accommodation by the Freudian-Lacanian unconscious. Johnston scrutinizes the problem of unconscious affect bequeathed by Freud to Lacan.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Laplanche, Jean, and Serge Leclaire. “The Unconscious: A Psychoanalytic Study.” Translated by Patrick Coleman. Yale French Studies 48 (1972): 118–175.

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                                                                                                                                                                Both Laplanche and Leclaire were trained by Lacan. Leclaire’s portions of this joint intervention concretely illustrate Lacanian ideas through their application to case material involving dream interpretation. Laplanche’s contributions initiate a debate with Lacan over whether language is a condition of the unconscious (Lacan) or vice versa (Laplanche).

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                                                                                                                                                                • Nasio, Juan-David. Five Lessons on the Psychoanalytic Theory of Jacques Lacan. Translated by David Pettigrew and François Raffoul. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Nasio’s study moves nicely back and forth between the middle and later periods of Lacan’s theorizing. Hence, he provides sketches of the continuities and discontinuities between the Lacanian unconscious as it evolves from the 1950s (dominated by the Symbolic) through the 1960s and 1970s (shaped more around the Real).

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Soler, Colette. Lacan, l’inconscient réinventé. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2009.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.3917/puf.soler.2009.01Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Soler’s study is distinctive in terms of its exclusive devotion to the task of elucidating the late Lacan’s notion of a “Real unconscious” beyond the “Symbolic unconscious.” She carefully delineates the theoretical, clinical, and political consequences of this notion to be found in the final years of Lacan’s teachings.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Van Haute, Philippe. Against Adaptation: Lacan’s ‘Subversion’ of the Subject—A Close Reading. Translated by Paul Crowe and Miranda Vankerk. New York: Other Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Van Haute’s examination of a 1960 text from a key transitional phase in Lacan’s thinking permits him to investigate how the quasi-structuralist signifying unconscious as per Freud avec Saussure (pre-1960) begins to mutate with the increasing emphasis (becoming even more pronounced post-1960) on jouissance and libidinal dynamics.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Oedipal Structures and Dynamics

                                                                                                                                                                      This heading encompasses not only Lacan’s appropriations and redeployments of Freud’s renditions of the (in)famous Oedipus complex but also a more extended family of interrelated Lacanian notions, such as the Name-of-the-Father (le Nom-du-Père), the desire of the mother, the maternal Thing (la Chose maternelle), symbolic castration, the phallus, and the master signifier (S1). As with much else involved in Lacan’s “return to Freud” (itself overall a repetition of the original nonetheless making for genuine, creative differences), his recourse to Freudian-style Oedipus talk is tricky to interpret. On the one hand, Lacan thereby signals his fidelity to certain orthodox aspects of Freud’s teachings on the breadth and depth of the family’s psychical, sexual, and cultural significance for childhood subject-formation. But, on the other hand, Lacan infuses the thus-retained family-centric terminology of Freud with (heterodox) new meanings, connotations, and implications arguably brining about some fundamental transformations in the classical Freudian accounts of Oedipal dramas and associated phenomena. In general, the Lacanian (post-)structuralist recasting of Freud’s “family romances” insistently treats maternal and paternal figures as socio-symbolic functions, positions, or roles, ones capable of being fleshed out by any number of varying individuals of different sexes and genders—and this instead of biologically sexed female mothers and male fathers embodied and experienced in the guise of the bourgeois nuclear family unit. Likewise, the literality of Freud’s discussions of such things as castration, penis envy, etc., gives way in Lacan’s discourse to less literal descriptions of the more global effects of language and authority on the living beings thrown into and submitted to such matrices of inter- and trans-subjective mediations. Leclaire 1999, Safouan 1974, and Shepherdson 2000 all target directly this specific constellation of topics in Lacan’s teachings. Similarly, a sizable portion of Chiesa 2007 is dedicated to explicating Oedipus à la Lacan during the height of his 1950s “return to Freud.” Verhaeghe 1999 addresses the Freudian family via a Lacanian re-reading of Freud’s analyses of feminine hysteria. The latter half of Boothby 2001 covers the metapsychologies of the middle and later Lacan as they relate to familial matters. Van Haute 2002 similarly does so specifically for Lacan around 1960. Finally, Žižek 1999 contains a provocative defense of the Lacanian Oedipus complex against certain of its prominent recent critics, such as Judith Butler.

                                                                                                                                                                      • Boothby, Richard. Freud as Philosopher: Metapsychology After Lacan. New York: Routledge, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                        With philosophically gratifying comprehensibility and precision, Boothby dissects and interconnects Lacan’s conceptions of language acquisition, alterity, familial libidinal economics, fantasy, and the objet petit a to deliver a rigorous reconstruction of the inter- and trans-subjectively mediated Lacanian subject. He beautifully illustrates all of this using well-chosen examples.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Chiesa, Lorenzo. Subjectivity and Otherness: A Philosophical Reading of Lacan. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                          The bulk of the middle of Chiesa’s study follows Lacan’s focus on Oedipal themes and issues from roughly 1956 through 1959 (i.e., Seminars IV–VI). This is a detailed, thorough, and exact analysis of Lacan’s quasi-structuralist redeployment and reworking of the familial dimensions of Freudian theory and practice.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Leclaire, Serge. Œdipe à Vincennes: Séminaire’69. Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                            This text is based on a seminar Leclaire gave as initial director of the then-new Department of Psychoanalysis at the Vincennes campus in the aftermath of May’68. This course weaves together theoretical and clinical examinations of many of Lacan’s ideas related to the analytic Oedipus complex.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Safouan, Moustapha. Études sur l’Œdipe. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1974.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Safouan, an early follower of Lacan like Leclaire, covers the full range of Oedipus-related Lacanian notions. He concretizes these notions in connection with such familiar analytic points of reference as the unconscious, dream interpretation, psychopathological diagnoses, and treatment criteria. This helpfully provides a sense of Lacanian analytic practice.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Shepherdson, Charles. Vital Signs: Nature, Culture, Psychoanalysis. New York: Routledge, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                In this collection of essays, Shepherdson is especially interested in revisiting Lacan’s teachings on familial and sexual/gender configurations in light of more recent controversies surrounding these issues. In particular, he thoughtfully puts these sides of Lacanian theory into conversation with French feminist and post-structuralist currents.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Van Haute, Philippe. Against Adaptation: Lacan’s ‘Subversion’ of the Subject—A Close Reading. Translated by Paul Crowe and Miranda Vankerk. New York: Other Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  With reference to the notoriously cryptic “graph of desire,” Van Haute clearly and systematically presents Lacan’s analyses of family-related structures and dynamics at the transition between the middle (1950s) and late (1960s–1970s) periods of his teachings. Both the Symbolic and Real dimensions of the familial are highlighted.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Verhaeghe, Paul. Does the Woman Exist? From Freud’s Hysteric to Lacan’s Feminine. Translated by Marc du Ry. New York: Other Press, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Verhaeghe employs the analytic diagnostic category of hysteria in his concern with sexual difference as per both Freud and Lacan. In so doing, he lucidly and meticulously traces the threads of continuity and discontinuity between Freud’s more and Lacan’s less literal references to familial organizations and functions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Žižek, Slavoj. The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology. London: Verso, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      The last third of Žižek’s book involves a critical and often polemical dialogue with historicist and post-structuralist criticisms of Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalysis. He fiercely argues for the relevance of Lacan’s post-Freudian updating of Oedipus for late-capitalist consumerist societies, substantiating this via contemporary cultural and political examples.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Otherness/Alterity

                                                                                                                                                                                      In Lacan’s mature works, he continually speaks of both the capital-O “Other” and lower-case-o “others.” With arguably two senses of capital-O “Other,” one can identify three distinct types of alterity as per Lacan corresponding to his three registers: the Imaginary other, the Symbolic Other, and the Real Other. The Imaginary other would be the intersubjective, phenomenological alter-ego as another self “like me,” namely, a human conspecific experienced as a familiar and understandable partner, rival, or the like. The Symbolic Other, also referred to by Lacan as “the big Other” (le grand Autre) of the symbolic order, is the trans-subjective, structural network of languages and the codes, customs, hierarchies, institutions, laws, mores, practices, rituals, rules, traditions, and so on that they sustain. Studies of such Lacanian topics as the theory of the registers, the mirror stage, language, and the unconscious inevitably address these two facets of otherness à la Lacan. However, Lacan’s notion of alterity closest to comparatively better-known, Lévinas-inspired invocations of “Otherness” by Continentalists is that of the Real Other, namely, what Lacan, on the basis of Freud’s posthumously published 1895 Project for a Scientific Psychology, designates as the Neighbor-as-Thing (Nebenmensch-als-Ding). Unlike either the intersubjective, phenomenal other of the Imaginary or the trans-subjective, structural Other of the Symbolic, and somewhat more akin to Kant’s thing-in-itself (Ding an sich), Lacan’s Real Other as Thing (Chose) is an enigmatic and opaque “x,” the perturbing but elusive presence of an unknowable alienness, an abyss of foreign desires, mysterious intentions, etc. Lacan’s recurrent talk about alterity and this Real dimension of Otherness have prompted efforts at evaluating the Other of Lacan in relation to Emmanuel Lévinas’s Other and similar notions in Continental philosophy and its offshoots. Feldstein, et al. 1995 provides a basis for appreciating one of Lacan’s key elucidations of his specific conception of the Other. Fryer 2004 and Harasym 1998 both put Lacan and Lévinas directly in conversation with each other. Žižek, et al. 2005 similarly juxtapose Lacanian and Lévinasian perspectives, albeit more in an advocacy of Lacan contra Lévinas. Žižek 1989 brings into sharp relief multiple dimensions of Lacanian Otherness.

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Feldstein, Richard, Bruce Fink, and Maire Jaanus, eds. Reading Seminar XI: Lacan’s Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Lacan’s pivotal and deservedly renowned eleventh seminar contains a particularly important explication of his account of Otherness. In their contributions here, Lacanian analysts Éric Laurent and Colette Soler elucidate the subject-Other rapport and the related distinction between alienation and separation as per this seminar.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Fryer, David Ross. Intervention of the Other: Ethical Subjectivity in Levinas and Lacan. New York: Other Press, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Fryer’s study emphasizes that Lévinas and Lacan ultimately converge with each other despite neither addressing the other. For Freyer, Lévinas and Lacan’s shared concern is with theorizing the subject of ethics within the groundless (post)modern world as reflected by much of 20th-century Continental philosophy.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Harasym, Sarah, ed. Levinas and Lacan: The Missed Encounter. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Much like Fryer 2004, Harasym’s collection seeks to make up for the “missed encounter” between Lévinas and Lacan as Parisian contemporaries. The essays in this volume cover the Lévinas-Lacan (non)relation as regards, for instance, ancient Greece, Descartes, Hegel, subjectivity, Otherness, ethics, and the Real.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Žižek, Slavoj. The Sublime Object of Ideology. London: Verso, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Here, Žižek artfully illuminates the multiple facets of Lacanian alterity by moving back-and-forth between Lacan’s difficult-to-decipher “graph of desire” and various familiar socio-cultural examples. Žižek is particularly attentive to what is involved with the Other being, as Lacan puts it, “barred” or lacking.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Žižek, Slavoj, Eric L. Santner, and Kenneth Reinhard. The Neighbor: Three Inquiries in Political Theology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Reinhard, engaging with Alain Badiou as well as Lacan, focuses on the link between alterity and love in its philosophical, psychoanalytic, and theological dimensions. Žižek mounts a Lacanian assault on the philosophical and political upshots of Lévinas’s account of the Other, arguing for the superiority of Lacan on this topic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Need, Demand, and Desire

                                                                                                                                                                                                The conceptual-terminological triad of need, demand, and desire, first formulated by Lacan during his middle-period “return to Freud,” serves a key load-bearing function in the architecture of his mature theoretical apparatus. His accounts of desire are absolutely central to his work from the 1950s onward—desire stands at the intersection of multiple Lacanian concept-terms, such as objet petit a, fantasy, drive, jouissance, love, and das Ding—and these accounts cannot properly be understood without appreciating desire’s genetic and structural relations with both need and demand. In his 1958 écrit “The Signification of the Phallus,” Lacan succinctly (albeit enigmatically) defines desire as what remains after need is subtracted from demand. Demands amount to linguistically and socially mediated expressions of biological, bodily needs. Such socio-linguistic expressive mediation introduces nonbiological, more-than-bodily significances and implications exceeding mere physical, organic survival and sustenance. This margin of excess over and above need alone introduced by the translation of need into demand is what constitutes desire. For Lacan, every demand, as he himself repeatedly puts it, ultimately is a demand for love—and this given that the meeting of language-articulated needs now symbolizes the standing of the demander in relation to those who respond (or not) to his or her articulated demands. This means that, once need is subtracted from demand, what is left over is a desire not for the object answering to need (for example, food in response to the demand to be fed), but for the affection, attention, care, concern, devotion, and the like of the one who is the addressee of the demand. What is desired of this thus-addressed O/other is an impossibility, namely, that he or she somehow manages to hand over as an object the nonobject of his or her love itself (what this signals is that desire is related both to the Real dimension of Otherness as well as to objet petit a). Johnston 2008, Johnston’s online summary, provides an overview of the need-demand-desire triad in relation to Lacan’s apparatus as a whole, with Johnston 2005 clarifying this triad in connection with Lacan’s ideas about love. Nasio 1998 and Van Haute 2002 both elucidate these three terms in relation to the Lacanian libidinal economy in general. Baas 1992 provides a Kantian transcendentalist account of desire. Boothby 2001 draws upon phenomenology in elucidating need, demand, and desire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Baas, Bernard. Le désir pur: Parcours philosophiques dans les parages de J. Lacan. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  Running with Lacan’s own explicit engagements with Kant, Baas develops a Kantian reconstruction of desire à la Lacan as the nonempirical possibility condition for all particular empirical objects actually desired. Fantasy, with its objet petit a as the “object-cause of desire,” is depicted as desire’s transcendental schematism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Boothby, Richard. Freud as Philosopher: Metapsychology After Lacan. New York: Routledge, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Boothby approaches Lacanian psychoanalysis primarily from an angle profoundly colored by phenomenological philosophy in particular. Deftly deploying the resources of descriptive phenomenology, he makes palpable and vivid what need, demand, and desire are and how they are conjoined with drives, alterity, and objet petit a in the Lacanian framework.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Johnston, Adrian. “Nothing is not Always No-one: (a)Voiding Love.” Filozofski Vestnik 26.2 (2005): 67–81.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Johnston’s primary focus in this article is on a Lacanian account of love (including Alain Badiou’s take on this). However, given Lacan’s characterization of love specifically in relation to need, demand, and desire (not to mention jouissance), Johnston spends quite a bit of time examining these three concepts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Johnston, Adrian. “Jacques Lacan (1901–1981)Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Johnston here explains and concretizes Lacan’s need-demand-desire triad in the context of an accessible summary of the full sweep of the Lacanian oeuvre. This triad’s close connections with such related concepts as symbolic castration, drive, jouissance, fantasy, and objet petit a are spelled out carefully and clearly.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Nasio, Juan-David. Five Lessons on the Psychoanalytic Theory of Jacques Lacan. Translated by David Pettigrew and François Raffoul. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nasio’s overview of Lacan’s thinking involves an emphasis on the more corporeal and libidinal dimensions of Lacanian subjectivity. Fantasy, jouissance, and objet petit a all are key topics for Nasio. He appropriately situates need, demand, and desire in proximity to these topics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Van Haute, Philippe. Against Adaptation: Lacan’s ‘Subversion’ of the Subject—A Close Reading. Translated by Paul Crowe and Miranda Vankerk. New York: Other Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Van Haute’s chosen point of reference, Lacan’s 1960 écrit “The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectical of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious,” links need, demand, and desire especially to symbolic castration and jouissance. Van Haute makes all of this transparently crystalline.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Objet petit a

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lacan sometimes identifies objet petit a as his primary novel conceptual contribution to psychoanalysis. But, what exactly is this peculiar entity? The “little a” stands for lower-case-a “autre” (i.e., little-o other). To make a long story short, the “petit a” signifies that this object is the mirror-image objective correlate/partner of (desiring, unconscious) subjectivity (a relationship represented in Lacan’s mathematical-style formula [i.e., “matheme”] for fantasy: $ ♢ a). Furthermore, Lacan regularly describes objet petit a as the “object-cause of desire.” This descriptive phrase indicates that the object a is not a particular empirical object attracting the subject’s presumably preexistent desire but, instead, a nonempirical antecedent pushing the subject into consequently desiring certain empirical objects and not others. Although objet a is a blend of mnemic and fantasmatic constituents originally taking shape within the subject’s ontogenetic history, this avatar of the desire of subjectivity, once formed, comes to enjoy thereafter a (quasi-)transcendental status with respect to the subsequent vicissitudes of the subject’s desiring life. Additionally, the divide between the transcendental and the empirical itself functions as an integral structuring feature of the Lacanian libidinal economy. To be more precise, no particular desired object, as empirical, is ever quite equal to a as its (quasi-) transcendental object-cause causally generating the effect of the desirability of the particular empirical object in question. This allegedly insurmountable gap between transcendental and empirical levels is responsible for Lacanian desire being “split” and constitutively unsatisfiable. With the attainment of each and every desired “x,” restless, insatiable desire implicitly or explicitly cries out, “That’s not (quite) it!” (with “IT” being the impossible-to-attain objet petit a). Green 1983 is a classic early account of objet petit a by the author when he still was one of Lacan’s students. Nasio 1987 and Le Gaufey 2012 are both careful book-length studies devoting themselves to meticulous delineations of this strange object. Salecl and Žižek 1996 is a collection of essays on various concrete embodiments of divided, self-objectifying desire. Fink 1995 contains accessible and thorough explanations of this Lacanian concept. Johnston 2005 involves a theoretical examination of objet a in terms of its different temporal dimensions. Baas 1998 and Boothby 2001 both flesh out objet a via turns to phenomenology.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Baas, Bernard. De la chose à l’objet: Jacques Lacan et la traversée de la phénoménologie. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Baas approaches Lacan generally and objet a specifically via the history of philosophy. In particular, he relies heavily upon Kantian transcendentalism and existential phenomenology (à la Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty) to bring out the experiential, embodied, and temporal facets of desire and its objects.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Boothby, Richard. Freud as Philosopher: Metapsychology After Lacan. New York: Routledge, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Like Baas 1998, Boothby’s work is profoundly indebted to phenomenological philosophies. Boothby draws on both transcendental and existential phenomenology and their 19th-century intellectual precursors. In so doing, he not only renders objet a tangible but also demonstrates how and why this Lacanian concept is philosophically significant.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Fink, Bruce. The Lacanian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Objet a is here demystified in the context of a compact but exhaustive overview of Lacan’s corpus as a whole. Fink not only situates this object in its larger Lacanian conceptual context—he satisfyingly explains its origins in and relations to Freud’s work and the broader psychoanalytic tradition.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Green, André. “The Logic of Lacan’s objet(a) and Freudian Theory: Convergences and Questions.” In Interpreting Lacan. Edited by Joseph H. Smith and William Kerrigan, 161–191. Translated by Kimberly Kleinert and Beryl Schlossman. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Green’s essay, based on an oral presentation he gave in 1965 in one of Lacan’s seminar sessions (and first published in 1966 in the journal Cahiers pour l’Analyse), unpacks the concept of objet a by placing it in relation with the wider network of other Lacanian concepts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Johnston, Adrian. Time Driven: Metapsychology and the Splitting of the Drive. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Johnston’s study involves reconstructing the Freudian-Lacanian account of the libidinal economy on the basis of philosophical and psychoanalytic perspectives specifically on temporality. In this light, objet a is depicted as a crystallization reflecting discrepancies and conflicts between different modes of psychically existing in relation to past, present, and future.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Le Gaufey, Guy. L’objet a: Approches de l’invention de Lacan. Paris: EPEL, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Entirely concerned with the topic of the objet a, Le Gaufey’s book comprehensively surveys the antecedents in Freud’s work and the permutations in Lacan’s of this specific idea. Additionally, Le Gaufey further elucidates it via recourses to medieval and modern philosophy (for instance, Augustine and Pascal).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Nasio, Juan-David. Les yeux de laure: Transfert, objet a, et topologie dans la théorie de J. Lacan. Paris: Flammarion, 1987.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The middle third of Nasio’s book is devoted to objet petit a. Partly anchoring Lacan’s objet a in Freud’s teachings, Nasio proceeds to explore the relations between this concept and the Lacanian theory of psychotic-level psychopathology (thereby providing some clinical concreteness as well).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Salecl, Renata, and Slavoj Žižek, eds. Gaze and Voice as Love Objects. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lacan sometimes notes that the gazes and voices of others can and do become key coordinates for desire: namely, representations of objet petit a. The diverse essays in this volume provocatively explore such libidinal and sexual phenomena through philosophy, literature, music, and cinema.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fantasy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            For both Freud and Lacan, the psychoanalytic unconscious integrally involves (self-)consciously unacknowledged fantasies. In these intrapsychically defended-against (i.e., repressed, etc.) fantasies, fundamental concerns and intentions determinative for the entire psychical-libidinal life of the person are paradigmatically depicted. The specifically Lacanian conception of fantasy is bound up with Lacan’s related concepts of subjectivity ($), desire, and the objet petit a. Lacan’s mathematical-style formula (i.e., “matheme”) for fantasy, $ ♢ a, reflects the positing of an intimate, indissoluble bond between, on the one hand, the desiring subject and, on the other hand, the object-cause of this subject’s desire. Now, the symbol in-between $ and a, the diamond-shaped “lozenge” (poinçon) ♢, is intended by Lacan to serve as a condensation of four logical/mathematical symbols: conjunction (∧), disjunction (∨), greater than (>), and less than (<). This means that fantasies stage any number of different modes of relationship between desiring subjectivity ($) and desire-causing objectivity (a), including, for example: fusing or possessing (conjunction [∧]), denigrating or rejecting (disjunction [∨]), ruling or outshining (greater than [>]), serving or worshipping (less than [<]), and so on. The deliberate formal abstractness of the matheme for fantasy is meant to allow for and capture an indefinite number of always-idiosyncratic instantiations of this nonetheless basic, universal structure of subject-object relatedness. Lacanian fantasies exhibit a “logic,” with these “formations of the unconscious,” as complex constellations of representational components, being intricate ideational constructs (rather than brute, primitive programs of an animalistic, instinctual id). The logics of subjects’ fantasies are skeletal templates determinative for the ongoing unfolding of subjects’ repeated patterns in their life histories of choosing objects and relating to others. Laplanche and Pontalis 1986, by two of Lacan’s students, outlines an account of “fundamental fantasies” as psychical treatments of the existentially pressing mysteries of birth, death, and sexual difference. Leclaire 1998, by another Lacanian analyst-student, involves clinical case material in which interpretations of fantasies are at stake. Baas 1992 provides a philosophical reconstruction of Lacan’s theory of fantasy along the lines of Kantian transcendentalism. The treatment of fantasy in Chiesa 2007 foregrounds the versions of this concept elaborated by Lacan during his later period, with its emphasis on the register of the Real. Žižek 1994 and Žižek 1997 both flesh out Lacan’s 1960s and 1970s versions of fantasy in connection with sexuality, philosophy, politics, and culture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Baas, Bernard. Le désir pur: Parcours philosophiques dans les parages de J. Lacan. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Baas’s study draws instructive parallels between Lacan’s idea of fantasy and Kant’s hypotheses regarding the imagination and transcendental schematism as per the A-version of the Critique of Pure Reason. For this Kantian Lacan, fantasy representationally schematizes the $-a rapport so as to mediate between desire’s transcendental and empirical dimensions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Chiesa, Lorenzo. Subjectivity and Otherness: A Philosophical Reading of Lacan. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Chiesa’s study contains a charting of the development and elaboration of accounts of fantasy in Lacan’s thinking from the 1950s through the 1970s, with fantasies’ relations with the Real becoming increasingly important from the 1960s onward. Chiesa examines the positions of subjects, objects (a), desire, drive, and jouissance in fantasies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Laplanche, Jean, and Jean-Bertrand Pontalis. “Fantasy and the Origins of Sexuality.” In Formations of Fantasy. Edited by Victor Burgin, James Donald, and Cora Kaplan, 5–34. New York: Methuen, 1986.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Laplanche and Pontalis are concerned principally with what are called “fundamental fantasies.” These specific psychical constructs can be thought of as attempts by the unconscious to resolve the enigmas of human life involving birth, death, and sexual difference. The authors offer a seminal treatment of this specific topic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Leclaire, Serge. Psychoanalyzing: On the Order of the Unconscious and the Practice of the Letter. Translated by Peggy Kamuf. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    An analyst-follower of Lacan, Leclaire was a practicing clinician and especially adept at presenting analyses of case material. This book contains, among other things, illustrations of Lacanian-style interpretations of fantasmatic formations of the unconscious. This helps further concretize Lacan’s idea of fantasy and related notions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Žižek, Slavoj. The Metastases of Enjoyment: Six Essays on Woman and Causality. London: Verso, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Žižek, with his tendency to emphasize the teachings of the later Lacan, explores fantasy’s relations with the Lacanian theory of sexual difference circa the 1960s and, in particular, the 1970s. These relations are fleshed out with numerous philosophical (both historical and contemporary) and cultural (both high and low) references.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Žižek, Slavoj. The Plague of Fantasies. London: Verso, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This book unfolds the Lacanian conception of fantasy in great theoretical detail. Herein, Žižek (like Baas 1992) treats fantasy à la Lacan as akin to transcendental schematism as per Kant. The topics of drive, desire, intersubjectivity, and sexual difference are addressed in this connection as well.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Drive

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The specifically psychoanalytic idea of drive (Trieb) is a load-bearing pillar of Freud’s metapsychological apparatus. In his celebrated eleventh seminar of 1964, Lacan rightly identifies it as one of “the four fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis” (this seminar involves Lacan’s single most sustained and substantial treatment of the topic of drive). For Freud, a drive is different from an animal instinct (Instinkt), with the former (unlike the latter) being susceptible to and inevitably undergoing such vicissitudes as (to employ Freud’s list in his 1915 metapsychological paper “Drives and Their Vicissitudes”) “reversal into its opposite,” “turning round upon the subject’s own self,” “repression,” and “sublimation.” Drives are significantly more plastic than instincts, with their much greater transformability in response to the subject’s peculiar lived experiences and varying socio-linguistic environments resulting in subjects having denaturalized and idiosyncratic libidinal economies. Additionally, starting in 1920, Freud deploys and embellishes upon his intensely controversial notion of a death drive (Todestrieb)—a notion bequeathing to his heirs, Lacan included, a tangled web of unanswered questions and unresolved problems. Periodically throughout his corpus, Lacan addresses the Freudian theory of drives in general as well as the death drive in particular. Moreover, he adds to and modifies Freud’s concept of drive in the process of reworking this concept along structuralist and post-structuralist lines in integrating it into the rest of his evolving theoretical framework. Most importantly, Lacan comes to distinguish between desire and drive: whereas the former chases after impossible-to-attain fulfillments in perpetually restless dissatisfaction, the latter parasitically comes to enjoy desire’s futile, repetitive circling around its unfillable lacks. Collins 1997 is a comprehensive collection of essays by a wide range of scholars addressing the various things Lacan has to say about the matter of drives. Johnston 2005 carries forward Freud’s and Lacan’s drive theories and posits that each and every drive is internally and self-subvertingly divided against itself along temporal lines. Safouan 1983 is a Lacanian examination of Freud’s death drive as well as pleasure-versus-reality principles. Boothby 1991 and Poissonnier 1998 both zero in on the Todestrieb, with Boothby 2001 also dealing with this as well as Freud’s and Lacan’s broader metapsychologies of drives. Žižek 1996 puts Lacan into conversation with Schelling and, in so doing, clarifies the Lacanian distinction between drive and desire. Feldstein, et al. 1995 presents papers glossing Lacan’s sessions on drive from Seminar XI.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Boothby, Richard. Death and Desire: Psychoanalytic Theory in Lacan’s Return to Freud. New York: Routledge, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Drawing broadly and deeply on both Freud’s own writings as well as the phenomenological tradition, Boothby demystifies the subject of the death drive. Not only does he furnish a Lacanian reconstruction of this Freudian hypothesis—he also shows how central the death drive is to the entirety of Lacan’s thinking.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Boothby, Richard. Freud as Philosopher: Metapsychology After Lacan. New York: Routledge, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This book builds on Boothby’s previous (1991) work. Herein, he revisits the Todestrieb in light of Lacan’s accounts of both aggression and signifiers (the latter being linked to repetition, itself a key feature of Freud’s death drive). Boothby also provides a bigger picture of Freudian and Lacanian libidinal dynamics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Collins, Daniel G., ed. Umbr(a): A Journal of the Unconscious—Drive: Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. Buffalo: State University of New York at Buffalo, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This issue of the now-defunct annual journal Umbr(a) is devoted to the theme of drive. A star-studded cast of theoreticians addresses this theme, including: Joan Copjec, Jacques Derrida, Bruce Fink, Jean-François Lyotard, Jacques-Alain Miller, and Slavoj Žižek. Various perspectives on the analytic drive are presented.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Feldstein, Richard, Bruce Fink, and Maire Jaanus, eds. Reading Seminar XI: Lacan’s Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The perhaps definitive Lacanian rendition of drive theory after Freud is to be found in the eleventh seminar (1964), the focus of this volume. Lacan here specially emphasizes the dis-unified, cobbled-together, hodgepodge (non-)nature of analytic drives heterogeneously divided into (as per Freud) sources, pressures, aims, and objects.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Johnston, Adrian. Time Driven: Metapsychology and the Splitting of the Drive. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This treatise reconstructs both Freud’s and Lacan’s theories of drives. Johnston argues that drives not only conflict with each other and are each internally differentiated—he maintains that each and every drive is split from within by a conflict between repetitive and nonrepetitive modes of temporality.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Poissonnier, Dominique. La pulsion de mort: De Freud à Lacan. Paris: Points Hors Ligne, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Poissonnier’s study follows the unfolding of the death drive and related notions from the later Freud on through Lacan. Poissonnier connects this conceptual trajectory to such different-but-interrelated topics as ontogenetic subject-formation, Freudian negation (Verneinung), masochism both sexual and moral, Oedipal relations, objet petit a, and time.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Safouan, Moustafa. Pleasure and Being: Hedonism from a Psychoanalytic Point of View. Translated by Martin Thom. New York: St. Martin’s, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Safouan, another longtime analyst-follower of Lacan, dwells primarily upon the later Freud’s shifting speculations concerning the death drive. Safouan’s Lacanian examinations mobilize the foundational Freudian distinction between the pleasure and reality principles in the process of mapping the perplexing, vexing paradoxes and mysteries involved with the Todestrieb.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Žižek, Slavoj. The Indivisible Remainder: An Essay on Schelling and Related Matters. London: Verso, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Although Lacan never explicitly mentions the German idealist philosopher Schelling (despite regularly referencing Kant and Hegel), Žižek proves in this book (and elsewhere) just how productive a Schelling-Lacan exchange can be. Žižek utilizes the middle-period Schelling (1809–1815) to elucidate, among other issues, Lacan’s drive-desire couple.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Jouissance

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The quotidian French word “jouissance” functions as a technical term specific to Lacan’s intellectual framework. It has become customary in English-language translations and studies of Lacan’s texts to leave this French word untranslated. The closest English equivalent would be “enjoyment.” But, this everyday English word fails to capture some of the crucial significances and nuances of jouissance. Of course, the English “enjoyment” can signify possession in addition to pleasure (as can the French “jouissance”). However, jouissance also is closely associated with sexuality in the French language, with one of the senses of the verb form “jouir” being “to come” (i.e., to achieve orgasm). Furthermore, starting in such places as his seventh seminar of 1959–1960 (“The Ethics of Psychoanalysis”), Lacan stipulates that jouissance is distinct from pleasure (as gratification, equilibrium, homeostasis, satiety, balance, etc.). Being “beyond the pleasure principle” (to borrow the title of Freud’s 1920 book introducing the death drive), jouissance is not enjoyable in the sense of “pleasurable” (with this being another good reason for English translators not rendering it as “enjoyment”). Over the course of the final twenty-plus years of his intellectual itinerary, Lacan steadily endows jouissance with a growing plethora of meanings, connotations, and associations, forging multiple different instances, categories, and subcategories of this notion. Some permutations of jouissance include, for example: unbearably intense affective, libidinal, and/or traumatic experiences; the impossible Real of an unattainable fullness of satisfaction; transgressions by oneself or others that violate the parameters of familiar, ordinary reality and its regulations in search of “something more”; and masochistic and/or sadistic forms of violent enjoyment fixated upon (pleasure in) pain rather than standard, straightforward pleasure as the absence or opposite of pain. Miller 2000 as well as Braunstein 2003a and Braunstein 2003b all provide thorough surveys and explanations of the multitude of senses taken on by jouissance throughout Lacan’s corpus. Many of the contributions to Barnard and Fink 2002 unpack depictions of jouissance from Lacan’s famous Seminar XX (1972–1973), an annual seminar series in which this notion features centrally. Nasio 1998 makes jouissance cross-resonate with Lacanian views of the unconscious and the body. Johnston 2005 approaches multiple aspects of jouissance from the perspective of analytic drive theory and conceptions of temporality. Žižek 2002 brings to the fore certain crucial philosophical and politics upshots of Lacanian jouissance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Barnard, Suzanne, and Bruce Fink, eds. Reading Seminar XX: Lacan’s Major Work on Love, Knowledge, and Feminine Sexuality. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lacan’s renowned twentieth seminar mobilizes several versions of jouissance as part of its reflections on sexual difference and embodiment in psychoanalytic theory and practice. A number of the contributions to this volume scrutinize these mobilizations, tracking their connections with femininity, the unconscious, and libidinal life.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Braunstein, Néstor. La jouissance, un concept lacanien. Paris: Points Hors Ligne, 2003a.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In this book dedicated exclusively to the topic of jouissance, Braunstein painstakingly catalogues and describes the shifting ensemble of incarnations of jouissance in Lacan’s oeuvre from the late 1950s until the beginning of the 1980s. In Braunstein’s incredibly thorough investigation, he spells out the numerous analytic implications of jouissance.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Braunstein, Néstor. “Desire and jouissance in the teachings of Lacan.” In The Cambridge Companion to Lacan. Edited by Jean-Michel Rabaté, 102–115. Translated by Tamara Francés. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003b.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This essay is partly a condensed presentation of the contents of Braunstein 2003a. Following Lacan, Braunstein informatively contrasts jouissance with Lacanian desire. Additionally, he condenses his survey of the many faces of jouissance in Lacan’s teachings in the form of “twenty theses” disambiguating the multiple meanings of this key term.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Johnston, Adrian. Time Driven: Metapsychology and the Splitting of the Drive. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Lacan’s uses of jouissance not infrequently involve invocations of things having to do both with sexed embodiment as well as the structures and dynamics of drives and desires. Drawing upon these uses, including a later distinction between “jouissance expected” and “jouissance obtained,” Johnston situates jouissance within Freudian-Lacanian drive theory.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Miller, Jacques-Alain. “Paradigms of Jouissance.” Translated by Jorge Jauregui. Lacanian Ink 17 (2000): 10–47.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Identifying six distinct but not-unrelated “paradigms of jouissance,” Miller systematically delineates the trajectories and transformations of the notion of jouissance across the arc of Lacan’s thinking from the late 1950s until his death. In so doing, he provides an extremely thorough and well-rounded picture of this pivotal term.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Nasio, Juan-David. Five Lessons on the Psychoanalytic Theory of Jacques Lacan. Translated by David Pettigrew and François Raffoul. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Moving between the mid-period Lacan of the 1950s and the later Lacan of the 1960s and 1970s, Nasio helpfully and insightfully joins the unconscious-structured-like-a-language of the Saussurian “return to Freud,” on the one hand, with jouissance and the body, on the other hand.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Žižek, Slavoj. For They Know Not What They Do: Enjoyment as a Political Factor. London: Verso, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As with Žižek’s work in general, this book deploys a dizzying array of figures: Sade, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Lenin, Wittgenstein, Freud, Lacan, and Derrida, among others. Combining the ideas of these figures with various historical and cultural references, Žižek demonstrates the philosophical and political importance of the concept of jouissance.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Love

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Freud tends to reduce consciously experienced and valorized “love” to an array of unconscious libidinal mechanisms, with this reductive stress counterbalancing the massive historical weight of traditional idealizations and romanticizations of the amorous. Lacan can be depicted as attempting to restore a certain equilibrium in the psychoanalytic account of love by allowing for an analytic-yet-non-reductive explanation of it. Furthermore, Lacan’s specific portrayal of love is closely tied to a number of interrelated concepts central to his theoretical edifice. The need-demand-desire triad and idea of the Real dimension of the Other arguably are the most essential ingredients in the Lacanian picture of the amorous. Lacan claims that all demands essentially are demands for love. That is to say, a demander, in demanding something from another, is asking not only for a tangible object (such as nourishment, assistance, etc.) answering to the thus-articulated need. Over and above the object corresponding to the need, what is being requested is the addressed other’s love qua affection, attention, care, concern, devotion, and the like—namely, the impossible-to-objectify Real Otherness of the one addressed as something that he or she is incapable of gift-wrapping and handing over to the demander as one tangible thing among others. Hence, a subject’s relationship to a loved significant other entails, in light of this impossibility of objectification, the interminable repetition of demands for tokens of love, whether as concrete need-meeting entities or signs affirming the loving relationship. Le Brun 2002 situates Lacan’s thinking about love at the end of a panoramic survey of the history of this topic’s treatment in the Western tradition starting with the ancient Greeks. Miller 1994 is an extremely concise and incredibly exact distillation of Lacan’s Freud-inspired but nonetheless unique conceptualization of the truly amorous. Zupančič 2002 likewise is a relatively short but amazingly lucid philosophical interpretation of love à la Lacan. Johnston 2005 examines Lacan’s version of love in relation both to Alain Badiou’s Lacan-informed idea of the same as well as Freud’s handling of amorous matters. Žižek 1994 situates love with respect to the later Lacan’s reflections on sexual difference. Salecl 1994 and Salecl 2000 as well as Salecl and Žižek 1996 all are important collections of essays devoted to Lacanian love.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Johnston, Adrian. “Nothing is Not Always No-one: (a)Voiding Love.” Filozofski Vestnik 26.2 (2005): 67–81.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Johnston grounds his reading of Lacan’s theory of love on the Lacanian concepts of need, demand, desire, and Real Otherness. Comparing and contrasting Freud and Lacan on this subject, he then offers a critical Lacanian assessment of Badiou’s Lacan-indebted reflections on the amorous.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Le Brun, Jacques. Le pur amour de Platon à Lacan. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This ambitious intellectual history performs two tasks simultaneously: on the one hand, it engages in a psychoanalytically informed re-traversing of Western philosophical and theological thinking about love; on the other hand, it argues on this basis that Freud and Lacan indeed permit a place for the genuinely amorous.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Miller, Jacques-Alain. “Love’s Labyrinths.” Translated by Tom Radigan. Lacanian Ink 8 (1994): 7–13.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In the span of a mere handful of pages, Miller succeeds at elaborating a surgically precise reconstruction of love as per Lacan. He not only places this within a Freudian context but also links it to such relevant Lacanian concepts as drive, desire, objet petit a, and tuché.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Salecl, Renata, ed. Special Issue: New Formations. A Journal of Culture/Theory/Politics 23 (1994).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is dedicated to the topic of love in Lacan’s oeuvre. Overall, its contributors and their articles are largely representative of the Slovenian Lacan of the Ljubljana School of Psychoanalysis (popularly associated with Žižek). Accordingly, this topic is approached more philosophically here.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Salecl, Renata, ed. Sexuation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Written by a set of experts on Lacan, this collection of essays involves Lacanian, Žižekian, and Badiouian perspectives on sexual difference à la Lacan (i.e., “sexuation”). It includes an important essay by Badiou on love, and many other texts herein address this issue via Lacan’s reflections on it.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Salecl, Renata, and Slavoj Žižek, eds. Gaze and Voice as Love Objects. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Like Salecl 1994, this volume primarily presents the views of the Slovene Lacanians. Its contributions focus on two of the main embodiments of objet petit a (i.e., gaze and voice) as centers of gravity in amorous relationships. Philosophical, cultural, and aesthetic references serve to concretize these considerations.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Žižek, Slavoj. The Metastases of Enjoyment: Six Essays on Woman and Causality. London: Verso, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One of the agendas of this book is to revisit the later Lacan’s pronouncements on femininity and sexual difference with an eye to the enduring debates these provocative assertions have fueled. Žižek herein examines how and why Lacan relies heavily on the courtly love tradition in accounting for the amorous.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Zupančič, Alenka. “On Love as Comedy.” Lacanian Ink 20 (2002): 62–79.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Building upon her work concerning the Kant-Lacan relationship, Zupančič employs a transcendentalist construal of desire, object a, and jouissance so as to illuminate what love amounts to for Lacan. She indicates that and why true love still happens and also links all of this to temporal structures and dynamics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Affects

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The status (or lack thereof) of affects in Lacanian psychoanalysis has been and continues to be a quite controversial issue. A now-standard criticism of Lacan from such non-Lacanian quarters as Anglo-American psychoanalysis, existential phenomenology, post-structuralism, and feminist theory is that he indefensibly sidelines the emotions as analytically insignificant. He allegedly is guilty of promoting an excessively hyper-intellectualized theory and practice of analysis in which an obsession with language alone evacuates the unconscious of everything both above and below the threshold of the single, one-sided dimension of linguistic mediation. Indeed, Lacan himself regularly appeals to moments in Freud ostensibly insisting that the unconscious, as the proper object of psychoanalysis, is devoid of affects, that the phrase “unconscious affects” (as unfelt feelings) is self-contradictory. Nonetheless, Lacan’s glosses on the affective are more complicated, subtle, and sophisticated than the immediately preceding indicates. A standard exculpatory line resorted to by Lacan in the face of charges to the effect that he ignores affect is an appeal to the fact that the entirety of one of his annual seminars, the tenth (1962–1963), is devoted to the subject of anxiety. For him, anxiety is the most important of the affects in psychoanalysis, being closely related to alterity, unconscious desire, and objet petit a. Hence, for many Lacanians, Seminar X is the first place to turn when considering Lacan on affect. However, Lacan also discusses anxiety and other affects in different contexts as well. Soler 2011, devoted to the topic of “Lacanian affects,” provides a particularly thorough overview of Lacan’s various takes on affective phenomena. Johnston and Malabou 2013 offers two distinct critical perspectives on emotions and feelings in Freudian and Lacanian analysis. Verhaeghe 2004, functioning as a sort of Lacanian alternative to the hegemonic Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, speaks to affective/mood disorders involving anxiety, depression, etc. Harari 2001 furnishes a close reading of Lacan’s 1962–1963 seminar on anxiety. Copjec 2006 and Miller 2006 both address Lacan’s passing invocations of shame, especially its occurrence near the end of Seminar XVII (“The Other Side of Psychoanalysis” [1969–1970]). Finally, Green 1999 involves an ex-Lacanian revisiting theories of affect in Freudian psychoanalysis with an eye to countering Lacan’s purported downplaying of this topic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Copjec, Joan. “May’68, the Emotional Month.” In Lacan: The Silent Partners. Edited by Slavoj Žižek, 90–114. London: Verso, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Copjec zooms in on Lacan’s gesturing at shame toward the close of the seventeenth seminar. She employs this moment in 1970 so as to unpack what is at stake in Lacan’s analytic-interpretive response to the sociopolitical upheavals associated with the then-recent event of May 1968.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Green, André. The Fabric of Affect in Psychoanalytic Discourse. Translated by Alan Sheridan. New York: Routledge, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Green writes this book after separating himself from Lacan’s influence. Lending his voice to all those who critique Lacan for an alleged neglect (or even repression) of affects, he reconsiders in a pointedly non-Lacanian fashion accounts of the affective in the works of Freud and various post-Freudian analysts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Harari, Roberto. Lacan’s Seminar onAnxiety”: An Introduction. Edited by Rico Franses. Translated by Jane C. Lamb-Ruiz. New York: Other Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Harari’s study is a sustained scrutinizing of Lacan’s Seminar X (Anxiety [1962–1963]). Harari spells out how Lacan both theoretically and clinically analyzes affective phenomena. He tracks Lacan’s placements of anxiety vis-à-vis, for instance, desire, lack, objet a, and jouissance.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Johnston, Adrian, and Catherine Malabou. Self and Emotional Life: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Neuroscience. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Johnston and Malabou present two distinct critical engagements with psychoanalytic framings of affective life. Johnston seeks to forge a conception of unconscious affects partly on the basis of Freud’s and Lacan’s texts. Malabou challenges Freudian-Lacanian analysis to confront those no longer able to be affected in certain ways.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Miller, Jacques-Alain. “On Shame.” Edited by Catherine Bonningue. In Jacques Lacan and the Other Side of Psychoanalysis: Reflections on Seminar XVII. Edited by Justin Clemens and Russell Grigg, 11–28. Translated by Russell Grigg. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The focus here is on Lacan’s pointing to shame in the immediate aftermath of May’68. Miller portrays the later Lacan as engaged in a historically/politically responsive recasting of psychoanalysis in light of the advent of a “shameless” late-capitalist consumerism populated by Nietzschean “last men” without honor.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Soler, Colette. Les affects lacaniens. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Soler’s book-length overview of affects in Lacan’s work reaffirms the Lacanian thesis that these generally are conscious phenomena deceptively distorting unconscious structures. She furnishes thoughtful Lacanian theoretical and clinical treatments of, for example, anxiety, sadness, anger, shame, guilt, love, anticipation/expectation, and mourning.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Verhaeghe, Paul. On Being Normal and Other Disorders: A Manual for Clinical Psychodiagnostics. Translated by Sigi Jottkandt. New York: Other Press, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Verhaeghe’s intention in this sizable tome is to provide a Lacanian psychodiagnostic rival to the dominant Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). DSM contains many treatments of affective phenomena in conjunction with various psychopathologies. Verhaeghe therefore takes up these matters as well.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sexuation/Sexual Difference

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Obviously, sexuality and the differences between the sexes are central subjects in Freudian psychoanalysis. Throughout his career, Lacan, with his fidelity to Freud, appropriately takes up these issues again and again (see also Feminism and Gender/Queer Theory). For instance, during his 1950s “return to Freud,” he devotes substantial time and effort to considering carefully the masculine and feminine dimensions of Oedipal arrangements and relationships. In the 1960s, Lacan begins increasingly emphasizing the fundamental discrepancies and incompatibilities between how masculine and feminine subjects (although not necessarily as male and female biological organisms respectively) relate to each other within the broad fields of sexuality. However, Lacan’s definitive and most (in)famous pronouncements on sexual difference—Lacanians speak of this as “sexuation” so as to signal rejections of both essentialist naturalisms of sex and anti-essentialist culturalisms of gender—surface in the early 1970s. His pivotal twentieth seminar (Encore) of 1972–1973 is widely considered to be the locus classicus for the Lacanian theory of sexual difference. The most notorious statement apropos sexuation of the Lacan of this period is his thesis according to which, “There is no sexual relationship” (Il n’y a pas de rapport sexuel). By this, he means that the more-than-biological subject positions offered by masculinity and femininity involve different-in-kind libidinal economies (with their desires, drives, fantasies, pleasures, enjoyments, etc.) constitutively out of sync with each other. Put differently, there is no yin-yang-style preestablished harmony, whether natural or cultural, between sexes and genders. Masculine and feminine psyches necessarily respond in myriad specific manners both conscious and unconscious to this inherent, ineliminable discord. Whereas most engagements with sexual difference as per Lacan privilege Seminar XX, both Soler 2006 and Verhaeghe 1999 cover much lengthier stretches of Lacan’s teachings in connection with this topic. Fink 1995 accessibly discusses the Lacan of Encore in the context of Lacan’s overall intellectual itinerary. Salecl 2000 presents perspectives on sexuation à la the later Lacan as it relates to love, desire, jouissance, and the unconscious. Le Gaufey 2006 reconstructs the theoretical and practical facets of Lacanian sexuation on the basis of following the formal logic mobilized by Lacan in the early 1970s. Copjec 1994 is a seminal essay that handles Lacanian sexual difference as an antinomic structure in the precise Kantian sense. Žižek 1994 defends Lacan’s sexuation against its myriad feminist critics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Barnard, Suzanne, and Bruce Fink, eds. Reading Seminar XX: Lacan’s Major Work on Love, Knowledge, and Feminine Sexuality. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Devoted entirely to the twentieth seminar (Encore [1972–1973]), this edited volume discusses sexual difference as per Lacan in conjunction with such other subjects as knowledge, the unconscious, science, hysteria, the Real, and jouissance. It also addresses Lacan’s engagements in Seminar XX with mathematics and the mind-body problem.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Copjec, Joan. “Sex and the Euthanasia of Reason.” In Read My Desire: Lacan Against the Historicists. By Joan Copjec, 201–236. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Copjec utilizes Kant in order to illuminate the structures most essential to Lacan’s conception of sexual difference. Specifically, she puts forward the thesis that Kant’s antinomy between the mathematical and dynamical sublimes in the Critique of the Power of Judgment already foreshadows the (il)logic of antinomic sexuation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Fink, Bruce. The Lacanian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fink’s 1995 study is a concise yet panoramic overview of Lacan’s teachings from start to finish. Within this framework, Fink elegantly encapsulates the later Lacan’s declarations about sexual difference and shows exactly how they are grounded in Freud’s investigations into the domains of peculiarly human sexualities.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Le Gaufey, Guy. Le pastout de Lacan: Consistence logique, conséquences cliniques. Paris: EPEL, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            During the early 1970s, including in Seminar XX, Lacan relies heavily upon both mathematics and formal logic in the elaboration of his doctrines. Le Gaufey employs the twentieth seminar’s logical “formulas of sexuation” as red threads for tracing the clinical and metapsychological consequences of Lacan’s account of sexual difference.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Salecl, Renata, ed. Sexuation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This collection of essays brings together contributions by French analysts and philosophers as well as representatives of the Ljubljana School of Psychoanalysis. Herein, such thinkers as Badiou, Miller, Soler, Verhaeghe, Žižek, and Zupančič discuss sexuation in terms of analysis, philosophy, history, culture, ethics, and politics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Soler, Colette. What Lacan Said About Women: A Psychoanalytic Study. Translated by John Holland. New York: Other Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Soler’s substantial book is the single most comprehensive survey of reflections regarding femininity in Lacan’s oeuvre. Hence, her parsings of Lacanian sexual difference encompass much more than just Seminar XX and roughly contemporaneous texts from the 1970s, thereby allowing one to see the lengthy evolution of Lacan’s thinking about this.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Verhaeghe, Paul. Does the Woman Exist? From Freud’s Hysteric to Lacan’s Feminine. Translated by Marc du Ry. New York: Other Press, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Verhaeghe’s chosen focus is the diagnostic psychopathological category of hysteria. Freud’s hysterical patients primarily were women, and Verhaeghe explores how the Freudian handling of this mainly feminine phenomenon influences Lacan’s subsequent use of hysteria as a prism through which to understand sexual difference tout court.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Žižek, Slavoj. The Metastases of Enjoyment: Six Essays on Woman and Causality. London: Verso, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Particularly thanks to Lacan’s redeployment of much of Freud’s family- and sexuality-related terminology, many feminists criticize Lacan for denigrating femininity as much as Freud allegedly does. Herein, Žižek diametrically opposes this criticism by arguing that Lacan makes feminine-sexuated subjects emblematic of subjectivity overall.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Act

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In Lacan’s fourteenth and, especially, fifteenth seminars (“The Logic of Fantasy” [1966–1967] and “The Psychoanalytic Act” [1967–1968], both still unpublished), he fashions a specific conception of what he calls an “act.” Within the prior Freudian analytic tradition, this word already features in such technical phrases as “acting out” and “passage à l’acte.” The Lacan of the 1950s also sometimes analytically appropriates the notion of “speech acts” à la J.L. Austin’s How to Do Things With Words (with analysis, as the “talking cure,” involving both analysands and analysts doing lots of things with nothing more than words). Although colored by these earlier phrases/notions (i.e., acting out, passage à l’acte, and speech acts), the 1960s idea of the act per se is distinct from them. In Seminar XV, Lacan characterizes what he has in mind by an act first and foremost through distinguishing it from a mere “action.” In this context, an action is a piece of banal, mundane, and unremarkable conduct whose performance is perfectly compatible with a given established socio-symbolic status quo. By sharp contrast, an act is a striking gesture so radical that it not only utterly breaks with a given established socio-symbolic status quo—fundamentally disturbing or even destroying such an arrangement—its performance actually creates a new subject in its aftermath (rather than being something performed by a preexistent subject who, in advance of the act’s performance, reflectively deliberates about doing so). Instead of compulsively and unwittingly repeating an old order, as do acting out and passage à l’acte, an act creates a novel order. Žižek is single-handedly responsible for bringing this previously little-noted Lacanian concept to the fore, doing so in dialogue with Schelling (Žižek 1996), Lenin (Žižek 2002), and Badiou (Žižek 1999), among others (since the late 1990s, the act has become an ubiquitous component of Žižek’s own theoretical framework). Badiou 2013 characterizes Lacan as an “anti-philosopher” by interpreting Lacan’s apparatus as assigning acts a (groundlessly) grounding role in theory and practice. Johnston 2009 articulates an interpretation of the Lacanian act with critical implications for Žižek’s appropriations of it as well as Badiou’s central idea of an “event.” Pluth 2007 addresses Lacan’s act as part of the development of a Lacanian explanation and defense of autonomous subjectivity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Badiou, Alain. Le Séminaire: Lacan—L’antiphilosophie 3, 1994–1995. Edited by Véronique Pineau. Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The last annual seminar on the three great modern “anti-philosophers” (including Nietzsche and Wittgenstein), it depicts the act as playing a foundational (or, rather, antifoundational) role in Lacan’s thinking. Lacan allegedly rejects philosophy’s pretensions to systematic rational self-grounding in favor of singular, unrepeatable gestures without reason.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Johnston, Adrian. Badiou, Žižek, and Political Transformations: The Cadence of Change. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Johnston revisits the genealogy of the concept of the act in Lacan’s corpus with an eye to the critical implications of this revisitation for both Badiou and Žižek. He argues for a Lacanian politics of the act that avoids the risks of attentisme entailed by Badiou’s event and Žižek’s act.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Pluth, Ed. Signifiers and Acts: Freedom in Lacan’s Theory of the Subject. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Although the association of psychoanalysis with determinism is commonplace both within and beyond academic circles, Pluth shows Lacan to be a defender of a specific account of free subjectivity. Lacan’s concept of the act, including his references to Austinian speech acts in relation to signifiers, is central to Pluth’s case.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Žižek, Slavoj. The Indivisible Remainder: An Essay on Schelling and Related Matters. London: Verso, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Žižek here reads the Lacanian act through the lens of the middle-period Schelling of 1809’s Freiheitschrift and 1811–1815 unfinished Weltalter project. Reading this Schelling as an analytic metapsychologist avant la lettre, Žižek compares Lacan’s act to Schelling’s abyssal unconscious decision/deed (Ent-Scheidung).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Žižek, Slavoj. The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology. London: Verso, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              One of Žižek’s main interlocutors in this text is the Badiou of 1997’s influential book Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism. Badiou’s Pauline-yet-atheistic idea of events, powerfully expressed in this 1997 work, serves Žižek as a means for further refining the conceptual contours of Lacan’s act.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Žižek, Slavoj, ed. Revolution at the Gates: Selected Writings of Lenin From 1917. London: Verso, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Herein, Žižek bookends at length Lenin’s texts composed between February and October 1917. Žižek’s interpretations of the Leninist conceptions of revolution and historical temporality directly link these to the Lacanian act, with the political revolution as per Lenin foreshadowing the analytic act as per Lacan.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Four Discourses (of the Master, University, Hysteric, and Analyst)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In Lacan’s seventeenth seminar of 1969–1970 (“The Other Side of Psychoanalysis”) and contemporaneous interview “Radiophonie” (1970), he forges his theory of “the four discourses,” namely, the discourses of the “master,” “university,” “hysteric,” and “analyst” (with this theory positing a necessary interconnectedness between these four categories/types). With the interrelated phenomena of May ’68, students’ discontent with their and their universities’ roles in society, and the upsurge of post-structuralist currents in the immediate background at this time, the theory of the four discourses defensibly can be construed as, at least in part, Lacan’s response to this set of circumstances involving consumerist late-capitalism and its political and cultural consequences. For Lacan, a “discourse” in its strict technical meaning is a particular configuration of socio-symbolic ties between language-using and language-used beings (i.e., subjects as “speaking beings” [parlêtres]). More than simply being instances of language in the limited, ordinary sense, Lacanian discourses are specific forms of inter- and trans-subjective existence for entities inhabiting symbolic orders and, as such, these discourses involve more than language alone. Additionally, every discourse consists of different positionings of four elements in relation to each other: S1 (the “master signifier”), S2 (a battery of other signifiers forming the networks of a knowledge), $ (the split speaking subject inextricably intertwined with an unconscious), and a (the objet petit a). In each of the four different discourses, the four places of “agent,” “other,” “product,” and “truth” are occupied differently by the just-mentioned four elements. Moreover, the words “master,” “university,” “hysteric,” and “analyst” are intended to be broadly construed as designating basic styles of subjective and social relating (rather than narrowly referring, for example, to universities solely as the educational institutions called as such or to literal hysteria as a clinical analytic diagnosis). Clemens and Grigg 2006, as focused entirely on Seminar XVII, thoroughly glosses the four discourses. Fink 1998 clearly and rigorously expands upon the already clear and rigorous summary of the four discourses in Fink 1995. Verhaeghe 1999 mainly presents the Freudian and clinical grounds of this facet of Lacan’s theorizing, while Verhaeghe 2001 furnishes a helpful but more general metapsychological overview of the same topic. And, Žižek 2004 makes palpably concrete the doctrine of the discourses in its relevance to sociopolitical philosophizing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Clemens, Justin, and Russell Grigg, eds. Jacques Lacan and the Other Side of Psychoanalysis: Reflections on Seminar XVII. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This book is a collection of essays exclusively dwelling upon the seventeenth seminar. Hence, the vast bulk of its contributions discuss Seminar XVII’s theory of discourses in some detail. In particular, this volume provides a solid sense of the larger sociohistorical stakes of this moment in Lacan’s thinking.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Fink, Bruce. The Lacanian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The ninth and penultimate chapter of Fink’s comprehensive overview of Lacan’s theoretical itinerary is devoted to a succinct, no-nonsense summary of the theory of the four discourses. This discussion sets up the book’s final chapter fruitfully investigating how Lacan positions psychoanalysis vis-à-vis modern natural science.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Fink, Bruce. “The Master Signifier and the Four Discourses.” In Key Concepts of Lacanian Psychoanalysis. Edited by Dany Nobus, 29–47. New York: Other Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This essay expands upon the ninth chapter of Fink 1995. Herein, as this piece’s title already indicates, Fink both clarifies what Lacan’s master signifier (S1) is as one element of the four discourses as well as shows how, starting with the discourse of the master, the four discourses are interrelated.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Verhaeghe, Paul. Does the Woman Exist? From Freud’s Hysteric to Lacan’s Feminine. Translated by Marc du Ry. New York: Other Press, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        With its focus on hysteria à la Freud and Lacan, Verhaeghe’s 1999 study, in its approach to Lacan’s four discourses, naturally privileges the discourse of the hysteric. However, not only does Verhaeghe nonetheless delineate this discourse’s links to the other three—he illustrates the clinical relevance of Lacanian discourse theory.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Verhaeghe, Paul. Beyond Gender: From Subject to Drive. New York: Other Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Whereas Verhaeghe 1999 prioritizes the discourse of the hysteric, this collection of his essays contains more general conceptual, metapsychological considerations of Lacan’s theory of the four discourses in its entirety. Verhaeghe’s explanations of these discourses and their mutual relations with each other are clear and thorough.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Žižek, Slavoj. Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle. London: Verso, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Although this book is one of Žižek’s more conjunction-driven interventions with respect to contemporary events—this is a hybrid Marxian-psychoanalytic critique of George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq soon after it started—it contains especially solid and transparent empirical illustrations of Lacan’s discourse theory.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lacan and Philosophy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Like Freud himself, Lacan is absolutely convinced that psychoanalysis is an inherently interdisciplinary endeavor. Both Freud and Lacan consider the theory and practice of analysis to draw from and be enriched by a dizzying array of historical, cultural, and intellectual sources. However, save for a few exceptions, Freud generally is wary of directly interacting with philosophy and utilizing its batteries of ideas and terms (his motives for this include his desire that analysis be accorded the status of a certain kind of science as well as his negative reaction to Schelling-inspired speculative flights of fancy in 19th-century German-speaking medical circles rife with quackery). Lacan, by marked contrast, continually engages broadly and deeply with Western philosophy from Antiquity through his present time. Philosophy arguably appears to be, for him, the first and foremost interdisciplinary partner of psychoanalysis. Lacan puts Freudian analysis into conversation with a plethora of figures from philosophical history (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, and Hegel, among others) as well as movements and orientations in 20th-century philosophy: phenomenology, existentialism, Marxism, structuralism, semiotics, post-structuralism, deconstruction, and feminism. Whereas explicit talk of subjectivity or dialectics is basically absent from Freud’s texts, such language is omnipresent across the lengthy arc of Lacan’s mature productions from the 1950s until his death. Moreover, the early stages of Lacan’s evolution in the 1930s and 1940s take shape through a bringing of Freud’s influence into cross-resonance with, among other ingredients, the Hegelianism (tinged with Marxist and Heideggerian inflections) of Alexandre Kojève (with Lacan, in the 1930s, attending Kojève’s now-legendary seminars on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit). To phrase this in a Hegelian style, one could say that Lacan raises Freud to the dignity of his (Freud’s) philosophical Notion, namely, that Lacan’s theorizations of Freudian psychoanalysis manifestly posit the latter’s latent philosophical presuppositions and implications. The first twelve sub-headings are organized so as to cover, in a roughly chronological manner (save for the eleventh and twelfth subheadings [“Analytic Philosophy” and “Ethical Theory”]), the various traditions and thinkers in the history of Western philosophy directly referred to by Lacan. The remaining two subheadings shift toward reflecting how Lacan’s work has inspired and been taken up by more recent developments remaining prominent features of contemporary (Continental) philosophy in the early 21st century.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pre-Modern (Ancient and Medieval) Philosophy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lacan’s early-20th-century childhood education occurs under the supervision of the Jesuits. As such, he acquired through this background a thorough familiarity with, among many other things, ancient and medieval Western philosophy. There is ample evidence throughout Lacan’s adult intellectual output of the lifelong influence of this training on his thought. To begin with, Aristotle, “the Philosopher” for the Scholastics, is, after Freud, the most frequently referenced figure over the twenty-seven-year course of le Séminaire (on this count, Descartes and Hegel are second and third respectively after Aristotle, with Socrates fifth, Plato seventh, and Kant ninth—based on the index to the Écrits, these six just-named philosophers would be ranked from most to comparatively least frequently referenced therein as follows: Kant, Hegel, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, and Descartes). In terms of the ancients, Lacan appropriates these classical authors in multiple fashions: Socrates and Plato are employed so as to illuminate further such topics as psychoanalytic ethics, the position of the psychoanalyst, and the essences of knowledge, truth, love, and desire; and, the full sweep of Aristotle’s encyclopedic corpus is so frequently mobilized and/or criticized by Lacan throughout his teachings as to make a short synopsis of the Aristotle-Lacan relationship all but impossible (although, suffice it to say here, Lacan himself is anything but an Aristotelian). Regarding the medievals, Augustin’s description of the child envious of its sibling at their mother’s breast is a favorite example recurrently raised by Lacan. Aquinas is invoked in connection with such topics as affects, aesthetics, and ethics. More generally, and perhaps in part due to Lacan’s Jesuit/Catholic background, he is greatly appreciative of the theological speculations and advances in formal logic contributed to the history of ideas by the medievals, counterintuitively and creatively appropriating these for psychoanalytic ends. Badiou 2006 addresses the shadowy presence of the pre-Socratics in the Lacanian background. Badiou and Cassin 2010 (especially Cassin’s part) as well as Cassin 2012 contain discussions of the sophists contemporaneous with Socrates and his intellectual descendants. Badiou and Cassin 2010 (Badiou’s part) and Dolar 2006 involve Lacanian engagements with Plato (as does Le Brun 2002). Eleb 2004 targets the Aristotle-Lacan rapport. Regnault 1985 and Labbie 2006 are Lacanian studies of the medievals. Finally, Le Brun tracks a specific topic across the arc of pre-modernity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Badiou, Alain. “Lacan and the Pre-Socratics.” In Lacan: The Silent Partners. Edited by Slavoj Žižek, 7–16. London: Verso, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In this short but suggestive piece, Badiou attends to a generally neglected set of Lacan’s references: those to the pre-Socratics (especially Heraclitus and Empedocles, the latter also being dear to Freud). This then allows Badiou to take up the Heidegger-Lacan relationship given Heidegger’s use of the pre-Socratics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Badiou, Alain, and Barbara Cassin. Il n’y a pas de rapport sexuel: Deux leçons sur «L’Étourdit» de Lacan. Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Badiou and Cassin put forward different readings of an essay by the later Lacan (“l’Étourdit”) contemporaneous and of a piece with Seminar XX. Cassin roots this Lacan in the ancient sophists, while Badiou places him between a Plato-founded philosophy and “anti-philosophy.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Cassin, Barbara. Jacques le sophiste: Lacan, logos et psychanalyse. Paris: EPEL, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cassin adopts a distinctive interpretive line according to which Lacan is much more proximate to philosophy’s original adversaries than to philosophy itself. That is to say, she sees the ancient Greek sophists, with their peculiar relations to language, to be Lacan’s earliest ancestors in Western intellectual history.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Dolar, Mladen. A Voice and Nothing More. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dolar’s book is a unique examination, from both theoretical and historical angles, of the Lacanian conception of the voice and vocal/acoustic phenomena. Apropos philosophical history, Dolar revisits Plato’s musings on poetry, music, and rhetoric in the light of Lacan’s ideas (challenging, in the process, Derrida’s narrative about Platonic “phonocentrism”).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Eleb, Danielle. Figures du destin: Aristote, Freud et Lacan ou la rencontre du réel. Ramonville Saint-Agne, France: Éditions érès, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      One of Lacan’s best-known recourses to Aristotle occurs in the eleventh seminar. Therein, Lacan develops out of Aristotle’s Physics an analytic distinction between tuché (the Real event of a chance encounter) and automaton (the Symbolic network of iterable signifiers). Eleb delineates the philosophical and psychoanalytic aspects of this distinction.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Labbie, Erin Felicia. Lacan’s Medievalism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Labbie’s study is a comprehensive survey of Lacan’s interpretations and appropriations of a range of medieval texts philosophical, theological, and literary. She argues that such Lacanian concepts as desire are informed by the medievals and that Lacan circumnavigates back to intervene in medieval controversies such as the nominalism-realism debate.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Le Brun, Jacques. Le pur amour de Platon à Lacan. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Le Brun’s psychoanalysis-inspired survey of “pure love from Plato to Lacan” covers a number of pre-modern figures: Plato, Aristotle, Augustin, Aquinas, as well as Jesus Christ, Saint Paul, Dionysius the Areopagite, Clement of Alexandria, and Francis de Sales. Le Brun shows what Lacanian love inherits from these sources.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Regnault, François. Dieu est inconscient: Études lacaniennes autour de saint Thomas d’Aquin. Paris: Navarin, 1985.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Regnault’s book is centered on Lacanian interpretations of Aquinas’s theosophy. Regnault thereby elucidates Lacan’s perspectives on the relations between medieval theology and modern science as well as the famous identification (in Seminar XI) of true atheism with the thesis that “God is unconscious,” rather than “dead.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Early Modern Philosophy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Freud repeatedly insists in various ways on psychoanalysis being solidly and inalienably allied to the scientific modernity inaugurated in the early 17th century by such figures as Francis Bacon and Galileo Galilei. Although Lacan echoes this in identifying the birth of modern science as one of the key historical conditions of possibility for the subsequent genesis of psychoanalysis, he takes a certain distance from (and adds his own twists to) the Freudian perspective on the scientific Weltanschauung. In particular, Lacan plays a French rationalist Galileo (one linked to 20th-century French epistemology and history of science à la Alexandre Koyré and company) to Freud’s British empiricist Bacon; in other words, whereas Freud associates scientificity with methodical observation and experimentation, Lacan associates it with mathematization and formalization. And, unsurprisingly for a French thinker but surprisingly for a psychoanalytic one, Lacan holds up Descartes, the founding figure of modern philosophy, as a pivotal ancestor of Freudian analysis making possible the discovery and decrypting of the unconscious (Descartes’s manners of emphasizing consciousness and rationality would appear to render him anathema to analytic sensibilities). Starting in 1946 (before his 1950s “return to Freud”), Lacan called for a “return to Descartes.” He later goes on to not only unfashionably defend a modern idea of subjectivity in the context of a postmodern French intellectual milieu but also to identify his “subject of the unconscious” specifically with the much-maligned Cartesian Cogito. In addition to Galileo and Descartes, Spinoza is another key figure for Lacan. As legend has it, Lacan fell in love with Spinoza’s Ethics as an adolescent. The epigraph to Lacan’s first book, his 1932 doctoral thesis in psychiatry, is from Spinoza. In the opening session of the renowned eleventh seminar of 1964 (a session entitled by Jacques-Alain Miller “Excommunication”), Lacan, following his falling out with the International Psychoanalytic Association in late 1963, compares his fate with that of Spinoza-the-heretical-Jew disowned by the Jewish community. Resonances with Spinoza’s dual-aspect monism arguably are detectable throughout Lacan’s corpus. Žižek 1993, Žižek 1998, and Žižek 1999, as well as Johnston 2005, target Lacan’s Cartesianism. Le Gaufey 1996 discusses both Descartes and Leibniz vis-à-vis Lacan. Kordela 2008 dwells upon the Spinoza-Lacan tie. And, Božovič 2000 offers Lacanian coverage of Leibniz, Bentham, and Malebranche, while Božovič 2006 does the same for Diderot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Božovič, Miran. An Utterly Dark Spot: Gaze and Body in Early Modern Philosophy. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Božovič’s book covers rarely discussed ground: namely, Lacanian concepts and themes in relation to Leibniz, Bentham, and, especially, Malebranche. For instance, the occasionalism of Malebranche’s rationalist ontology becomes, in Božovič’s hands, a means for grasping mind, body, and related matters in Lacanian theory.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Božovič, Miran. “The Omniscient Body.” In Lacan: The Silent Partners. Edited by Slavoj Žižek, 17–33. London: Verso, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Lacan occasionally brings up the 18th-century French materialists. In this essay, Božovič focuses on Diderot, unfolding a Lacanian reading of Diderot’s 1748 novel The Indiscreet Jewels. Božovič’s interpretations of Diderot allow him to address embodiment, language, and truth, topics of central concern to Lacan.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Johnston, Adrian. Time Driven: Metapsychology and the Splitting of the Drive. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Particularly in the third chapter of Johnston’s book, he scrutinizes in detail Lacan’s complicated relations with Descartes. Johnston tracks both the continuities and discontinuities between Lacan’s numerous references to Descartes from the 1940s through the 1970s and elucidates the debts of the Lacanian subject to the Cartesian Cogito.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kordela, A. Kiarina. $urplus: Spinoza, Lacan. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Kordela’s reconstruction of the Spinoza-Lacan connection is motivated, in part, by ongoing contemporary controversies between neo-Spinozists (primarily Deleuze and his offspring) and their (quasi-)Lacanian critics (principally Badiou and Žižek). Herein, she problematizes both sides of this current conflict through her fashion of enchaining Spinoza, Marx, and Lacan.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Le Gaufey, Guy. L’incomplétude du symbolique: De René Descartes à Jacques Lacan. Paris: EPEL, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Two of the figures from the history of philosophy featuring prominently in Le Gaufey’s text are Descartes and Leibniz. Le Gaufey highlights their shared ambitions for a mathesis universalis (embracing psychology, cosmology, and theology) with en eye to the influence this rationalist project has on Lacan.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Žižek, Slavoj. Tarrying with the Negative: Kant, Hegel, and the Critique of Ideology. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Žižek’s rapprochement between, on the one hand, Kant and Hegel and, on the other hand, Lacan, involves Descartes. Žižek portrays Kant, Hegel, and Lacan all as inheritors and partisans of the vision of Cogito-like subjectivity. The Cartesian subject is fleshed out through discussions of cinema and sexuality.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Žižek, Slavoj, ed. Cogito and the Unconscious. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As a volume in the Sic book series, this collection gathers contributions representative primarily of Slovene Lacanianism. Its title unambiguously announces its focus on the Cartesian legacy in Lacanian psychoanalysis. The essays by Dolar, Žižek, and Zupančič in this volume are especially helpful.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Žižek, Slavoj. The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology. London: Verso, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This begins with a paraphrase of the opening of The Communist Manifesto—“A spectre is haunting Western academia, the spectre of the Cartesian subject” (p. 1). Žižek depicts Lacan as a defender of modern subjectivity, with Žižek defending this Lacan in turn against various recent criticisms of him.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kant

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lacan refers to Kant throughout his teachings. Lacan’s best-known engagement with Kant’s philosophy occurs in his seventh seminar (“The Ethics of Psychoanalysis” [1959–1960]) and 1963 écrit “Kant with Sade” (itself a sort of essay-length condensation of Seminar VII). Because of this, the majority of scholarly attention paid to the duo of Kant and Lacan is dedicated to examining the latter’s annexations of the former’s practical philosophy specifically (i.e., the “metaphysics of morals” as the deontological ethics of pure practical reason—see also Ethical Theory). This Lacan employs the Kant of the Critique of Practical Reason and related texts to explore the Freudian domain “beyond the pleasure principle,” a psychoanalytic realm populated by the death drive (Todestrieb), the super-ego, (moral) masochism, and a far from enjoyable jouissance. Moreover, Lacan’s numerous invocations of Kant also include mobilizations of the first and third Critiques in addition to the second (i.e., the Critique of Pure Reason and the Critique of the Power of Judgment in addition to the Critique of Practical Reason) as well as recourses to some of the precritical writings. At the level of Kantian theoretical (over and above practical) philosophy, Lacan’s metapsychology has repeatedly prompted some of its interpreters to detect a type of transcendentalism implicitly operative in his accounts of, for instance, subjectivity, language, objet petit a, desire, and/or fantasy. Such impressions are reinforced by Lacan’s avowed debts to Lévi-Straussian structuralism. Lacan’s brief and enigmatic responses to certain early versions of interpretations of him as a transcendentalist of sorts teasingly refrain from openly and pointedly disavowing this construal. However, the later Lacan especially muddies these waters through his complex, ambiguous relations with naturalism and dialectical materialism. Zupančič 2000 is now the definitive work on Lacan’s relation specifically to Kant’s practical philosophy. David-Ménard 1990 conducts a Lacanian examination of the precritical Kant as well as the first Critique in terms of Kant’s treatments of madness (folie) and (transcendental) illusion. Baas 1992 reads Lacan’s interlinked accounts of subjectivity, object a, desire, and fantasy as transcendentalist in essence. Cutrofello 1997 argues that Lacan contributes the additional category of the “analytic aposteriori” to Kantian theoretical philosophy. Žižek 1993 and Johnston 2005 both explore the Kantian origins of the Lacanian subject. Copjec 1994 elucidates Lacan on sexual difference via Kant’s third Critique. Miller 2003 surveys the multiple facets of the Kant-Lacan pairing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Baas, Bernard. Le désir pur: Parcours philosophiques dans les parages de J. Lacan. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Baas takes one of Lacan’s central endeavors to be the pursuit of a Kant-inspired “critique of pure desire.” He understands the Lacanian fantasy ($ ♢ a) to depict a reciprocal co-conditioning between desiring subjectivity and its corresponding object-cause of desire making possible empirical libidinal life.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Copjec, Joan. “Sex and the Euthanasia of Reason.” In Read My Desire: Lacan Against the Historicists. By Joan Copjec, 201–236. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Copjec turns to Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment as a means of clarifying the later Lacan’s theory of sexual difference as per the formulas of sexuation from Seminar XX. Specifically, she utilizes the antinomy between the dynamical and mathematical sublimes to capture the core of Lacanian sexuation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Cutrofello, Andrew. Imagining Otherwise: Metapsychology and the Analytic A Posteriori. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In terms of combining the analytic-synthetic and apriori-aposteriori distinctions, Kant’s epistemology recognizes only three meaningful combinations: the analytic apriori, synthetic aposteriori, and synthetic apriori. Cutrofello makes the interesting and informative case that Lacan reveals the legitimacy of the fourth missing possibility here, namely, the analytic aposteriori.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • David-Ménard, Monique. La folie dans la raison pure: Kant lecteur de Swedenborg. Paris: J. Vrin, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    David-Ménard offers a detailed Lacanian reading of certain of Kant’s precritical writings as well as the first Critique itself. She maintains that the early Kant’s encounter with the speculative “madness” of Swedenborg’s intuitions is an animating impulse of Kantian theoretical philosophy calling for analytic metapsychological supplementation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Johnston, Adrian. Time Driven: Metapsychology and the Splitting of the Drive. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Johnston’s study addresses Lacan’s relations to Kant’s practical as well as theoretical philosophy. However, the first Critique and Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View are emphasized herein. Johnston looks at both the critical and noncritical Kant’s contributions to a Lacanian-style splitting of subjectivity.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Miller, Jacques-Alain, ed. Lakant. Paris: Navarin, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This collection of papers by multiple contributors furnishes Lacanian glosses on the full range of Kantian philosophical concerns. It provides Lacan-inspired answers to Kant’s three big questions: What can I know? What should I do? What is it permitted for me to hope?

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Žižek, Slavoj. Tarrying with the Negative: Kant, Hegel, and the Critique of Ideology. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Drawing primarily upon Kant’s first two Critiques, Žižek herein illuminates both the transcendental and noumenal dimensions of Kantian subjectivity. In so doing, he argues for appreciating Kant’s theory of the subject as a crucial historical-intellectual condition of possibility for the subject and unconscious of Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalysis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Zupančič, Alenka. Ethics of the Real: Kant, Lacan. London: Verso, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Zupančič delivers the most thorough and philosophically satisfying negotiation of Lacan’s rapport with Kant’s practical philosophy. She portrays Kant’s and Lacan’s anti-humanist “ethics of the real” as going “beyond the pleasure principle” of both eudaimonist and utilitarianian ethical paradigms. Lacan appears as anything but anti-Kantian.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            German Idealism (Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lacan mentions Fichte only twice and Schelling not once. However, Hegel is a prominent presence both explicitly and implicitly in Lacan’s thinking from the 1930s until his death. Although Lacan accepts a textbook-style oversimplification of Fichte as nothing but an extreme solipsistic idealist, Fichte’s accounts of freedom and the Anstoß (i.e., a check/hindrance that is also a catalyst/spur) as well as his self-critical shifts in later (1804 and after) revisions of his Wissenschaftslehre arguably can be assimilated with much profit by those with Lacanian leanings. Similarly, thanks almost exclusively to Žižek, Schelling has been reengaged by scholars of both German idealism and psychoanalysis with an eye to generating productive cross-fertilizations between Schellingian philosophy and Freudian-Lacanian metapsychology. In terms of Lacan vis-à-vis both German idealism generally and Hegel especially, nobody has come close to matching the quality and quantity of Žižek’s contributions in this vein. Žižek describes his overriding preoccupation over the course of his career as being a coupling of the negativity of subjectivity à la German idealism with the death drive as per both Freud and Lacan; and, the results of this obsession of his have come to color all comprehensions of Lacan with German idealism. Žižek rightly remarks that Lacan is, on the one hand, (implicitly, unconsciously) Hegelian in instances when he does not think to mention Hegel and, on the other hand, non-Hegelian in other instances when he indeed does explicitly and consciously mobilize Hegel. That is to say, although Lacan’s idea of Hegel remained largely limited to the Kojèvian heterodox reading of the Phenomenology of Spirit, his own thinking ends up unknowingly reactivating and redeploying Hegelian speculative dialectics in various ways. Žižek 2012 not only covers Hegel but also contains Žižek’s most detailed engagement with Fichte. Žižek 1996 is the author’s most substantial Lacanian discussion of Schelling. Žižek 1993 situates Hegel in relation to Kant, Lacan, and ideology critique, with Žižek 2002 treating Hegel at great length vis-à-vis Derrida and other post-Hegelians. Dolar 2006 brings out the many-sidedness of Hegel for the later Lacan. Johnston 2008 examines Žižek’s Lacanian versions of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, while Johnston 2014 scrutinizes Lacan’s relations with Hegel as filtered through the prism of dialectical materialism. Finally, Ver Eecke 2006 employs the theme of negation so as to connect Hegel with Freud and Lacan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Dolar, Mladen. “Hegel as the Other Side of Psychoanalysis.” In Jacques Lacan and the Other Side of Psychoanalysis: Reflections on Seminar XVII. Edited by Justin Clemens and Russell Grigg, 129–154. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In the context of the seventeenth seminar, with its theory of the four discourses, Hegel is made to shift rapidly through playing multiple roles for this Lacan. Dolar carefully tracks these shifts in Seminar XVII, explaining how and why Hegel embodies such a plurality of disparate dimensions for Lacan.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Johnston, Adrian. Žižek’s Ontology: A Transcendental Materialist Theory of Subjectivity. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Johnston’s critical reconstruction of the Žižekian philosophical system is centered on Žižek’s Lacanian appropriations of Kantian and post-Kantian German idealism. As such, it looks at the positioning of Lacan by Žižek with respect to (in this order) Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Johnston, Adrian. Adventures in Transcendental Materialism: Dialogues with Contemporary Thinkers. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Many of the chapters in this book address Lacan, especially in connection with a number of contemporary figures. However, Johnston is especially interested here in the later Lacan’s self-identifications as a dialectical materialist and what these reveal about his debts (unconscious as well as conscious) to Hegelian speculative dialectics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Ver Eecke, Wilfried. Denial, Negation, and the Forces of the Negative: Freud, Hegel, Lacan, Spitz, and Sophocles. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Already for Freud, the acquisition of linguistic negation is a decisive development in psychical ontogeny. For Lacan, too, signifiers in general (and not just specifically negative ones) introduce varieties of negativity into the life of the speaking being. Ver Eecke furnishes a lucid Hegelian reading of all this.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Žižek, Slavoj. Tarrying with the Negative: Kant, Hegel, and the Critique of Ideology. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This work looks at Hegel with respect to Kant’s theoretical and practical philosophies as well as sociopolitical issues. Hegel’s multiple criticisms of Kant are brought into relation with Lacanian theory. And links between Hegelian logic and ideology critique are explored and then applied to nationalist ideologies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Žižek, Slavoj. The Indivisible Remainder: An Essay on Schelling and Related Matters. London: Verso, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Although Žižek delves into Schelling’s philosophy in various texts, this book, tightly focused on the middle-period Schelling of the Freiheitschrift and Weltalter manuscripts (1809–1815), is his decisive rendition of the Lacanianized Schelling. Schelling’s conceptions of freedom and drives are the key red threads in this reading.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Žižek, Slavoj. For They Know Not What They Do: Enjoyment as a Political Factor. London: Verso, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Apart from Less Than Nothing (Žižek 2012), this book, first published in 1991, is Žižek’s lengthiest single treatment of Hegel. Žižek weaves together the concepts and categories of Hegelian logic with the Lacanian logics of signifiers. In the process, Žižek also addresses other philosophical figures such as Wittgenstein and Derrida.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Žižek, Slavoj. Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism. London: Verso, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A serious contender for the title of Žižek’s magnum opus, this hulking thousand-page tome delivers, among many other things, Lacan-informed exegeses of nearly every facet of Hegel’s encyclopedic philosophical edifice (i.e., phenomenology, logic, politics, and the philosophies of nature, mind/spirit, and religion).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Marx and Marxism

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lacan himself is no Marxist. But, his teachings, especially in his later period (and in response to May ’68 and things associated with it), repeatedly touch upon Marx’s concepts and legacies. During this time, Lacan addresses such topics as historical/dialectical materialism, the libidinal underpinnings of political economy, and Marxian theories of language in relation to the infrastructure-superstructure distinction. Moreover, his psychoanalytical labors have inspired and buttressed several strands of (post-)Marxian thinking over the course of the past half-century (see also Contemporary Continental Political Theory). For instance, Lacan maintained somewhat complicated personal and intellectual relations with the French Marxist Louis Althusser. And, after Lacan moved le Séminaire from l’Hôpital Saint-Anne to the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in 1964, a group of Althusser’s students at ENS formed (involving the Cercle d’épistémologie and the journal Cahiers pour l’Analyse) who were interested in bringing together Marxism (especially its Althusserian antihumanist and French Maoist variants) and Lacanian theory. Not only did this circle of Althusserian-Lacanian students include some of today’s most important living French philosophers/theorists, such as Alain Badiou, Étienne Balibar, Jean-Claude Milner, and Jacques Rancière—it also included Jacques-Alain Miller, who eventually became Lacan’s son-in-law and editor of the official published editions of le Séminaire. This 1960s project to synthesize Marxism and Lacanianism (by contrast with Frankfurt School efforts to wed Marx to Freud, rather than Lacan) has been carried forward into the present by Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Žižek as well as Badiou (again, see also Contemporary Continental Political Theory). Arguably, the modified Marxism that results from this endeavor resembles in certain ways that of the later Sartre of the Critique of Dialectical Reason, combining emphases on trans-individual social, historical, and structural determinants with a theory of irreducibly free, self-determining subjectivity. Althusser 1996 and Althusser 2003 both document in detail Althusser’s own reflections on Lacan’s ideas, particularly vis-à-vis both Marx and Freud. Badiou 2009 reveals the profound extent to which intricate engagements with Lacan shape Badiou’s philosophy and radical leftist politics overall. Bruno 2010 surveys in detail Lacan’s references to and appropriations of Marxist notions. Žižek’s multifaceted Lacano-Marxism involves, among other things, ideology and its critique (1989), critical analyses of revolutionary acts and their betrayals (2001, 2008), reflections on utopianisms (2011), and, in general, immanent assessments of Marxism’s limits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Althusser, Louis. Writings on Psychoanalysis: Freud and Lacan. Translated by Jeffrey Mehlman. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This volume collects a number of texts by Althusser dealing with psychoanalysis. Its central piece is the 1964 essay “Freud and Lacan,” in which Lacan’s reading of Freud appears similar to Althusser’s contemporaneous one of Marx (i.e., the Marx of “Reading Capital” and “For Marx”).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Althusser, Louis. “Three Notes on the Theory of Discourses.” In The Humanist Controversy and Other Writings. Edited by François Matheron, 33–84. Translated by G. M. Goshgarian. London: Verso, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This lengthy 1966 intervention evaluates the scientific/disciplinary standing of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis on the basis of theoretical standards and methods forged by Althusser in his structuralist recasting of Marx circa 1965. Analysis becomes a “regional theory” within historical materialism as an enveloping and supporting “general theory.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Badiou, Alain. Theory of the Subject. Translated by Bruno Bosteels. London: Continuum, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Published in French in 1982, this book collects a series of seminars delivered by Badiou in the mid-to-late 1970s. Therein, Badiou not only anticipates the now-standard distinction between the Lacan of the Symbolic (1950s) versus of the Real (1960s and 1970s)—he marries Lacan to Mao.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Bruno, Pierre. Lacan, passeur de Marx: L’invention du symptôme. Toulouse: Éditions érès, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Apropos Lacan himself, Bruno’s exegeses focus primarily on the later theory of the four discourses (Seminar XVII [1969–1970]) and the forging, on its basis, of an account of “the discourse of the capitalist.” Bruno also discusses the trajectory of Lacano-Marxism from Althusser to Žižek.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Žižek, Slavoj. The Sublime Object of Ideology. London: Verso, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Žižek’s first book in English insightfully unpacks Lacan’s identification of Marx as the inventor of the analytic concept of the “symptom.” Moreover, it supplements Marxian ideology critique with Lacanian analyses of fantasies and employs Lacan’s accounts of subject-formation to problematize such Marxian theories as Althusserian interpellation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Žižek, Slavoj. Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? Five Interventions on the (Mis)use of a Notion. London: Verso, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Motivated by the aim of undermining “totalitarianism” as a pseudo-concept allowing for conservative ideological denigrations of leftist radicalism, Žižek here provides a Lacan-informed postmortem on the Russian Revolution in particular, analyzing both Leninism and Stalinism and exploring how the latter emerged out of the former.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Žižek, Slavoj. In Defense of Lost Causes. London: Verso, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This book can be read, in part, as a massive expansion of the endeavor undertaken in Žižek 2001. Here, a Lacanian dissection not only of Stalinism is on offer—similar immanent-critical operations are performed on relevant parts of Robespierre, Heidegger, Mao, Foucault, Deleuze, Negri, and Badiou.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Žižek, Slavoj. Living in the End Times. London: Verso, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This text critically assesses various utopian and/or apocalyptic visions of humanity’s future. In so doing, Žižek not only engages in some hybrid Lacano-Marxist interpretations of film and popular culture—he also reevaluates traditional historical materialism with respect to current conflicts around the economy, class, technology, and the environment.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Existentialism

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lacan is not an existentialist thinker. Nonetheless, the figures and themes that have come to be subsumed under the label “existentialism” play various non-negligible roles in Lacan’s body of work. Lacan’s early encounters with Freud are shaped by his simultaneous attendance of Alexandre Kojève’s 1930s seminars on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit; the Kojèvian Hegel is thoroughly colored by Heideggerian existentialist elements (in addition to Marxian anthropological ones). Especially during the 1950s, Lacan displays an intense fascination with Martin Heidegger’s existential phenomenology, particularly its perspectives on language, thrownness (Geworfenheit), and (being-towards-)death. For a period, Lacan and Heidegger were friends of sorts. Additionally, Lacan maintained a friendship with another existential phenomenologist (see also Phenomenology), Maurice Merleau-Ponty. One testimony among several to this connection is that Merleau-Ponty’s accounts of vision and painting deeply inform Lacan’s famous discussion of the gaze in Seminar XI. Furthermore, the early Jean-Paul Sartre of The Transcendence of the Ego (1936), with his distinction between transcendental and empirical subjects (i.e., egos as objects), shapes what becomes Lacan’s distinction between both subject (sujet) and ego (moi) as well as the subject of enunciation versus the subject of the utterance. Similarly, such 19th-century predecessors of 20th-century existentialism as Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche receive occasional mentions in Lacan’s teachings. Furthermore, the analytic experience, particularly for the analysand on the couch, should involve, for Lacan, direct confrontations with such staples of existentialist fare as alterity, contingency, facticity, meaninglessness, and mortality. Žižek 2006 contains extended Lacanian interactions with Kierkegaard’s existentialism in particular. Zupančič 2003 is an in-depth study of Nietzsche from a Lacanian (and also, in part, Badiouian) angle. Boothby 1991 and Boothby 2001 both mobilize a wide range of resources from the existential phenomenological tradition in the course of elucidating Freudian and Lacanian ideas. Miller 1996, Vassallo 2003, and Leguil 2012 all highlight Lacan’s relations with Sartrean existentialism specifically. Finally, Pluth 2007, although not explicitly devoted to the topic of existentialism, seeks to show that Lacanian psychoanalysis involves a theory of the autonomous subject overlapping significantly with certain existentialist conceptions of human freedom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Boothby, Richard. Death and Desire: Psychoanalytic Theory in Lacan’s Return to Freud. New York: Routledge, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Boothby’s focus in this 1991 book is on the death drive (Todestrieb) in both Freudian and Lacanian metapsychology. This notion involves such topics as time/temporality and mortality/finitude, with Boothby deftly exploiting these overlaps with existentialist concerns to the benefit of both psychoanalysis and existentialism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Boothby, Richard. Freud as Philosopher: Metapsychology After Lacan. New York: Routledge, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Whereas Boothby 1991 is focused quite intensely on the death drive, this 2001 book encompasses a wide range of crucial features of psychoanalytic metapsychology. In the process, Nietzsche, Bergson, Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty all are mobilized in the service of illuminating the ideas of Freud and Lacan.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Leguil, Clotilde. Sartre avec Lacan: Corrélation antinomique, liaison dangereuse. Paris: Navarin, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Leguil offers comprehensive coverage of the convergences and divergences between Sartre’s philosophy and Lacan’s psychoanalysis. She tracks the various references Lacan makes to Sartre and takes up such issues as freedom, the subject-ego distinction, anxiety, and temporality. Her version of Lacan is very indebted to Jacques-Alain Miller’s teachings.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Miller, Jacques-Alain. “An Introduction to Seminars I and II: Lacan’s Orientation Prior to 1953 (I-III).” In Reading Seminars I and II: Lacan’s Return to Freud. Edited by Richard Feldstein, Bruce Fink, and Maire Jaanus, 3–35. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In these lectures reconstructing Lacan’s intellectual itinerary from the 1930s up to the inauguration of the (quasi-)structuralist “return to Freud,” Miller spends a good deal of time speaking about Lacan’s relations with and debts to phenomenology and existentialism. Sartre’s underappreciated influence on Lacan is clearly explained here.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Pluth, Ed. Signifiers and Acts: Freedom in Lacan’s Theory of the Subject. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Most educated lay persons as well as many professional academics understand psychoanalysis to be deterministic, to entail a denial of the reality of human freedom. Pluth’s agenda in this book is to debunk this (mis)understanding specifically regarding Lacan. This allows for a rapprochement with, for instance, existentialism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Vassallo, Sara. Sartre et Lacan: Le verbe être—entre concept et fantasme. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As does Leguil 2012, Vassallo’s study compares and contrasts Sartre and Lacan with regard to multiple areas of concern shared between the two thinkers. Vassallo chooses for consideration images and the imaginary, desire, being, Otherness, sexual difference, autonomous acts, and autobiography, moving between Sartrean and Lacanian reflections on these subjects.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Žižek, Slavoj. The Parallax View. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The existentialist figure featuring prominently in this work is Kierkegaard. Žižek reads this melancholy Dane against the grain (this being a Hegelian reading of an adamant anti-Hegelian). A Hegelian-Lacanian revisitation of Kierkegaard allows Žižek to speculate about both a “materialist theology” as well as ethical and aesthetic matters.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Zupančič, Alenka. The Shortest Shadow: Nietzsche’s Philosophy of the Two. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Zupančič reads Nietzsche from a Lacanian angle inflected by, in addition, Badiou’s philosophy. She addresses such themes as atheism, nihilism, sublimation, truth, and negativity as points of common concern between Nietzschean philosophy and Lacanian theory. All of this informs a critical assessment of certain aspects of the contemporary Zeitgeist.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Phenomenology

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Although Lacan exhibits no interest in Edmund Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology, his early (1930s and 1940s) and middle (1950s) periods in particular testify to his familiarity with and indebtedness to the existential phenomenologies of Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Sartre (see also Existentialism). Likewise, Lacan’s discussions of his various key concepts and their tangible instantiations reveal an awareness and employment of the discursive arts of descriptive phenomenology. Additionally, Lacan personally knew both Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty quite well. Heidegger’s phenomenological philosophy of language as of fundamental ontological significance is especially attractive to Lacan, given the latter’s related analytic efforts to depict the socio-linguistic symbolic order as a possibility condition and necessary mediator of subjectivity as “speaking being” (parlêtre). Both Heidegger and Lacan share a vehement rejection of any notion of language as a deontologized tool-like apparatus or merely instrumental medium of communication between self-sufficient individual human minds. Moreover, such Heideggerian motifs as thrownness (Geworfenheit), being-towards-death (Sein-zum-Tode), and temporality in general are incorporated into Lacan’s doctrines. The central Merleau-Pontian projects of overlapping phenomenologies of perception and embodiment also provide Lacan with grist for his own analytic mill, particularly in terms of theorizing the knotting of the sensory, the sexual, and the linguistic in subjective existence. In terms of the more phenomenological sides of Sartre, resonances of certain of these, some explicit and others implicit, can be found in Lacan’s texts. Examples would include the earlier Sartre’s musings on, for instance, images and the imagination; ego-level selfhood as (self-)objectification; multiple facets of Otherness; and subjective freedom as an experience of ultimate, abyssal groundlessness. Baas 1998 as well as Boothby 1991 and Boothby 2001 all encompass the full range of phenomenological philosophy with respect to Lacan. Balmès 1999 and Žižek 1999 both emphasize Lacan’s relations with Heidegger specifically, while Duportail 2008 does the same with regard to Merleau-Ponty. Insofar as hermeneutics is an offshoot of existential phenomenology, and given that Hans-Georg Gadamer is a student of Heidegger’s, Lang 1997 is relevant to the topic of “Lacan and phenomenology” in that it interfaces Gadamer’s Heidegger-informed hermeneutic understanding of language with that of Lacan (incidentally, Lacan’s own tangential relations to hermeneutics are mediated not by Gadamer himself but instead by his troubled relations with the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur). De Waelhens and Ver Eecke 2001 employs a phenomenological Lacan to critique neurobiological renditions of psychotic psychopathologies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Baas, Bernard. De la chose à l’objet: Jacques Lacan et la traversée de la phénoménologie. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Leaning especially upon the existential phenomenologies of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, Baas utilizes Heideggerian and Merleau-Pontian phenomenological analyses of temporality and embodiment so as to concretize descriptively various facets of the Lacanian libidinal economy. Baas’s construal of Lacan as basically a Kantian transcendental idealist is in the background here.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Balmès, François. Ce que Lacan dit de l’être (1953–1960). Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tracking the first seven years of le Séminaire (during which time Lacan’s interest in Heidegger is at its peak), Balmès examines Lacanian appropriations of the Heideggerian conceptions of being, truth, and negativity. He also explains Lacan’s turn away from Heidegger toward the end of the 1950s.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Boothby, Richard. Death and Desire: Psychoanalytic Theory in Lacan’s Return to Freud. New York: Routledge, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In addition to bringing in Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, Boothby also engages with both Heidegger and Ricoeur in the context of a study of the death drive as per both Freud and Lacan. Heidegger’s phenomenological descriptions of Dasein’s anxiety, fallenness, and being-towards-death prove particularly productive for Boothby’s purposes.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Boothby, Richard. Freud as Philosopher: Metapsychology After Lacan. New York: Routledge, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A wide range of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers, both phenomenologists and those influencing or influenced by them, feature in this survey of Freudian-Lacanian metapsychology. Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Bergson, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Žižek: Boothby efficaciously employs them to render Freud and Lacan clear and comprehensible.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • De Waelhens, Alphonse, and Wilfried Ver Eecke. Phenomenology and Lacan on Schizophrenia, after the Decade of the Brain. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This book deploys De Waelhens’s phenomenological interpretation of Lacanian psychoanalysis so as to address both schizophrenia specifically and bio/neuro-based diagnostic and treatment strategies generally. De Waelhens and Ver Eecke present Lacan’s account of psychotic-level psychopathology as an alternative to non-Lacanian approaches both within and beyond psychoanalysis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Duportail, Guy-Félix. Les institutions du monde de la vie: Merleau Ponty et Lacan. Paris: Jérôme Millon, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Duportail’s study prioritizes Merleau-Ponty vis-à-vis Lacan. It undertakes the novel task of establishing a rapprochement specifically between the late Merleau-Ponty and the late Lacan. The “flesh” of Merleau-Ponty’s The Visible and the Invisible is related to Lacan’s topological models of the unconscious.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Lang, Hermann. Language and the Unconscious: Jacques Lacan’s Hermeneutics of Psychoanalysis. Translated by Thomas Brockelman. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Both Lacanian psychoanalysis and Gadamerian hermeneutics share in common a privileging of language as constitutive of subjective being-in-the-world. Lang’s work takes Lacan’s emphases on analysis as fundamentally a linguistic process (i.e., a “talking cure”) as an opening for a hermeneutic interpretation of Lacan.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Žižek, Slavoj. The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology. London: Verso, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Žižek herein revisits the Heidegger of 1929’s Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics. He plays off Heidegger’s recasting of Kant’s theory of the synthesizing imagination (in the A-version of the “Transcendental Deduction”) against a Hegelian-Lacanian imagination as Real subjective negativity qua “night of the world.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Structuralism

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lacan is one of many 20th-century French intellectuals profoundly affected by his compatriot and contemporary Claude Lévi-Strauss’s anthropological redeployment, starting in the late 1940s, of concepts and methods taken from the Ferdinand de Saussure of the Course in General Linguistics. The guiding slogan of Lacan’s 1950s “return to Freud” certainly is the declaration according to which “the unconscious is structured like a language” (l’inconscient est structuré comme un langage). However, even during this period, Lacan’s structuralism is quite heterodox: he sidelines Saussure’s emphasis on the meaningful sign, privileging instead the meaningless “pure signifier.” He relies on the post-Saussurian structural linguist Roman Jakobson’s phonemic analyses and conceptions of metaphor and metonymy and suffuses structural linguistics with theorizations of temporality. Additionally, Lacan, more faithful to the broadly semiotic than narrowly linguistic Saussure, compares (in the mode of a “like” [comme] and not of strict identity or equivalence) the structure of the unconscious to that of a formally representable syntactic system in general (i.e., a language as “un langage”) rather than a particular natural language as would be studied by professional linguists (i.e., language as une langue, as a “tongue” such as French, English, German, etc.). Nonetheless, structuralist ideas and considerations inspire many of the mature Lacan’s reflections on language-using-and-used desiring subjectivity and such subjectivity’s relations to familial, cultural, social, and historical dimensions of inter- and trans-subjective existence. Dor 1998 and Feldstein, et al. 1996 both dwell mainly on the middle-period Lacan of Freud avec Saussure. A substantial portion of Chiesa 2007 is dedicated to a close reading of Lacan’s mid-1950s seminars (which are saturated with structuralist influences). Milner 1995 evaluates Lacan’s quasi-structuralism of the first six years of le Séminaire (1953–1959) in relation to his later, less Saussurian thinking of the 1960s and 1970s, while Milner 2002 places the Lacan of Milner 1995 within the context of a wider study of the structuralist orientation as a whole. Hallward and Peden 2012 situates Lacan and Lacanianism in the context of the Lacano-Althusserian hyper-structuralism of the Cahiers pour l’Analyse journal of the late 1960s. Finally, the discussion of psychoanalysis in Foucault 1970 famously connects Lacan (without mentioning him explicitly by name) to structuralist anti-humanism’s erasure of “the figure of man.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Chiesa, Lorenzo. Subjectivity and Otherness: A Philosophical Reading of Lacan. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The middle third of Chiesa’s survey of Lacan zeroes in on three thus-far insufficiently attended to seminars from Lacan’s (quasi-)structuralist phase, namely: IV (“The Object-Relation” [1956–1957]), V (“Formations of the Unconscious” [1957–1958]), and VI (“Desire and Its Interpretation” [1958–1959]).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Dor, Joël. Introduction to the Reading of Lacan: The Unconscious Structured Like a Language. Translated by Susan Fairfield. New York: Other Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dor foregrounds Lacan’s 1950s prioritizing of the register of the Symbolic. Dor’s extremely helpful text lucidly presents Lacan’s accounts of language, his heterodox analytic redeployments of Saussure’s signifier, the linguistic dimensions of unconscious subjectivity and libidinal economics, and this whole theoretical framework’s practical clinical consequences.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Feldstein, Richard, Bruce Fink, and Maire Jaanus, eds. Reading Seminars I and II: Lacan’s Return to Freud. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Composed of interventions by leading Lacanian lights (Miller, Soler, Žižek, Fink, and others contribute), this collection illuminates core components of the early, Freud-with-Saussure years of le Séminaire. This volume covers both Lacan’s tripartite register theory circa the 1950s as well as clinical features of the “return to Freud.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. New York: Vintage, 1970.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Published the same year as Lacan’s Écrits, Foucault’s Les mots et les choses is renowned for, among other things, its closing reflections on a structuralist-induced historical shift in the direction of a new anti-humanism. Foucault identifies (structuralist) psychoanalysis as participating in this shift without naming Lacan directly.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Hallward, Peter, and Knox Peden, eds. Concept and Form, Volumes One and Two: Key Texts from the Cahiers pour l’Analyse and Interviews and Essays on the Cahiers pour l’Analyse. London: Verso, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This two-volume project provides both English translations of select articles from the Lacano-Althusserian hyper-structuralist journal Cahiers pour l’Analyse as well as interventions by and on the contributors to this important project from the late 1960s. Lacanianism’s structuralist-inspired drive toward increasing formalization is well represented here.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Milner, Jean-Claude. L’Œuvre claire: Lacan, la science, la philosophie. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Milner furnishes a razor-sharp, systematic reconstruction of Lacan’s early (1950s) and late (1970s) engagements with structuralism as Lacan transitions from leaning upon linguistics to favoring mathematics. Milner’s story begins with a compelling Lacanian structuralist retelling of the geneses of modern philosophy and science starting in the 1620s.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Milner, Jean-Claude. Le périple structural: Figures et paradigme. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Building upon Milner 1995, situates the structuralist (1950s) and post/hyper-structuralist (1970s) Lacans within the wider pantheon of mid-20th-century French structuralisms. In addition to its chapters on Lacan, this book also devotes chapters to Saussure, Georges Dumézil, Emile Benveniste, Roland Barthes, and Jakobson.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Deconstruction and Post-Structuralism

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lacan has been and remains a generator of ambivalent reactions amongst deconstructionists and post-structuralists (for the latter, see also Structuralism and Feminism and Gender/Queer Theory) of various stripes. On the positive side, a number of features of Lacanian psychoanalysis specifically tend to elicit approval from such quarters, including: Lacan’s emphases on the pervasiveness and ultimacy of language and socio-symbolic mediation; his structuralist-style de-literalization of Freud’s sexual and Oedipal terminologies; and, the dues he gives to alterities, differences, and the like. But, on the negative side, certain aspects of Lacan’s teachings are lightning rods for deconstructionist and/or post-structuralist criticisms, especially his maintenance of a modernist (i.e., Descartes-inspired) conception of transhistorical subjectivity as well as a retention of some of Freud’s more controversial and loaded vocabulary despite certain modifications of it. During the later period of Lacan’s own career, debates began to unfold between him and such figures as Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Félix Guattari. Since then, tensions between, on the one hand, Lacanians and, on the other hand, Derrideans, Foucauldians, and Deleuzians have become central fault lines of dispute within Continental philosophical circles. These antagonisms have come to concern not only relationships to the history of philosophy as well as between philosophy and psychoanalysis but also the implications for socio-political analyses of these theoretical points of contention (see also Contemporary Continental Political Theory). Deleuze and Guattari 1983 is the paradigmatic post-May-’68 post-structuralist manifesto critically engaging with Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis. Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe 1992, written by two of Derrida’s closest students, is a classic deconstructionist reading and critique of Lacan’s Saussurian “return to Freud.” Derrida 1998 contains some of Derrida’s later reckonings with Freud and Lacan as both protagonists and antagonists vis-à-vis a deconstruction uneasily indebted to them. Muller and Richardson 1988 features essays by and on Lacan and Derrida specifically with regard to their differing appropriations of Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Purloined Letter.” Forrester 1990 and Hurst 2008 both compare Lacanian and Derridean positions with respect to each other. Dolar 2006, through its investigations into the voice à la Lacan, raises objections to Derrida’s critical interpretations of both Lacan and the history of philosophy overall. Hägglund 2012 challenges aspects of Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalysis on the basis of Derridean theories of temporality, finitude, mortality, and desire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Volume One. Translated by Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            With a preface by Foucault, this first of the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia, in the aftermath of May ’68, seeks to fabricate a revolutionary theory of desire unshackled from the socio-symbolic constraints of the familial order and the larger collective structures with which this order is entangled.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Derrida, Jacques. Resistances of Psychoanalysis. Translated by Peggy Kamuf, Pascale-Anne Brault, and Michael Naas. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Long after Derrida’s now-classic critical engagements with Freud and Lacan in such works as Writing and Difference and The Post Card, he advances further here with his critical readings of these two. In a part-analytic, part-Heideggerian gesture, Derrida seeks to “think the unthought” of psychoanalysis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Dolar, Mladen. A Voice and Nothing More. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dolar’s project is to explore both theoretically and historically Lacan’s conception of the voice and its relations to linguistic phenomena. In the process, he articulates a Lacanian contestation of Derrida’s claims to the effect that the history of Western philosophy (as well as psychoanalysis) is dominated by “phono-logo-centrism.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Forrester, John. The Seductions of Psychoanalysis: Freud, Lacan and Derrida. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bringing in Foucault as well, Forrester narrates a history of psychoanalysis in terms of its Freudian, Lacanian, and Derridean developments. This historical narrative also pays off in terms of philosophical and metapsychological insights, with Forrester’s discussions of language and temporality as common concerns between psychoanalysis and deconstruction being especially productive.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Hägglund, Martin. Dying for Time: Proust, Woolf, Nabokov. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The fourth and final chapter of this book stages a duel between Freudian-Lacan and Derridean accounts of desire in relation to time, death, and matters connected therewith. Building on Hägglund’s 2008 book Radical Atheism, this chapter argues that psychoanalytic atheism is insufficiently thoroughgoing to do justice to these issues.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Hurst, Andrea. Derrida vis-à-vis Lacan: Interweaving Deconstruction and Psychoanalysis. New York: Fordham University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      By contrast with a persistent, prevailing tendency to pit Lacan and Derrida against each other, Hurst puts forward a rare effort at a rapprochement between the two figures. She argues that Lacan and Derrida share structures, logics, and dialectics similarly problematizing the modern philosophical tradition.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Muller, John P., and William J. Richardson, eds. The Purloined Poe: Lacan, Derrida, and Psychoanalytic Reading. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Lacan’s Écrits opens with his Freudian-Saussurian interpretation of Poe’s “The Purloined Letter,” with Derrida subsequently challenging this interpretation in his book The Post Card. This classic collection of essays by various contributors furnishes a variety of competing perspectives on this confrontation between Lacan and Derrida, psychoanalysis and deconstruction.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Nancy, Jean-Luc, and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe. The Title of the Letter: A Reading of Lacan. Translated by François Raffoul and David Pettigrew. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In 1973 Derrida’s students Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe publish a co-authored critical reading of Lacan’s 1957 écrit “The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious, or Reason Since Freud.” In Seminar XX, Lacan praises this reading, although simultaneously dismisses its deconstructionist criticisms regarding subjectivity, metaphysics, and so on.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Feminism and Gender/Queer Theory

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Since its early years with Freud himself, psychoanalysis has been a catalyst for ferocious controversies concerning issues regarding feminism and the normative dimensions of sexuality. Within psychoanalytic and academic circles as well as far beyond in popular culture and mass media, debates have taken place about whether and how the Freudian revolution has transformed humanity’s relationships with sex and gender for better or worse. And during the late 20th and early 21st centuries, psychoanalysis has informed conversations about those marginalized in sexed and gendered terms (roughly speaking, those subsumable under today’s “LGBTQ” rubric) within psychiatry, psychology, and a range of fields covered across numerous disciplines from the theoretical humanities to neurobiology. As a (post-)Freudian analyst, Lacan addresses femininity and non-normative sexualities again and again from multiple angles throughout his corpus. Most famously, his renowned twentieth seminar (Encore [1972–1973]) treats the topic of sexual difference in ways that become decisive for contemporaneous and subsequent developments within French feminist theory in particular (as exemplified by, for example, Luce Irigaray, Catherine Clément, and Julia Kristeva). However, not only is Lacan guilty by direct, self-declared association with Freud in the eyes of those thinkers and activists focused on sex/gender issues for whom Freudian psychoanalysis is essentially misogynist, homophobic, etc.—even amongst feminist and queer theorists avowedly influenced by Lacan, he generally inspires a certain amount of ambivalence also reflected in (overlapping) deconstructionist and post-structuralist rapports with him (see Deconstruction and Post-Structuralism). The negative side of this ambivalence perhaps can be ascribed, at least partly, to Lacan’s stubborn adherence to some of Freud’s less progressive sexual and familial language and speculations. Butler 2000 provides a representative post-structuralist feminist/queer-theoretical critical engagement with Lacan. Grosz 1990 offers a feminist evaluation of Lacan’s oeuvre nicely balanced between exegeses and critiques. Soler 2006 is the most comprehensive survey available of Lacan’s myriad pronouncements regarding women/femininity from across the span of his teachings. Copjec 1994, Salecl 2000, and Le Gaufey 2006 all involve reconstructions and defenses of Lacan’s various theses about sexuality and sexual difference. Dean 2000 outlines a queer-theoretical version of Lacanianism based on showing how Lacan’s conceptions of libidinal structures and dynamics result in a form of psychoanalysis no longer anchored by heteronormativity. Finally, Edelman 2004 employs a Lacanian conception of the death drive to illuminate and challenge investments in reproduction, children, and the future in general.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Butler, Judith. Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Both Hegel’s 1807 Phenomenology of Spirit and Lacan’s 1959–1960 seventh seminar contain (in)famous interpretations of Sophocles’s tragedy Antigone, interpretations that have become the focus of feminist theoretical reflections. Butler strives to recover Antigone as a subversive feminist political figure against what she takes to be Hegel’s and Lacan’s readings.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Copjec, Joan. Read My Desire: Lacan Against the Historicists. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This book’s chapter on “Sex and the Euthanasia of Reason” is an influential treatment of Lacanian sexual difference as comparable to the Kantian antinomy between the mathematical and dynamical sublimes in the Critique of the Power of Judgment. Another chapter illuminatingly discusses breastfeeding as per Freud and Lacan.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Dean, Tim. Beyond Sexuality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                On Dean’s interpretation of Lacan, the Lacanian libidinal economy is fundamentally indifferent to distinctions between heterosexuality and homosexuality, with the kinetics of desire and the like cutting across sexual and identity differences. Dean herein employs a queer-theoretic Lacan to reconsider such pressing topics as AIDS and safe-sex education.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Edelman, Lee. No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  With a title evoking the punk nihilism of the Sex Pistols, Edelman’s book is a sort of theoretical manifesto for queerness understood as involving libidinal disinvestment from heteronormative preoccupations with future generations, fantasies of which are omnipresent culturally, socioeconomically, and politically. A Lacanian death drive is central to Edelman.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Grosz, Elizabeth. Jacques Lacan: A Feminist Introduction. New York: Routledge, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Grosz’s feminist appraisal of Lacanian (and Freudian) psychoanalysis generally and its femininity-related aspects specifically is carefully balanced between positive and negative assessments. In also surveying certain feminists’ responses to Lacan, Grosz does particular justice to questions about whether or not Freud and Lacan cross lines between description and prescription.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Le Gaufey, Guy. Le pastout de Lacan: Consistence logique, conséquences cliniques. Paris: EPEL, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Le Gaufey’s book advances a careful, meticulous treatment of the later Lacan’s logic of sexuation à la the celebrated twentieth seminar of 1972–1973 in particular. Le Gaufey attends to both the theoretical/metapsychological and practical/clinical dimensions of the Lacanian conception of sexual difference.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Salecl, Renata, ed. Sexuation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Primarily representing a mix of Millerian, Žižekian, and Badiouian perspectives, this collection covers a number of issues of direct concern to feminisms engaged with psychoanalysis, including contrasts between masculine and feminine varieties of fantasies, conscious and unconscious representations of sexual differences, and differing affective and relational styles between sexes/genders.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Soler, Colette. What Lacan Said About Women: A Psychoanalytic Study. Translated by John Holland. New York: Other Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Soler’s study is the single most exhaustive and all-encompassing examination of femininity as it features in multiple guises across the entire arc of Lacan’s teachings. From a more sympathetic than critical angle, Soler presents Lacanian perspectives on such figures as mothers, wives, lovers, female hysterics, and feminine masochists.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Analytic Philosophy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          For most Analytic philosophers, Lacan is the epitome of, to combine the derisory descriptions of Noam Chomsky and Alan Sokal, a European “charlatan” peddling “fashionable nonsense” to gullible students and scholars in the theoretical humanities. In addition to the lingering, instinctual animus to all things Continental (especially those emanating from Paris) within Anglo-American Analytic circles as well as Lacan’s own less-than-accessible style of expressing his ideas, another factor rendering Lacan even more offensive than other French thinkers to Analytics and their ilk is the fact that he makes regular incursions into their self-claimed territories, namely, those of mathematics, logic, linguistics, and philosophy of language, among other areas. Although the Analytic tradition and its representatives tend to neglect or dismiss psychoanalysis generally and Lacan specifically, Lacan rightly recognizes that this set of philosophical orientations has much to offer anyone centrally concerned with symbolic structures. He repeatedly refers to an array of major Analytic figures, including: Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, Charles Sanders Pierce, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Kurt Gödel, Chomsky, Willard Van Orman Quine, and Saul Kripke. One of Jacques-Alain Miller’s early contributions to Lacanianism, much appreciated by Lacan himself at the time, is a formal streamlining of the Lacanian theory of subjectivity (as split into subjects of enunciation and utterance) via Frege’s theory of numerical succession and the role of zero therein, this being the contribution of Miller 1977–1978. Badiou 2012 is an early piece by him critiquing the Millerian-Lacanian recourse to Frege, with Badiou’s mature philosophical system as a whole grounding itself upon a post-Lacanian assimilation of resources drawn from the mathematical disciplines of set and category theories in particular. Hallward and Peden 2012 collects a number of considerations of the roles of mathematics and Analytic philosophy in the Lacano-Althusserian hyper-structuralist project of the Cahiers pour l’Analyse journal (in which both Miller 1977–1978 and Badiou 2012 originally were published). Le Gaufey provides Lacanian coverage of Frege, David Hilbert, and Gödel, with the mathesis universalis of Descartes and Leibniz in the background. Fonteneau 1999 thoroughly touches upon the various points of convergence between Wittgenstein’s and Lacan’s interests. Cutrofello 1997 is unique in offering considerations of Lacan along with Quine and also brings in Kripke (the latter is done by Johnston 2008 too). Finally, Žižek 2006 involves Lacanian engagements with contemporary philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and neurobiology.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Badiou, Alain. “Mark and Lack: On Zero.” In Concept and Form: Key Texts from the Cahiers pour l’Analyse. Edited by Peter Hallward and Knox Peden, 159–185. Vol. 1. Translated by Zachary Luke Fraser and Ray Brassier. London: Verso, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This 1969 article is preoccupied with elaborating a critique of Miller 1977–1978 (which itself first appeared in 1966 in the inaugural issue of the same journal). Herein, Badiou argues for the inherent subjectlessness of (formal) science and, hence, against Miller’s attempt at a scientific logic of subjectivity.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Cutrofello, Andrew. Imagining Otherwise: Metapsychology and the Analytic A Posteriori. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cutrofello’s organizing ambition in this book is to demonstrate how and why Lacan subversively supplements Kant’s critical framework with its excluded epistemological category of the analytic aposteriori. Quine’s and Kripke’s transformations of the analytic-synthetic and apriori-aposteriori distinctions prove to be quite useful in this context.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Fonteneau, Françoise. L’éthique du silence: Wittgenstein et Lacan. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Lacan not infrequently invokes Wittgenstein by name. Partly through surveying these various invocations, Fonteneau takes readers on a Lacanian tour of such topics as identity, negation, truth, silence, necessity, and (im)possibility. Throughout, she addresses both the earlier and later periods of Wittgenstein’s philosophizing.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Hallward, Peter, and Knox Peden, eds. Concept and Form, Volume Two: Interviews and Essays on the Cahiers pour l’Analyse. London: Verso, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Formed by students of Althusser and Lacan at the École Normale Supérieure, the journal Cahiers pour l’Analyse involved an ultra-structuralism also mobilizing logical and mathematical resources associated with Analytic philosophy. The essays and interviews here detail all of this in relation to both the past and present.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Johnston, Adrian. Žižek’s Ontology: A Transcendental Materialist Theory of Subjectivity. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This book is organized around providing a critical assessment of Žižek’s psychoanalytic appropriations of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. However, in the process, Johnston discusses at length Lacanian-Žižekian perspectives on such Analytic(-related) figures as Antonio Damasio, Donald Davidson, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Kripke.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Le Gaufey, Guy. L’incomplétude du symbolique: De René Descartes à Jacques Lacan. Paris: EPEL, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      After surveying the early modern, mathematics-inspired Cartesian and Leibnizian rationalisms, Le Gaufey turns to treatments of Frege, Hilbert, and Gödel. For Le Gaufey, the culmination of the modern history of logic and mathematics in rigorously formalized paradoxes crucially informs Lacan’s (quasi-)structuralist program involving inconsistent or incomplete symbolic systems.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Miller, Jacques-Alain. “Suture (Elements of the Logic of the Signifier).” Screen 18.4 (1977–1978): 24–34.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Miller’s canonical essay relies upon Frege’s 1884 Foundations of Arithmetic. For Miller, Lacan’s distinction between the subjects of enunciation and utterance is structurally isomorphic to the contrast Frege draws between zero (a concept without content) and all positive whole integers (as concepts with content), with the former generating the latter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Žižek, Slavoj. The Parallax View. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This contains some of Žižek’s furthest forays into Analytic philosophy and related areas. In particular, he here (as elsewhere) defends a conception of Cogito-like subjectivity filtered through both German idealism and Lacanianism against critics of this type of subject such as Damasio, Dennett, and Thomas Metzinger.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ethical Theory

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Because Lacan’s seventh seminar of 1959–1960 entitled “The Ethics of Psychoanalysis” engages most closely with Kant’s practical philosophy, much of the scholarship on Lacan and ethical theory focuses on his complex relationship with Kant (see also Kant). However, treatments of the Lacanian concept of the act as well as of Lacan’s ties to existentialism also sometimes touch upon what an ethics à la Lacan should be (see also the Act and Existentialism). The still-dominant interpretive line on Lacanian ethics is Žižek’s, according to which Seminar VII formulates an imperative as categorical (in Freudian terms, as “beyond the pleasure principle”) as Kant’s moral law-of-laws, namely, the injunction not to “cede” or “give ground” relative to one’s desire (with “desire” here being not merely one all-too-human pathological inclination among others, but, instead, something “pure” qua [quasi-]transcendental and unconditional relative to empirical reality and its myriad changing phenomena). Žižek 1997 contains one of his more detailed Lacanian engagements with Kant’s ethics, with Zupančič 2000 in its entirety providing the most representative Slovene Lacanian interpretation of the Kantian “metaphysics of morals.” Badiou 2001 references the Lacan of the seventh seminar on compromising one’s desire in the context of articulating a partly Lacan-inspired ethics of unflinching subjective fidelities to “events” and their consequent truths. De Kesel 2009 is an extended, in-depth reading of Lacan’s seventh seminar leaning upon its distinction between morality and ethics. Gondek and Widmer 1994 offers a number of perspectives on the connections between Kantian and Lacanian ethical theories. Copjec 2004 links Lacan’s ethics of psychoanalysis circa 1959–1960 to his 1970s accounts of sexuality and sexual difference (see also Sexuation/Sexual Difference and Feminism and Gender/Queer Theory) and additionally foregrounds the agency of the super-ego in the Kant-Lacan pairing. With the question of freedom being a major philosophical issue for any and every ethical theory, Pluth 2007 clarifies what an autonomous act would be for Lacan and also examines Badiou’s and Žižek’s appropriations of this Lacanian conception of ethical subjectivity. Finally, Johnston 2001 challenges the Žižekian construal of Seminar VII as culminating with a normative injunction, a kind of categorical imperative or eleventh commandment, about the stubborn, persistent pursuit of one’s desire (arguing instead that Lacan, like Freud before him, speaks of guilt descriptively rather than prescriptively).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Badiou, Alain. Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil. Translated by Peter Hallward. London: Verso, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Badiouian ethics of truths, involving a post-evental subject’s sustained fidelity/faithfulness to its conditioning event(s), explicitly echoes Lacanian persistent, uncompromising desire as per the seventh seminar. Badiou points out that this desire’s largely unconscious status entails critical self-interrogation on the part of the ethical subject.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Copjec, Joan. Imagine There’s No Woman: Ethics and Sublimation. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Following Lacan’s own suggestions, Copjec reads Seminar XX (Encore [1972–1973]) as an extension of Seminar VII, thereby linking the classic Lacanian treatments of ethics and sexual difference. She does so by exploring the connections in Freud and Lacan between sublimation, the super-ego, and sexually differing relations to morality.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • De Kesel, Marc. Eros and Ethics: Reading Jacques Lacan’s Seminar VII. Translated by Sigi Jottkandt. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                De Kesel sets out an intricate interpretive reconstruction of the entirety of the seventh seminar. Foregrounding Lacan’s separation of ethics from morality and corresponding rejection of standard, traditional notions of goodness, he argues that Lacan, despite the latter’s indebtedness to Kant, shifts ethical emphases away from universality and toward singularity.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Gondek, Hans-Dieter, and Peter Widmer, eds. Ethik und Psychoanalyse: Vom kategorischen Imperativ zum Gesetz des Begehrens—Kant und Lacan. Berlin: Fischer, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This edited collection is devoted specifically to comparing and contrasting Kantian and Lacanian ethical paradigms. The texts herein help illuminate the various continuities and discontinuities between Kant’s “critique of practical reason” as centered on the categorical imperative and Lacan’s “critique of pure desire” with its “law of desire.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Johnston, Adrian. “The Vicious Circle of the Super-Ego: The Pathological Trap of Guilt and the Beginning of Ethics.” Psychoanalytic Studies 3.3/4 (2001): 411–424.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In line with the Freud upon whom Lacan relies in Seminar VII, Johnston distinguishes between guilt as a subjective state (i.e., feeling guilty) and as an objective state (i.e., being guilty). He argues that Lacan is interested in descriptions regarding the former and not prescriptions regarding the latter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Pluth, Ed. Signifiers and Acts: Freedom in Lacan’s Theory of the Subject. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pluth’s project deals with one of the most fundamental philosophical issues lying at the base of all ethical systems: namely, the problem of freedom. He establishes that Lacan indeed has a theory of autonomous agency, shows what this theory involves, and examines what Badiou and Žižek each do with it.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Žižek, Slavoj. The Plague of Fantasies. London: Verso, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Lacanian ethics and the Kant-Lacan tie are topics frequently addressed by Žižek throughout his sizable, still-unfolding oeuvre. Here, he discusses both the ethical challenges highlighted by Lacan’s accounts of alterity/Otherness as well as how and why Lacan conducts an immanent-critical passage through Kant’s practical philosophy.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Zupančič, Alenka. Ethics of the Real: Kant, Lacan. London: Verso, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Zupančič artfully elucidates the lines along which the Lacanian radicalization of the Kantian “Copernican revolution” in ethics—this revolution breaks with eudaimonisms, utilitarianianisms, and consequentialisms by detaching ethics from such empirical-pathological phenomena as pleasure, pain, and happiness—elevates things associated with the Real to ethical center-stage.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Contemporary Continental Metaphysics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks primarily to Gilles Deleuze, Alain Badiou, Slavoj Žižek, and their various students and followers, the early-21st-century territories of Continental philosophy have come to be populated by advocates of materialist, naturalist, and/or realist ontologies contesting the language-centric and transcendental idealist biases coloring much of the past century of the histories of French and German philosophy. For Deleuze, Badiou, and Žižek, Lacan is, in different ways for each of them, a key source of inspiration for both their philosophies in general as well as their metaphysical speculations specifically. One could defensibly claim that Lacanian metapsychology is one of the primary influences for much of what has taken shape in the sub-field of Continental metaphysics over the course of the past two decades in particular. Various aspects of Lacan’s teachings have become important in this context, including his register theory; his conceptions of subjectivity, objectivity, and structure; his takes on the history and essence of modern science and philosophy; and his references to the materialist tradition as well as nature and the natural sciences. Of the authors listed, Žižek, Zupančič, and Johnston are the Continentalists whose metaphysical frameworks are most avowedly and profoundly indebted to Lacan. Žižek 2012 is a thorough articulation of his career-long endeavor to reanimate the metaphysics of German idealism via the metapsychological apparatus of Lacanian psychoanalysis. Zupančič 2008 involves, among other things, a highly original and insightful discussion of how and why Freudian-Lacanian reconceptualizations of sexuality are revolutionary for philosophy at its most fundamental ontological levels. Johnston 2014 leans on Lacan’s version of dialectical materialism in critically engaging with such contemporary Continental-metaphysical trends as Deleuzian “new materialism” and “speculative realism”; it also includes responses to Badiou, Žižek, and Malabou. Badiou 2013 is Badiou’s most substantial single treatment of Lacan in his corpus, one in which he depicts Lacan as an immanent critic of any systematic metaphysics. Hallward and Peden 2012 contains assessments of the Lacano-Althusserian hyper/ultra-structuralism of the Cahiers pour l’Analyse partly with the benefits of Badiouian and Žižekian philosophical hindsights. Eyers 2012 delineates the multiple facets of the Lacanian Real and looks at its ongoing role in Continental metaphysics. Sylvester and Todd 2013 puts Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalysis and speculative realism in conversation. Finally, Malabou 2012 advances a neuroscience-informed bio-materialist critique of Freud and Lacan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Badiou, Alain. Le Séminaire: Lacan—L’antiphilosophie 3, 1994–1995. Edited by Véronique Pineau. Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Along with Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, Badiou identifies Lacan as one of the three great “anti-philosophers” of the late modern era. Accordingly, he emphasizes how and why Lacanian psychoanalysis purportedly problematizes such core components of the philosophical tradition as metaphysical systems and universal truths.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Eyers, Tom. Lacan and the Concept of the ‘Real’. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              One of the things that makes Eyers’s study so valuable is that it is a rare book-length effort that methodically reconstructs Lacan’s multifaceted theory of the slippery, elusive register of the Real. Eyers also examines this register in its centrality to multiple recent philosophical/metaphysical appropriations of Lacanianism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Hallward, Peter, and Knox Peden, eds. Concept and Form, Volume Two: Interviews and Essays on the Cahiers pour l’Analyse. London: Verso, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This volume contains both interviews with figures originally involved with the Cahiers pour l’Analyse (characterized by a Lacano-Althusserian hyper/ultra-structuralism) as well as new critical essays on this now-legendary journal of the late 1960s. Its contents explore contemporary Continental-metaphysical furtherances of the Cahiers project.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Johnston, Adrian. Adventures in Transcendental Materialism: Dialogues with Contemporary Thinkers. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Johnston’s “transcendental materialism” is avowedly influenced by Lacan and Žižek. Herein, he looks at Lacan’s relations with Hegelianism, Marxism, and dialectical materialism and provides Lacanian engagements with such contemporary Continentalists as Žižek, Badiou, Malabou, Jean-Claude Milner, Colette Soler, and Martin Hägglund.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Malabou, Catherine. The New Wounded: From Neurosis to Brain Damage. Translated by Steven Miller. New York: Fordham University Press, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    At the intersection of philosophy, psychoanalysis, and neuroscience, Malabou challenges central tenets of Freudianism and Lacanianism. Her “new wounded” are those who, through diseases of or injuries to the brain, have arguably lost any analyzable subjectivity and present analysis with a Real it thus far has proven unable adequately to think.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Sylvester, Chris, and Macy Todd, eds. Umbr(a): A Journal of the Unconscious—The Object. Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. Buffalo: State University of New York at Buffalo, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This final issue of the now-defunct annual journal Umbr(a) stages a series of encounters between Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalysis and “speculative realism.” The various contributors discuss a range of topics along these lines, including Hegel’s legacy, Lacanian conceptions of objects, Meillassoux’s speculative materialism, and Harman’s “object-oriented philosophy.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Žižek, Slavoj. Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism. London: Verso, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Žižek’s thousand-page tome of 2012 is not only the definitive articulation to date of his dialectical-materialist philosophical framework involving German idealism and Lacanian psychoanalysis—this book also addresses directly and at length multiple competing contemporary frameworks, including Deleuzian “new materialisms” and various permutations of speculative realism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Zupančič, Alenka. Why Psychoanalysis? Three Interventions. Copenhagen: NSU, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In terms of contemporary Continental metaphysics, Zupančič revisits Freud’s and Lacan’s accounts of human sexuality, grounded as they are on the theory of drive (Trieb), so as to recast questions about being and freedom on the basis of an ontology of a conflicted, discordant nature as an ultimate material Real.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Contemporary Continental Political Theory

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Already in some of his initial writings from the 1930s and 1940s, Lacan begins broaching certain social and political topics. Moreover, Frantz Fanon’s references to Lacan in 1952’s Black Skin, White Masks are unprecedented, pioneering appropriations of Lacanian psychoanalytic theory in the context of an emancipatory critical undertaking. Later, one of the effects of Louis Althusser facilitating the transplanting of le Séminaire from the Hôpital Sainte-Anne to the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in 1964 was the birth of a Lacano-Althusserianism among certain ENS students. This mid-1960s shotgun marriage between Lacanian psychoanalysis and Althusserian Marxism was intimately intertwined with French Maoism and the student radicalism associated with May ’68. Badiou himself, as a protagonist and product of this very history, has since become a major figure in current Continental philosophy overall as well as in contemporary Continental political theory. Badiou 2009 is a famous/notorious set of seminars from the 1970s in which blends of Lacanianism and Maoism are to the fore. Žižek, a self-described “card-carrying Lacanian” also influenced by Althusser and Badiou (among many others), has forged a Lacano-Marxism in the spirit (albeit against much of the letter) of the older, mid-20th-century Freudo-Marxism of the Frankfurt School. Žižek 1989 is a classic formulation of Žižek’s Marx avec Lacan, with Žižek 2004 being a detailed, developed application of this basic theoretical framework to the recent disasters constituting America’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. An ally-turned-opponent of Žižek, Ernesto Laclau, was, until his death in 2014, another significant living figure in contemporary Continental political theory. Laclau and Mouffe 2001 (originally published in 1985) is a now-classic work of post-Marxism in which a Gramscian conception of ideological struggle is filtered through the lenses of Lacan and various other postwar French figures (including Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida). Butler, et al. 2000 is a book-length three-way debate between Žižek’s Lacano-Marxism, Laclau’s post-Marxism, and Butler’s post-structuralist gender/queer theory. Stavrakakis 1999 outlines a Laclauian “radical democratic” political interpretation of Lacanianism. Seshadri-Crooks 2000 follows in the pathbreaking footsteps of Fanon, elaborating a Lacanianized version of critical race theory for today. Lastly, Johnston 2009 examines the political theories of Badiou and Žižek as well as unfurls an alternate political-theoretical interpretation of Lacan’s ideas challenging Badiou’s and Žižek’s emphases on “events” and “acts” respectively.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Badiou, Alain. Theory of the Subject. Translated by Bruno Bosteels. London: Continuum, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In these seminar sessions from the 1970s, Badiou is concerned primarily with articulating a (dialectical) materialist theory of subjectivity fused with the political vision of a militant Maoism. Lacan proves to be integral to this endeavor here. Badiou carefully periodizes and selectively/critically absorbs elements from Lacan’s corpus.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Butler, Judith, Ernesto Laclau, and Slavoj Žižek. Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left. London: Verso, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This presents a series of exchanges between Butler, Laclau, and Žižek. Lacan is an important figure for all of them, albeit in different fashions for each: Butler is critical of Lacan on feminist/gender-theoretical grounds, while Laclau’s post-Marxist appropriations of Lacan contrast with Žižek’s more Leninist ones.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Johnston, Adrian. Badiou, Žižek, and Political Transformations: The Cadence of Change. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                One of the things shared in common between Badiou and Žižek is that they both develop radical leftist political positions informed by Lacan. Johnston unpacks their political debts to Lacan and also reinterprets the Lacanian act in ways problematizing their emphases on “events” (Badiou) and “acts” (Žižek).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Laclau, Ernesto, and Chantal Mouffe. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. London: Verso, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This book has become a canonical work of leftist political theory. Laclau and Mouffe herein lay the foundations for a “radical democratic” politics in which traditional Marxism’s alleged economic/class essentialism is replaced with a post-Gramscian account of ideological hegemony relying heavily upon French (post-)structuralism, Lacan included.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Seshadri-Crooks, Kaplana. Desiring Whiteness: A Lacanian Analysis of Race. New York: Routledge, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Seshadri-Crooks offers a uniquely targeted examination of racial (and sexual) categories specifically from a Lacanian angle. With the assistance of many cultural examples, she deploys Lacan’s register theory and conception of sexual difference so as to analyze and demystify the heterogeneous elements and dimensions involved with notions of “race.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Stavrakakis, Yannis. Lacan and the Political. New York: Routledge, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      One of Laclau’s own students, Stavrakakis accordingly interprets the political implications of Lacanian theory along “radical democratic” (i.e., post-Marxist, quasi-Gramscian) lines. Lacan’s ideas about subjects, signifiers, structures, identifications, egos, fantasies, desires, and ethics all are explored thoroughly in terms of their implications for political theorizing.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Žižek, Slavoj. The Sublime Object of Ideology. London: Verso, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In this first of his many books in English, Žižek productively explores what Lacan means by crediting Marx with inventing the analytic idea of the “symptom” (albeit avant la lettre). He intertwines Marx’s political economy with Lacan’s libidinal economy and also challenges on Lacanian grounds certain traditional Marxian theses.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Žižek, Slavoj. Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle. London: Verso, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is one of Žižek’s most compelling and powerful Lacanian analyses of recent political happenings. Its subtitle alludes to the sometimes self-contradictory dream (il)logic of the unconscious, with Žižek furnishing a Freudian-Lacanian assessment of the factors behind and implications of America’s 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lacan and Art/Culture

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In addition to the disciplines of psychoanalysis and philosophy, Lacan has made a significant impact on the arts and humanities in general. His ideas have been integrated into such domains as art criticism, art history, cultural studies, film theory, and literary criticism. Already in Lacan’s youth during the 1920s and 1930s, he moved within the intimate inner circles of several artistic and literary avant-gardes, being personally close to such figures as André Breton and Salvador Dali. In fact, these artistic and literary inspirations combined with the contemporaneous influences on Lacan of Freud and Alexandre Kojève’s Hegel to form the basis of Lacan’s thinking during this period in ways decisive for the rest of his intellectual trajectory to come. For literary criticism and certain sectors of cultural studies, Lacan’s (post-)Saussurian, (post/quasi-)structuralist, and psychoanalytic accounts of language, signifiers, signification, and writing have tended to be the aspects of his theorizations most deeply drawn upon by these fields. In other sectors of cultural studies as well as fields dealing with the visual arts and music, Lacan’s concepts involving the bodily, the libidinal, and the sensory-perceptual have proven to be the most attractive Lacanian resources for scholars in these areas. Examples of these concepts would include the mirror stage and the related ego/subject distinction, fantasy, objet petit a, desire, jouissance, and both gaze and voice. Felman 1977 is a seminal collection of articles on Lacan’s importance for literature and literary theory. Žižek 1991 is a paradigmatic representative of something for which the Slovene theorist has become world-famous, namely, crystal-clear demystifications of Lacan’s ideas achieved by showing how these ideas are at work spontaneously in a wide range of artistic and cultural phenomena—with Žižek 2007 doing the same specifically in relation to the cinema. Relatedly, Chion 1999 is a classic in film theory partly inspired by Lacan’s descriptions of the voice as a libidinally charged (non-)object. McGowan 2008 illustrates the explanatory powers of Lacan’s notions of fantasy and desire with respect to a sizable array of films. Finally, Copjec 1994 covers such topics as film theory’s appropriations of Lacan’s concepts and film noir à la Lacan, with Copjec 2004 ranging even more widely over numerous artistic and cultural matters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Chion, Michel. The Voice in Cinema. Translated by Claudia Gorbman. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chion’s book is the authoritative study of the history and functions of the human voice in film. He focuses in particular on how and why voices, especially disembodied ones, enthrall movie audiences. Lacan’s treatment of the voice as a libidinal drive-object is a key inspiration here.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Copjec, Joan. Read My Desire: Lacan Against the Historicists. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Copjec’s aesthetic analyses herein are concerned primarily with cinema. Early on, she employs Lacan’s accounts of mirroring and the gaze to demonstrate his relevance for film theory while simultaneously assessing him positively side-by-side with Foucault and Althusser. Later, she offers a detailed Lacanian perspective on film noir specifically.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Copjec, Joan. Imagine There’s No Woman: Ethics and Sublimation. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Copjec engages with a plethora of artists and aesthetic theorists, covering a swath of figures such as Sophocles, the Marquis de Sade, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Elaine Scarry. She organizes mutually clarifying exchanges between these references and Freudian-Lacanian metapsychology (especially drive theory).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Felman, Shoshana, ed. “Literature and Psychoanalysis: The Question of Reading—Otherwise.” Yale French Studies 55–56 (1977).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is an early landmark text in the history of Lacan’s integration into English-language literary criticism. In addition to containing translations of the sessions of Lacan’s sixth seminar dealing with Shakespeare’s Hamlet, it contains a selection of articles on Lacan and literature by important authors and literary theorists.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • McGowan, Todd. The Real Gaze: Film Theory After Lacan. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Written by the foremost Lacanian film theorist in America today, this work takes up Lacan’s account of the gaze in connection with his related conceptions of desire and fantasy. McGowan clarifies both Lacan and cinema through making his chosen Lacanian resources resonate with the films of multiple directors.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Žižek, Slavoj. Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In this pedagogical tour de force, Žižek manages to make Lacan incredibly understandable and compelling by explaining Lacan’s ideas through myriad familiar artistic, cultural, and political materials. Žižek’s concretizations of Lacanian concepts rely on numerous (high and low) references drawn from cinema, literature, theater, and opera (not to mention philosophy).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Žižek, Slavoj. Enjoy Your Symptom! Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out. New York: Routledge, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This book involves Žižek explaining and developing his synthesis of German idealism and Lacanian psychoanalysis via interpretive engagements specifically with cinema. Through these many film references, a range of Lacan’s ideas are made tangible: gaze, voice, and phallus; register theory; the act; repetition; identity; sexual difference; and Oedipal relations, among others.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Lacan and Mathematics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Lacan had a lifelong interest in pure mathematics as well as such formal fields as cybernetics and game theory. Already in some of Lacan’s earlier writings from the mid-1940s, mathematical and game-theoretic resources are pressed into the service of lending rigorous, rational precision to psychoanalytic theory. Such early formalist tendencies arguably help prepare Lacan for his enthusiastic receptiveness to the Saussurian structuralism of his friend the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss (see also Structuralism). During the (quasi-)structuralist phrase of the “return to Freud” in the 1950s, equations, formulas, graphs (such as the [in]famous “graph of desire”), and the like, in addition to references to cybernetics and game theory, liberally are peppered throughout Lacan’s seminars and writings. The recourses to formalisms intensify during the 1960s and, especially, the 1970s. During these final two decades of Lacan’s intellectual itinerary, topology and knot theory increasingly furnish central elements of his teachings. In this later period, Lacan comes to speak of his “mathemes,” these being units of formalization distilling the fixed essences of various pivotal Lacanian concepts. One of Lacan’s motivations for this project of formalizing his own psychoanalytic discourse is an anxious desire to prevent his doctrines from succumbing to the multitude of misinterpretations he felt Freud’s texts had come to suffer over time (in part because of these texts’ reliances upon natural language of a deceptively seeming straightforwardness and reader-friendly accessibility). Granon-Lafont 1985 is a thorough survey of Lacan’s deployments of different topological objects. Dor 1992 encompasses a range of Lacanian formalisms as these feature in delineations of the subject’s links with other analytic objects and processes. Charraud 1997 covers Lacan’s career-spanning engagements with matters formal/mathematical, from game theory through topology to the topic of infinity. Lavendhomme 2001 is an amazingly thorough introduction for non-mathematicians and non-logicians to all the various mathematical and logical resources employed by Lacan throughout his teachings. Ragland and Milovanovic 2004 is a sizable, substantial collection of essays addressing Lacan’s turns to formalisms generally and topology specifically from multiple clinical and theoretical angles. Miller 1977–1978 is an influential article, one that influenced Lacan himself when it was written in the mid-1960s, crystalizing the Lacanian theory of subjectivity via Frege’s account of numerical succession, with Miller 1997 being a sequel to this. Finally, Badiou 2012 challenges Miller 1977–1978 precisely on the latter’s mathematical and logical grounds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Badiou, Alain. “Mark and Lack: On Zero.” In Concept and Form. Key Texts from the Cahiers pour l’Analyse. Edited by Peter Hallward and Knox Peden, 159–185. Translated by Zachary Luke Fraser and Ray Brassier. London: Verso, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Originally appeared in the journal Cahiers pour l’Analyse (1969). Herein, Badiou contests Miller’s Lacanian appropriation of Frege (Miller 1977–1978)and also appeals to Gödel so as to argue against the possibility of pure mathematics buttressing a psychoanalytic conception of subjectivity.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Charraud, Nathalie. Lacan et les mathématiques. Paris: Anthropos, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Charraud’s overview encompasses three main formal/mathematical areas: game theory (as it features in Lacan’s notions of “logical time,” Otherness, subjectivity, and contingency), topology (in connection with structure, language, the unconscious, Freud’s neurobiological references, and Oedipal relations), and the infinite (apropos Freud, Lacan, and Georg Cantor).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Dor, Joël. Introduction à la lecture de Lacan: 2. La structure du sujet. Paris: Éditions Denoël, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dor addresses many Lacanian formalisms: the optical schemas associated with the mirror stage, schemas “I” and “R,” the logic of proper names, the Möbius strip, the torus, the cross-cap, the matheme of fantasy ($ ♢ a), and the formulas of sexuation—all with an eye to Lacan’s conception of the subject.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Granon-Lafont, Jeanne. La topologie ordinaire de Jacques Lacan. Paris: Points Hors Ligne, 1985.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Granon-Lafont explores each of the objects of topology taken up by Lacan: the Möbius strip, the torus, the cross-cap, the Klein bottle, and knots (including the Borromean knot). With accompanying diagrams and illustrations, she shows how topological Lacanianism subverts the Euclidean geometric picture thinking of standard depth psychologies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Lavendhomme, René. Lieux du sujet: Psychanalyse et mathématique. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Lavendhomme’s book offers a crash course for those with little mathematical and/or logical training in the branches of mathematics and formal/symbolic logic drawn upon by Lacan. The areas dealt with include geometry, topology, number theory, the history of logic, logical operators, modal logic, and category/topos theory.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Miller, Jacques-Alain. “Suture (Elements of the Logic of the Signifier).” Screen 18.4 (1977–1978): 24–34.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Miller here employs Frege’s number theory (specifically his account, in 1884’s Foundations of Arithmetic, of the role of zero in numerical succession) so as to render sharp and precise Lacan’s splitting of speaking subjectivity into the subject of enunciation and subject of the utterance. This inspired Lacan himself.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Miller, Jacques-Alain. “Matrix.” Translated by Daniel G. Collins. Lacanian Ink 12 (1997): 45–51.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is a 1975 extension of 1966’s “Suture” (i.e., Miller 1977–1978). Miller presents, in the form of twenty-four succinct thesis statements, a formalized dialectic between the concept-terms “All” and “Nothing.” In so doing, he touches upon repetition, totalization, signification, and space-time.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Ragland, Ellie, and Dragan Milovanovic, eds. Lacan: Topologically Speaking. New York: Other Press, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This nearly 400-page edited volume gathers together contributions devoted to multiple dimensions of Lacanian topology. The contributors make audible the resonances of Lacan’s topological models with metapsychology’s theory of mind, clinical psychoanalytic practice, socio-legal issues, and literature (in line with the later Lacan’s readings of James Joyce).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Lacan and Science

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Freud’s references to the modern empirical, experimental sciences of nature are features of his corpus unavoidable for a thorough reckoning with it. By contrast, comparatively little attention has been paid to Lacan’s relations with these same sciences—save for a handful of discussions of his thesis that the advent of scientific modernity functions as a historical possibility condition for the subsequent Freudian discovery of the unconscious. Partly determined by science phobias coloring much of the rest of 20th-century Continental philosophy/theory, the majority of Lacan’s followers have cherry-picked and spun certain of his statements so as to reinforce a popular caricature of him as an uncompromising anti-naturalist. Such selective interpretations, conflating Lacan’s opposition to ego-psychological biologism with a categorical rejection of biology tout court, perpetuate blindnesses to his highly suggestive remarks about life-scientific matters as well as notions of nature overall. However, this distortion in Lacan’s reception has begun to be corrected, in part thanks to current realist and materialist projects in the newly revivified sub-discipline of Continental metaphysics (see also Contemporary Continental Metaphysics). Milner 1995 involves an especially lucid and precise reconstruction of Lacan’s tethering of Freudian psychoanalysis to the historical emergence of modern science early in the 17th century. Wegener 2004 returns to Freud’s 1895 Project for a Scientific Psychology, the key textual bridge between his neuro-medical training and subsequent forging of psychoanalysis proper, and traces the influences of this piece of the Freudian oeuvre on Lacan’s labors. Whereas what has come to be known as “neuro-psychoanalysis” is still predominantly an Anglo-American movement relying on non-Lacanian analytic orientations, Ansermet and Magistretti 2004 as well as Pommier 2004 both attempt to lay the foundations for a specifically Lacanian neuro-psychoanalysis. In Johnston and Malabou 2013, Johnston revisits the problem of unconscious affects in Freud and Lacan in light of contemporary affective neuroscience, while Malabou mounts a neurobiological critique of Freudian-Lacanian theory and practice. Johnston 2013 critically examines Lacan’s vacillations and inconsistencies around the natural sciences. Finally, Žižek 2006 advances Lacanian interventions with respect to discussions in the neurosciences and Analytic philosophy of mind (see also Analytic Philosophy), while Žižek 2012 contains his most extended considerations to date regarding “quantum physics with Lacan.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Ansermet, François, and Pierre Magistretti. Biology of Freedom: Neural Plasticity, Experience, and the Unconscious. Translated by Susan Fairfield. New York: Other Press, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Co-authored by a psychoanalyst (Ansermet) and a neuroscientist (Magistretti), this accessible, readable text outlines a framework combining metapsychological and clinical Lacanianism with empirical investigations into the central nervous system. The brain’s plasticity qua biological pre-programming for more-than-biological reprogramming is crucial here.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Johnston, Adrian. Prolegomena to Any Future Materialism, Volume One: The Outcome of Contemporary French Philosophy. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The first three chapters (i.e., “Part I”) of Johnston’s book extract from Lacan’s texts the “rational kernel” of a science-friendly and atheistic materialism from the “mystical shell” of flirtations with religiosity and anti-naturalism (to borrow phrasing from Marx). Lacan’s relations with biology are front and center here.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Johnston, Adrian, and Catherine Malabou. Self and Emotional Life: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Neuroscience. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Johnston and Malabou each stage different encounters between psychoanalysis and neurobiology. Johnston develops an account of unconscious affects through making Freudian-Lacanian analysis and affective neuroscience mutually transform one another. Malabou maintains that various neuropathologies strikingly reveal the explanatory and therapeutic limitations of analysis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Milner, Jean-Claude. L’Œuvre claire: Lacan, la science, la philosophie. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                On a number of occasions, Lacan himself insists that Freud’s founding of psychoanalysis would not have been possible were it not for the earlier genesis of the modern scientific worldview. Milner explains Lacan’s presentation of analysis as scientific in the sense of it being a rational discourse regarding ultimately meaningless contingencies without final causes.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Pommier, Gérard. Comment les neurosciences démontrent la psychanalyse. Paris: Flammarion, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Drawing broadly and deeply on a vast array of neuroscientific findings and research programs, Pommier sets out to establish that the contemporary sciences of the brain substantially support rather than outright refute the core tenets of psychoanalysis. He is particularly concerned with vindicating features of Lacanian analysis via the neurosciences.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Wegener, Mai. Neuronen und Neurosen: Der psychische Apparat bei Freud und Lacan—Ein historisch-theoretischer Versuch zu FreudsEntwurf” von 1895. Paderborn, Germany: Fink, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Freud’s 1895 Project for a Scientific Psychology, published posthumously, presents Freud sketching the early rudiments of his later metapsychology using vocabulary and models borrowed from his training in neurology. Lacan repeatedly refers to this piece of the Freudian corpus, and Wegener takes up these multiple references in detail.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Žižek, Slavoj. The Parallax View. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This contains Žižek’s most sustained and intense engagements with neurobiology, cognitive science, and Analytic philosophy of mind. He vigorously defends a Lacanian conception of modern subjectivity (as per both Descartes and the German idealists) against its myriad different critics from these scientific and science-informed fields.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Žižek, Slavoj. Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism. London: Verso, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        By contrast with most other discussions of Lacan and natural science, Žižek here is concerned less with biology and more with physics. Building on an earlier book (The Indivisible Remainder: An Essay on Schelling and Related Matters [1996]), Žižek makes Lacanianism surprisingly and illuminatingly reverberate with quantum mechanics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Lacan and Religion

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Since its inception, psychoanalysis has maintained complicated, ambivalent relations with religiosity in general as well as specific religions. Although Freud adamantly espouses a particularly fierce and vehement atheism, he nonetheless displays genuine fascination with religious phenomena and devotes much time and effort to analyzing them in many of his texts. Additionally, due to Freud’s Jewish background, his writings on Judaism, and anti-Semitic opposition to his ideas, psychoanalysis came to be labeled in certain quarters a “Jewish science.” Similarly, some see Lacan, with his French Catholic upbringing, early-20th-century Jesuit education, and younger brother the Benedictine monk, as Catholicizing analysis. Like Freud, but arguably even more so, he exhibits intense ambivalence toward the spheres of religion: on the one hand, Lacan further extends and amplifies the atheistic implications of Freudian theory and practice; on the other, he enthusiastically appropriates and takes seriously a plethora of cultural and theological resources from religious belief systems. Especially over the course of the past decade, scholarly interest in Lacan’s relations with Judaism and/or Christianity has increased with noticeable rapidity (partly fueled by the recent publications of specific texts by Lacan, such as the short volume The Triumph of Religion, preceded by Discourse to Catholics). Regnault 1985 is a groundbreaking examination of Lacan’s situating of modern science with respect to pre-modern religion mediated through the figure of Aquinas. McNulty 2014 insightfully explores the myriad cross-resonances between Lacanianism and Judeo-Christian legacies around the topics of language and law. Likewise, Skomra 2005 (including a contribution from McNulty) contains articles illuminating Lacan’s rapports with religions and/or atheism from multiple angles. In terms of atheism, Balmès 2007 and Hägglund 2012 put forward contrasting perspectives: Balmès presents Lacan as an especially radical and thoroughgoing atheist, while Hägglund, on the basis of a Derridean critique of psychoanalysis, portrays Lacan’s atheism as insufficiently radical (i.e., as another traditional, garden-variety atheism). Relatedly, Žižek 2003 is an exemplary statement of the author’s Hegelian-Lacanian construal of Christianity as “the religion of atheism.” Both Santner 2001 and Žižek, et al. 2005 open up channels of conversation between Lacan and interlocutors situated more in Jewish traditions: Santner 2001 orchestrates a Lacan-inflected encounter between Freud and Franz Rosenzweig; Žižek, et al. 2005 furnishes engagements with Walter Benjamin and Emmanuel Lévinas as well as Rosenzweig.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Balmès, François. Dieu, le sexe et la vérité. Ramonville Saint-Agne, France: Éditions érès, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Balmès’s study brings to light the many Lacanian instantiations of the monotheistic divine, ones targeted by Lacan’s analytic atheism. Balmès links a number of concepts and topics to God: the Name-of-the-Father, the big Other, the subject supposed to know, jouissance, and femininity.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Hägglund, Martin. Dying for Time: Proust, Woolf, Nabokov. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In line with Hägglund’s Radical Atheism (2008), this book distinguishes between traditional atheism, in which all that is negated as theistic is treated as still desirable, and radical atheism, which contends that immortality, eternity, etc., were never desirable in the first place. Herein, Lacan is critiqued as a traditional atheist.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • McNulty, Tracy. Wrestling with the Angel: Experiments in Symbolic Life. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              McNulty wishes to defend the virtues of Lacan’s register of the Symbolic in light of its overshadowing by the Real in recent Lacan and Lacan-related scholarship. To this end, she displays the richness of Lacanian conceptions of language and law in relation to both Jewish and Christian legacies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Regnault, François. Dieu est inconscient: Études lacaniennes autour de saint Thomas d’Aquin. Paris: Navarin, 1985.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Regnault utilizes Aquinas’s theosophy as a red thread for navigating Lacan’s placement of scientific modernity vis-à-vis religious pre-modernity. Moreover, he takes up at length a seemingly enigmatic assertion by Lacan in Seminar XI replacing “God is dead” with “God is unconscious” as “the true formula of atheism.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Santner, Eric. The Psychotheology of Everyday Life: Reflections on Freud and Rosenzweig. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Santer’s guiding concern is with reading Freud and the contemporaneous Jewish theosopher Rosenzweig side by side. However, this Freud-Rosenzweig exchange is mediated by Lacan’s conceptions of Otherness and the Neighbor-as-Thing (Freud’s Nebenmensch als Ding). Lacan-influenced takes on Judeo-Christianity and ethics are crucial here as well.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Skomra, Andrew, ed. Special Issue: The Dark God. Umbr(a): A Journal of the Unconscious (2005).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This special issue of the now-defunct annual journal Umbr(a) gathers together a number of Lacanian and Lacan-inspired considerations of Catholicism, Judaism, creation ex nihilo, saintliness, and love. In addition, and thanks to certain of its contributors, it also adds deconstructionist perspectives on the religion-psychoanalysis (non-)relationship.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Žižek, Slavoj. The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Starting with the chapter on Pauline Christianity as per Alain Badiou in 1999’s The Ticklish Subject, Žižek has regularly elaborated Lacanian meditations on religious points of reference. In this 2003 book, he attempts to show that Christianity, interpreted in light of Hegel and Lacan, self-subvertingly culminates in atheism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Žižek, Slavoj, Eric L. Santner, and Kenneth Reinhard. The Neighbor: Three Inquiries in Political Theology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is composed of three chapters by Reinhard, Santer, and Žižek. Reinhard’s piece reflects on “political theology” in connection with Carl Schmitt and Badiou, among others. Santer’s text links Santner 2001 with some of Benjamin’s ideas. Žižek’s essay mounts a Lacanian offensive against Lévinas’s theosophical ethics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Lacan and Clinical Psychoanalysis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Freud’s corpus contains a vast quantity of writing related to the clinical practice of psychoanalysis. In such well-known pieces as his famous five case studies (Dora, Little Hans, the Rat Man, Schreber, and the Wolf Man) and “Papers on Technique” (not to mention all of the avowed and disguised self-analytic material), Freud furnishes his readers with exquisitely detailed senses of the intimate processes of analyses within the four walls of the analyst’s consulting room. Lacan, as both a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, indeed did spend substantial amounts of time on personal and didactic analyses, case presentations, patient interviews, clinical supervisions, and the like. Nonetheless, Lacan’s written and transcribed oeuvre, unlike Freud’s, provides few explicit indications regarding the concrete conduct of analytic treatments. Furthermore, Lacanian literature, by contrast with the literatures of other psychoanalytic orientations, involves comparatively little in the way of case vignettes and technical considerations apropos the quotidian practices of the working analyst. In fact, this bears no small part of the blame for non-Lacanian analytic currents dismissively suspecting that Lacanianism is a hermetically sealed fortress of high-theory hyper-intellectualism with little to no interest in or bearing upon clinical practice. However, there are exceptions to the preceding, with a number of these surfacing relatively recently. Schneiderman 1980 is an early, path-breaking collection gathering essays on cases and techniques by various Lacanians; it also includes a unique record of Lacan himself interviewing a hospitalized psychotic patient. Leclaire 1998 translates a 1968 book by one of Lacan’s closest analytic collaborators, with Leclaire’s chapters fleshing out the libidinal and bodily dimensions of the Lacanian analytic experience. Bruce Fink singlehandedly has done more than anyone else to introduce the English-speaking world to the clinical sides of Lacanian analysis: Fink 1997 looks at the handling of desire in analyses as well as the conception and application of psychodiagnostics; Fink 2007 delves into the nitty-gritty aspects of working with analysands as a Lacanian analyst. Nobus 2000, with meticulous scholarly care, extracts from Lacan’s texts a technical apparatus for analytic diagnosis and interpretation. In Apollon, et al. 2002, this Quebec-based trio discusses the theories and practices undergirding their renowned pioneering experiments with Lacanian treatments of the psychoses specifically. Finally, Verhaeghe 2004 puts forward a Lacanian psychodiagnostic framework as a serious rival alternative to the hegemonic Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Apollon, Willy, Danielle Bergeron, and Lucie Cantin. After Lacan: Clinical Practice and the Subject of the Unconscious. Edited by Robert Hughes and Kareen Ror Malone. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Here, the three leading representatives of Quebec’s Groupe Interdisciplinaire Freudien de Recherches et d’Interventions Cliniques et Culturelles (GIFRIC) present, in a series of essays, the theoretical concepts and clinical practices central to their famed treatments of psychotic patients. Case material and suggestions apropos technique are included in their reflections.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Fink, Bruce. A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Theory and Technique. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Over the past two decades, Fink has established himself not only as a leading scholar and translator of Lacan but also as an authoritative writer on the clinical Lacan in English. This book’s first half delineates the analytic process as desire driven, while the second half outlines Lacanian diagnoses.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Fink, Bruce. Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Technique: A Lacanian Approach for Practitioners. New York: Norton, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A sort of sequel to Fink 1997, this book’s chapters set out with satisfying care and specificity Lacan-inspired guidelines for the practical issues dealt with daily by working analytic clinicians. It treats, among other topics, how to listen, intervene, interpret various types of materials, and conduct “non-standard” analyses.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Leclaire, Serge. Psychoanalyzing: On the Order of the Unconscious and the Practice of the Letter. Translated by Peggy Kamuf. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Leclaire was a clinical analyst closely allied with Lacan since the time of the latter’s “return to Freud.” Originally published in 1968, this book focuses particularly on Lacanian accounts of the libidinal economy and embodiment, doing so in relation to clinical issues and case material.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Nobus, Dany. Jacques Lacan and the Freudian Practice of Psychoanalysis. New York: Routledge, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Like Fink, Nobus is an incredibly knowledgeable expert on all sides of Lacan’s teachings. He revisits the sprawling Lacanian corpus so as to extract from it a clinical-technical approach addressing such topics as psychodiagnostics, the role of the analyst, handling analysands’ transferences, formulating and conveying interpretations, and analytic training.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Schneiderman, Stuart, ed. Returning to Freud: Clinical Psychoanalysis in the School of Lacan. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1980.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is one of the earliest presentations of the clinical dimensions of Lacanian psychoanalysis to English-speaking readers. Divided into sections covering the three major Lacanian diagnostic categories (i.e., neurosis, psychosis, and perversion), it offers both multiple case studies and vignettes as well as recommendations regarding clinical technique.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Verhaeghe, Paul. On Being Normal and Other Disorders: A Manual for Clinical Psychodiagnostics. Translated by Sigi Jottkandt. New York: Other Press, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Verhaeghe’s ambitious 500-page tome puts forward a sustained Lacanian response to the DSM and the various analytic, psychological, and psychiatric orientations relying upon it. On the basis of a metapsychological foundation, Verhaeghe argues with rigor and clarity for the explanatory and therapeutic superiority of Lacan’s analytic approaches.

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