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The Seminar of Jacques Lacan: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis (Vol. Book XI) (The Seminar of Jacques Lacan) Paperback – April 17, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Dr Lacan's writings, and especially the seminars for which he has become famous, have provoked intense controversies in French analytic circles, requiring as they do a radical reappraisal of the legacy bequeathed by Freud. This volume is based on a year's seminar, which is of particular importance because he was addressing a larger, less specialist audience than ever before, amongst whom he could not assume familiarity with his work. For his listeners then, and for his readers now, he wanted "to introduce a certain coherence into the major concepts on which psycho-analysis is based", namely the unconscious, repetition, the transference and the drive.In re-defining these four concepts he explores the question that, as he puts it, moves from "Is psycho-analysis a science?" to "What is a science that includes psycho-analysis?" Dr Lacan argues in particular that there is a structural affinity between psycho-analysis, construed as the science of the unconscious, and language - the science of linguistics being one of the significant discoveries of our time. He also discusses the relation of psycho-analysis to religion, and reveals his particular stance on a wide range of topics, such as sexuality and death, love and libido, alienation, interpretation, repression and desire.This book constitutes the essence of Dr Lacan's sensibility. There is no clearer statement of the ideas and issues which have aroused such passionate reactions in France, and which can now gain the hearing they deserve in the English-speaking world. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

The psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan (1901-1981) was one of the twentieth century's most influential thinkers. His many published works include Ecrits and The Seminars.

Jacques-Alain Miller is Director of the Department of Psychoanalysis at the University of Paris VIII and editor of Lacan's Seminars.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (April 17, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393317757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393317756
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan (1901-1981) was one of the twentieth century's most influential thinkers. His many published works include Ecrits and The Seminars.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Incantessimo VINE VOICE on April 17, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lacan must be read with care. He is not for everybody. He is for those who are interested in the mind, in desire, in language. Specifically, for those who have developed an interest in "theory" or "post-structuralism", which he helped to develop. In this volume Lacan sets out some key concepts in his thinking - but he does not do so systematically! Do not expect him to explain everything to you in a clear, linear fashion. Rather, he plays on words and on ideas, he maneuvers and evades, he skirts around the issue, and comes back to it. Have patience if you choose to read him - discuss his writings with others. If you do this, you may come to understand why Lacan is regarded with so much respect in France and has virtualy reared an entire generation of first-rate theorists and thinkers.
It will help (but will not guarantee understanding) if you have some background in Freud, even if it is only a slight one. Good luck!
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119 of 172 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
First, let me start off by saying that I am an intellectual historian with a great passion for the history of ideas, especially those dealing with the mind and how it works-- psychoanalytic thought in particular. I'm well used to reading works that are dense, difficult, and jargon-laden. I'm also quite familiar with intellectual traditions that Lacan is responding to, borrowing from, and those that he himself has inspired (most notably the tradition of French psychoanalytical feminism a la Irigaray, Cixous, Kristeva, etc). I say all this not to pat myself on the back, but to provide some context for this review: I am *not* someone who hates books just because they're difficult, or because they're about such rarefied subjects.
However, I cannot in good intellectual faith recommend this book to anyone. Partly, I freely admit, this is because I really don't think Lacan has really all that much to say. While I don't deny the fact that he *was* instrumental in putting a structuralist (and then post-structuralist) turn in psychoanalysis in some of his early essays (such as appear in "Ecrits") as well as pioneering contraversial new techniques of therapy, such as the variable-length session). But since those early daysthen, his reputation was due more to his charismatic personality and his influential friends within the French academic world, rather than because he had all that much to say.
This book is a perfect example of that. Taken from one of his mid-period seminars (essentially series of lecture courses), Lacan babbles, obfuscates, metaphorizes,and jokes his way through a set of vaguely philosophical points about the mind that could probably have been adequately summarized in a single lecture, or maybe 20-30 pages. (Note to readers of Freud, Jung, Adler, etc.
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26 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
Most people who have read Lacan did so in an academic context, which can sour one's experience of truly useful texts. Yet I encourage those of you interested in learning more about psychoanalytic theory, and the way humans ARE in general, to pick up the Four Fun Concepts. Of course its content is difficult and subject to debate, but the benefits of reading Lacan, especially in conjunction with Freud (and even Irigaray, if need be) are immense. A MUST for artists, writers, historians, Psych students, feminist theorists, and anyone else who likes to learn and think.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nikolas Adamsson on August 15, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lacan is not easy to follow, by intent, yet the elegance of his thought processes bring real depth to psychoanalysis and the limitations of language in expressing our evolutionary struggles to identify the conflict between our internal processes and the world outside. Multiple rereadings will bring clarity. I keep a copy in my office for reference.
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