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Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture (October Books) Paperback – September 8, 1992
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Zizek is one of the very few thinkers who has been able to reinvent Lacan's fundamental concepts with a freshness and elasticity that makes one remember what was genuinely exciting and revolutionary about the Parisian school. His work is saturated with the lessons of philosophy and psychoanalysis and he has a feel for film and literary culture that is quite breathtaking.(Andrew Ross, Princeton University)
Looking Awry is a wonderful introduction to dialectical psychoanalysis; to a fresh approach to the subjectivities of mass culture, and to an extraordinary new voice we will hear often in the coming years.(Fredric R. Jameson, Duke University)
Žižek is a one-person culture mulcher. Flinging out readings of film noir or Hitchcock's The Birds, drawing maps of the unconscious, analyzing the commodity form, Stephen King, or Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, be plays the philosopher as standup comic...The elusive Lacan, who cultivated an aura of indecipherability with the care of a diva becomes a field guide to life in an age of media.(Edward Ball Voice Literary Supplement)
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Lacan's seminar is an unreadable text - if that's your first/second/third etc. time. Lacan, you see, does not make conclusions. To illustrate that:
- You are writing a paper on, let's say, "Gaze". You would like to know what's Lacan's take on gaze. You open "On Gaze as Object a" chapter from "Four Fundamentals".
- you read a paragraph. You do not quite understand what you have read.
- you read the following paragraph. Now, understanding this one is even more difficult, because Lacan is assuming that you have fully understood the previous one. Ok, third paragragh ... Should I continue?
- You either think that this book is non-sense or that you are stupid. Both conclusions are wrong.
As soon as you get the background - Lacan's non-sense makes perfect sense. Zizek give this background in a highly entertaining manner (his writing is a jewel - keeps you thinking "If only I could write like that!"). I am currently doing a PhD in literature, and I have to go through plenty of academic rubbish - dry and actually, useless critical books, that make use of Lacan, Foucault and others to get published and never be read. Zizec is a breath of fresh air.
Please believe me - do not give up on Lacan, do not call him bad names, (like "idiotic nonsense, nobody ever understood him, they were all pretending to understand him because they were afraid to look stupid in the 60s") - before you read Zizec.