Jacques Lacan  

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"For decades, a classic joke has been circulating among Lacanians to exemplify the key role of the Other’s knowledge: a man who believes himself to be a grain of seed is taken to a mental institution where the doctors do their best to convince him that he is not a grain of seed but a man; however, when he is cured (convinced that he is not a grain of seed but a man) and allowed to leave the hospital, he immediately comes back, trembling and very scared—there is a chicken outside the door, and he is afraid it will eat him.“My dear fellow,” says his doctor,“you know very well that you are not a grain of seed but a man.” “Of course I know,” replies the patient, “but does the chicken?”"--The Parallax View (2005) by Slavoj Žižek

"Love is giving something you don't have to someone who doesn't want it"--Jacques Lacan

"Look at that woman! Beneath her dress she's stark naked!"

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Jacques Lacan (1901 – 1981) was a French psychiatrist, writer and doctor. His yearly seminars, conducted in Paris from 1953 until his death in 1981, were a major influence in the French intellectual milieu of the 1960s and 1970s.

Lacan's ideas centered on Freudian concepts such as the unconscious, the castration complex, the ego, focusing on identifications, and the centrality of language to subjectivity. His work was interdisciplinary, drawing on linguistics, philosophy, mathematics, amongst others. Although a controversial and divisive figure, Lacan is widely read in critical theory, literary studies, and twentieth-century French philosophy, as well as in the living practice of clinical psychoanalysis.

His writings are collected in Écrits (1966) and perpetuated by Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek.

Personal life

He was married to the ex-wife of Georges Bataille, Sylvia Maklès.

In 1955 the Courbet painting L’Origine du monde was purchased for 1.5 million francs by Lacan. Together with his wife, actress Sylvia Bataille, he installed it in their country house. Lacan asked André Masson, his stepbrother, to build a double bottom frame and draw another picture thereon. Masson painted a surrealist, allusive version of L’Origine du monde.

Lacanian concepts


  • Motifs du crime paranoïaque - Le crime des sœurs Papin (1933)
  • Au-delà du principe de réalité (1936)
  • Les complexes familiaux dans la formation de l'individu (1938)
  • Propos sur la causalité psychique (1946)
  • L'agressivité en psychanalyse (1948)
  • Le stade du miroir comme formateur de la fonction du Je (1949)
  • Intervention sur le transfert (1951)
  • Discours de Rome (1953)
  • Fonction et champs de la parole et du langage en psychanalyse (1953)
  • Les écrits techniques de Freud (S I) (1953–1954)
  • Le Moi dans la théorie de Freud et dans la technique de la psychanalyse (S II) (1954–1955)
  • Les psychoses (S III) (1955–1956)
  • La relation d'objet (S IV) (1956–1957)
  • Les formations de l'inconscient (S V) (1957–1958)
  • Le désir et son interprétation (S VI) (1958–1959)
  • L'éthique de la psychanalyse (S VII) (1959–1960)
  • Le transfert (S VIII) (1960–1961)
  • L'identification (S IX) (1961–1962)
  • L'angoisse (S X) (1962–1963)
  • Les quatre concepts fondamentaux de la psychanalyse (S XI) (1964)
  • Problèmes cruciaux pour la psychanalyse (S XII) (1964–1965)
  • L'objet de la psychanalyse (S XIII) (1965–1966)
  • La logique du fantasme (S XIV) (1966–1967)
  • L'acte psychanalytique (S XV) (1967–1968)
  • D'un Autre à l'autre (S XVI) (1968–1969)
  • L'envers de la psychanalyse (S XVII) (1969–1970)
  • D'un discours qui ne serait pas du semblant (S XVIII) (1970–1971)
  • Ou pire… (S XIX) (1971–1972)
  • Encore (S XX) (1972–1973)
  • Les non dupes errent (S XXI) (1973–1974)
  • La troisième (1974)
  • RSI (S XXII) (1974–1975)
  • Le sinthome (S XXIII) (1975–1976)
  • L'insu que sait de l'une bévue s'aile à mourre (S XXIV) (1976–1977)
  • Le moment de conclure (S XXV) (1977–1978)
  • La topologie et le temps (S XXVI) (1978–1979)
  • Dissolution (S XXVII) (1980)

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