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review 2013-04-02 09:36
Introducing Lacan: A Graphic Guide
Introducing Lacan: A Graphic Guide - Darian Leader,Judy Groves This book literally got me through grad school. After days and days of reading sentences of Lacan over and over in the hopes of understanding something, anything- even if it was wrong- this book came and created light out of darkness! Highly recommended to anyone studying Lacan!
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review 2013-01-26 00:00
The Lives and Legends of Jacques Lacan
Lives and Legends of Jacques Lacan - Catherine Clément,Arthur Goldhammer Lively, gossipy, journalistic...
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review 2012-12-31 00:00
Lacan: A Beginner's Guide - Lionel Bailly This book is fabulous -- For anyone (i.e., most of us) who doesn't know or understand a damn thing about Lacan, and feel guilty about it, this Lacan-for-dummies is written by no dummy. Bailly lays out the theoretical foundations with great clarity (though even here, the material on desire and on 'l'objet petit a' does get rather gritty).

Moreover, Baily stresses, quite rightly (it seem), that in spite of its theoretical interest, Lacan is really about the psychoanalytic practice (and not about the theoretical constructs that are, in the end, only 'constructs').

An excellent introduction.

Chs. 2-4 describe the construction of the ego in the sphere of the imaginary (which should be identified with the older notion of 'phantasia', and not with the contemporary idea of "imagination"), and then discuss ‘the other’ (both little and Big). Ch. 6 then explains the Real, Symbolic (which is the sphere of the Subject) and the Imaginary as a Borromean knot. Chs. 7-8 are the incomprehensible chapters on desire (I'd have to reread these to have any real inkling about them); and ch. 12 deals with Laconian practice, and is quite interesting. There is much other material in this short book, including a final chapter on counseling as opposed to psychoanalysis in the 21st cen.

Drawing on the structuralism of Saussure and Lévi-Strauss, Lacan holds that the Subject, that ‘which speaks’, is not itself actually the source of law, culture, language -- but is actually itself a product of the 'Big Other' (which is language, law, etc.... an almost Burkean realm of accumulated tradition that precedes and forms the individual), and is in this way a product of, and thoroughly ensnared in, the sphere of the Symbolic. The Ego is posterior to the Subject. Once the Subject sees itself in a mirror (around age 2), it forms an identification with this image-double, and then gradually affixes attributes to this 'double' (attributes culled from the Big Other), with which the Subject then identifies. The first mirror, however, is actually the gaze of the mother. The Ego, then, is not the solution (Freud), but the problem. It exists in the realm of the Imaginary, is an illusion, and casts an obscuring shadow -- like an offending tower -- on the true needs (themselves unconscious) of the Subject (himself a construction of the Big Other). One must move the tower, so that those needs can come into the light. The task of the Lacanian analyst is thus like that of trying to breach "a city wall [the Ego] with a herring".

A lot of interesting material here -- and this book gives you enough of a handle to have a real working knowledge of this very strange, influential, and enigmatic writer.
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review 2010-12-16 00:00
From Bakunin to Lacan: Anti-Authoritarianism and the Dislocation of Power
From Bakunin to Lacan: Anti-Authoritarianism and the Dislocation of Power - Saul Newman After finishing this novel, I was left with that empty feeling one feels after immersing oneself unintentionally into another world. Our Tragic Universe is at once complicated and uncomfortably familiar. The characters are well-rounded, with both likeable and eye-rolling qualities in spades, and their relationships with one another reflect all the intricacies and redundancies and paradoxes we experience in our own lives. The book explores many different concepts, our relationship with stories and fiction, the structure and lack of structure in meaningful stories, paradoxes and ‘storyless stories’ or metafiction. This novel is all of those and none of those at once. While I first found the meandering plot, or lack of plot, distracting, at some point I was drawn into the bleak and hopeful world without noticing. It was one of my favorite reads this year.
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review 2010-09-01 00:00
Ecrits: A Selection: A Selection - Jacques Lacan,Bruce Fink

My Post-Modern Lit professor tried to convince me that Lacan wrote in confusing circles and metaphors on purpose to weed out stupid people, but I'm not buying it. This guy may have been an influential genius or whatever, but he was totally shit at writing.

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