Highly selective notes on Lacan

Dave Harris

[ I read Deleuze and Guattari before I read any Lacan, and so this highly selective set of notes relates to issues with Lacan as identified by D&G. I am only a casual reader of Lacan and my intention was solely to find out exactly what the problems were with two basic arguments that offend D&G:

  • that the unconscious is 'structured like a language', in particular that the 'subject is a signifier for other signifiers';
  • that language use necessarily exposes us to a patriarchal and hierarchical social order.

I have read Schreber's memoirs, his account of a very well-developed paranoid delusion,variously described as schizophrenia or dementia praecox. I have not taken notes, of course, but chapter 15 on miracles and talking birds is especially impressive in showing the amazingly logical and reasonable thinking of Schreber, based on mad presuppositions, of course.. I have also read Zizek's defence of Lacan against D&G,which, apart from anything else, indicates, as usual, that citing a few extracts can never be decisive in any dispute about what the hell Lacan means -- or D&G for that matter.

Here is what I have found so far]

Lacan, J (1993)  (edited by J-A Miller) The Psychoses. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book III 1955-56. Trans with notes Russell Grigg. London: Routledge

Lacan J. (1993) Ecrits. A Selection. Trans Alan Sheridan.London: Routledge

Lacan J (1968) [1953] The Language of the Self: The Function of Language in Psychoanalysis. Trans and with notes[and an essay]  by Anthony Wilden. Baltimore: The John Hopkins Press.

I have also found useful a very clear commentary on Lacan by M Sharpe in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The seminars are very usefully summarized on the site Lacan.com