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Well Known Figures in Psychoanalysis


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Well Known Figures in Psychoanalysis



Jacques Lacan ()

Jacques-Marie-Émile Lacan was born in Paris on April 13 1901 to a family of solid Catholic tradition, and was educated at a Jesuit school. After completing his baccalauréat he commenced studying medicine and later psychiatry. In 1927, Lacan commenced clinical training and began to work at psychiatric institutions, meeting and working with (amongst others) the famous psychiatrist Gaetan Gatian de Clerambault. His doctoral thesis, on paranoid psychosis, was passed in 1932. In 1934, he became a member of La Societe Psychoanalytique de Paris (SPP), and commenced an analysis lasting until the outbreak of the war. During the Nazi occupation of France, Lacan ceased all official professional activity in protest against those he called “the enemies of human kind.” Following the war, he rejoined the SPP, and it was in the post-war period that he rose to become a renowned and controversial figure in the international psychoanalytic community, eventually banned in 1962 from the International Psychoanalytic Association for his unorthodox views on the calling and practice of psychoanalysis. Lacan’s career as both a theoretician and practitioner did not end with this excommunication, however. In 1963, he founded L’Ecole Freudienne de Paris (EFP), a school devoted to the training of analysts and the practicing of psychoanalysis according to Lacanian stipulations. In 1980, having single-handedly dissolved the EFP, he then constituted the Ecole for “La Cause Freudienne,” saying: “It is up to you to be Lacanians if you wish; I am Freudian.” Lacan died in Paris on September 9, 1981.
Lacan’s first major theoretical publication was his piece “On the Mirror Stage as Formative of the I.” This piece originally appeared in 1936. Its publication was followed by an extended period wherein he published little. In 1949, though, it was re-presented to wider recognition. In 1953, on the back of the success of his Rome dissertation to the SPP on “The Function and Field of Speech in Psychoanalysis,” Lacan then inaugurated the seminar series that he was to continue to convene annually (albeit in different institutional guises) until his death. It was in this forum that he developed and ceaselessly revised the ideas with which his name has become associated. Although Lacan was famously ambivalent about publication, the seminars were transcribed by various of his followers, and several have been translated into English. Lacan published a selection of his most important essays in 1966 in the collection Ecrits. An abridged version of this text is available in an English-language edition.
The texts of Jacques Lacan's seminars in French can be accessed using the following link:

Selected Works:
Écrits: A Selection, transl. by Alan Sheridan (1966)
Further Reading:
A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Theory and Technique (1997) by Bruce Fink
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