The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book V,
Formations of the
Unconscious, Lacan’s Seminar V, is about to come out in
English. This is a seminar that gives us a Lacan at a uniquely productive
moment of his teaching. It is a beautiful, richly detailed seminar in which we
encounter the Lacan of the instance of the letter, of the question prior to any
possible treatment of psychosis, the Lacan of the phallus and its
“signification”, and the Lacan of the direction of the treatment. When I read
this seminar I “hear” Lacan – read it out loud and you will hear him too –
speaking of the sadness of Gide, this “ci-Gide”, this André the undertaker; of
the outrageously marvellous Balcony of Jean Genet; and of the finesse of
Molière whose École des femmes prompts Lacan to declare that we are all
cuckolded by the signifier. Witticisms as the face of the Freudian unconscious,
the phallus as the signifier of desire, and one of the finest clinical
discussions of obsessional neurosis anywhere in Lacan – these are the three
grand themes by which Lacan reaches the limits of his ground-breaking thesis
that the unconscious has the structure of language.
The Seminar of
Jacques Lacan, Book V, Formations of the Unconscious, ed.
Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Russell Grigg, Polity Books, Cambridge, will be
available in the UK 9 May, 30 June in the USA.
New Lacanian School
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