by John Gather
Jacques Lacan is probably the most important psychoanalytic thinker since Freud, and certainly the most controversial. It is often said that a large part of the controversy surrounding Lacan’s works is due to the extreme complexity of his use of language, which would render those works inaccessible, not only to the lay reader, but also to expert readerships.
The proposition I intend to develop in this paper, however, is that Lacan’s linguistic complexity is necessary consequence of his theoretical stances, and that any attempts to render Lacan’s theories in “scientific” language will invariably lead to misrepresentations of psychoanalysis.
In order to present my argument, I shall apply two clusters of theory to each other, which can be seen as paradigms of Lacan’s theoretical subtleties. Namely, I shall make an attempt to discuss Lacan’s model of the four discourse types in terms of the registers of the Imaginary, Symbolic and Real. I shall begin by presenting the two issues separately, in a way that will enable me to introduce Lacan’s terminology. Having done so, I shall view the discourse model in the perspective of the three registers. This analysis will provide a fresh insight, I believe, into the implications of Lacan’s style.
2. Imaginary, Symbolic and Real
2.1 The Mirror Stadium and the Theory of the Imaginary
Marienbad (Germany), August 3, 1936. Jacques Lacan delivers the first version of his paper, The Mirror Stadium, to the fourteenth International Psychoanalytical Congress. The moment is crucial, for it signals Lacan’s departure from psychiatry and his entrance in psychoanalysis: the focus of investigation shifts from the individual’s behavioral patterns onto subjectivity and the formation of the ego.
Even though Lacan would not formally introduce the distinction between the Imaginary, Symbolic and Real registers until 1953, a related – if more crude – differentiation can be discerned in Lacan’s thoughts.
The Mirror Stadium1 examines the ludic interest that the child displays for its specular image between the ages of six and eighteen months. Lacan departs form Bolk’s behavioral development theory2, according to which humans are physiologically premature at their birth, with the ensuing vulnerability and dependence upon others for survival. The child experiences this condition as an intra-organic discordance. According to Lacan, then, if the child expresses jubilation upon recognizing its image in the mirror, it is because in there it anticipates its own completion. The specular image is doubtlessly the child’s, but it is at the same time an other’s, since the child itself is in deficit with respect to it. Due to this interval, the mirror image captures the child, who identifies with it. Lacan’s main concern with this phenomenon is not centered on the fact that the child observes, nor on the idea of stadium, but rather on the nature of the child’s interest. The child’s playfulness might perhaps appear to anticipate the attainment of a wonderful state of adult intelligence; Lacan, however, is adamant in his opposing any prospects of this kind. In contrast with the chimpanzee, which looses all interest in its mirror image upon recognizing it as its own, the child has a perverse will to remain deluded.
The child’s attention is caught (capté) by his or her spatial relations with the mirror image in a twofold way – the spatial interval between the body and its mirror image on one hand, and on the other hand between the mirror image and other objects within the virtual mirror-space. He or she is captivated (captivé) to the point of complete legal and moral captivation. The mirror acts therefore as a trap and a decoy; it produces mirages rather than mere sensory images3.
Furthermore, Lacan telescopes the speculaire attribute of the image into the spectaculaire4: the mirror becomes a spectacle, and a particular moment of seeing becomes emblematic for the act of seeing at large.
Mirror and spectacle, correlatives of identification and fascination, are the twin boundary posts of what Lacan, from 1953 onward, would call the Imaginary register.
The analysis of the mirror stadium led Lacan to the idea of the imaginary alienation. The child identifies itself with the image of an other, which in turn becomes constitutive of the ego (moi) in man. Human formation is punctuated by these ideal identifications. Beyond the mere physiological aspects, the Imaginary is inscribed in human development.
The theory of the Imaginary enabled Lacan to account for the ambivalent aggression which characterizes man’s relation to his equal, perceived as someone who might replace him. This is precisely because, based on the model of the mirror stadium, the other is perceived as oneself. This theory also explains the paranoid nature of the relation of man to his object; paranoid because the object acquires importance in as far as another might dispute its possession. At the same time, the hypothesis of the Imaginary yields light upon the hysterical nature of human desire, in that it is always the desire of an other.
Rudimentary as it is, the theory of the Imaginary reveals nevertheless an approach to the question of the ego which is fundamentally opposed to that of the Anglo-Saxon schools of psychoanalysis. For instance, while Lacan made his entrance into psychoanalysis through the formulation of the mirror stadium, Hartmann in Chicago, and Kris and Löwenstein in New York, constructed an entirely different theory5 – a theory which remains accepted in most Anglo-Saxon psychoanalytic circles until today. These authors attempted to re-interpret and unify Freud’s theory on the basis of the second Freudian topology, which distinguishes the instances of the ego, the super-ego and the id. Within the theoretical frame developed upon this model, the ego would be the personality’s central instance, and it would possess a function of synthesis. These theories also assumed the ego to fulfill a pivotal function, which the analyst should re-enforce in order to bring the patient back to reality.
Instead, Lacan’s approach to the ego, from the theoretical framework of the mirror stadium, leads to a very different conclusion6. In this conception, the ego is neither unified, nor is it unifying; it is precisely the precipitate, the sediment produced by the disorder of imaginary identifications. During the course of the cure, these imaginary identifications reappear in consecutive order, which led Lacan to describe the psychoanalytic treatment as a guided paranoia. It can be said that the ego, in the spirit of Lacan, is in its origin a trap, and its very nature precludes any notion of integrity or unity.
Despite its coherence, however, the theory of the Imaginary lead Lacan to an impasse jeopardizing both the theory and the clinic: imaginary relations become invariably destructive, exclusive relations, in which only “I” or “the other” can exist7. The narcissistic aggression which characterizes imaginary relations strives towards the attainment of a more or less stable individuality. Because of the insubstantial nature of the ego, however, this endeavor is bound to fail. The emphasis in Imaginary relationships lies with the alienation which functions as a barrier demarcating, and even defining, the precarious limits of the ego.
Imaginary relationships both define and link two or more individuals by means of the signs through which those individuals represent themselves. Schematically:
individual1 → sign → individual2
2.2 Beyond the Imaginary Impasse: the Theory of the Symbolic
In 1953, Lacan introduced the disjunction between the Imaginary and the Symbolic. The Symbolic can be said to include two strata: the stratum of the word and the stratum of language8. Whereas imaginary relationships, as described above, are characterized by rivalry and destruction, Lacan sees a pacifying function in the word. Like the sign, the word is also the means of identifications; but the identifications mediated by the word make it possible to overcome the imaginary rivalry. Lacan often refers to the word as the means of mediation between the subjects. From the perspective of the stratum of the word, the symptom appears as a defect in symbolization, which results in a certain opacity in the subject. The psychoanalytic cure is a fundamentally intersubjective process that enables the subject to re-establish the continuity of his/her history, which the symptom had interrupted. Lacan expressed this by saying that the unconscious is a censored chapter in the history of the subject, to which the cure gives a retroactive signification.
The stratum of language is also known as the Symbolic Order. This is a diacritic set of discrete and separate elements, the signifiers, which acquire value only in relation with each other; on their own, they are meaningless.
In several aspects, the stratum of language is the opposite of the stratum of the word. Whereas the stratum of the word provides the signification which enables the subject to overcome the imaginary rivalry, the stratum of language is made of non-sense. It can be said that Lacan’s focus shifted from the stratum of the word on to the stratum of language9.
At the Symbolic level, then, signification emerges as the result of differences. This implies that, for signification to occur, there must be at least two elements, signifiers, that differ from each other within a diacritic network. In contrast with the Imaginary, in which the ego identifications are predominant, the Symbolic is the domain of the signifier. By means of a signifier S1, the subject can represent itself for another signifier S2. Schematically:
subject S → signifier S1 → signifier S2
Lacan’s theory of the Symbolic elaborates the dimension common to these two strata. Three different aspects of this theory deserve some attention.
Firstly, Lacan revised the parallelism de Saussure postulated between signifier and signified, and insisted that the signifier operates upon the signified, opposing thus the thesis that the signifier would simply serve to express the signified. Lacan’s thesis is that the signifier acts upon the signified, and in a radical sense it even creates the signified. All signification is created from the non-sense of the signifier.
Secondly, Lacan introduced the notion of signifying chain in order to account for the overdetermination in which, like Freud, he saw the condition for any formation of the unconscious. Concepts such as the repetition automatism and the death drive, which Freud introduced, require adequate explanations. Lacan emphasizes that the repetition automatism, as described by Freud, is the vehicle of an indelible track; the unconscious is constituted by that track, of which the subject cannot rid himself.
Thirdly, the entire structure of the Symbolic functions as a term. Lacan emphasizes that the relation between the structure and the subject is to be distinguished from the imaginary relationship between the ego and the other. To this end, he introduced the notation of the Other (Autre), as opposed to the “other” which is reciprocal, symmetric of the imaginary ego.
The notion of the Other has several functions in Lacan’s theory. It is, in the first place, the Great Other of language which is always already there. It is the Other of the universal discourse, of everything that has been said in so far it is conceivable. It is also the Other of truth, which is a third party in any dialogue; because in the dialogue between one and another there is always that which functions as reference as much in agreement as in disagreement. Finally, the Other is a dimension of exteriority that has a determining function for the subject: it is the Other where the unconscious desire originates.
2.3 A Word about the Real as Barrier for Subject and Ego
One of Lacan’s most extensive accounts of the Real is to be found in the fifth chapter of his seminar of 1963-196410. He centers his presentation on two terms, τύχη and αυτόματόν, as used by Aristotle in the second book of Physics. Lacan renders τύχη as the “encounter with the real” that lies beyond the αυτόματόν, “the return, the coming back, the insistence of the signs, by which we see ourselves governed by the pleasure principle”11.
Because the Real lies beyond the repetition of the signs, its power supersedes the already quite considerable power Lacan ascribes to the Symbolic. The actual characterization Lacan gives for the Real is quite often in negative terms, i.e. “the little we know about the real shows its antimony to all verisimilitude”12. The effect of the Real upon the psyche can be best described as trauma, a rupture in the identifications of the Imaginary and in the fabric of the Symbolic.
3. Language, Subject & Social Bonds: Lacan’s Discourse Model
In Het Ik en de psychologie der massa.13 Freud attempted to explain the processes of group-formation – the horizontal bond linking the members of the group – on the basis of the vertical bond between each member and the leader of the group. Freud studied the bond between the members in terms of the mechanisms resulting from their identification with each other vis-á-vis their relation with the leader. Instead, Lacan found inspiration in linguistics and anthropology.
3.1 Post-Freudian Sources
Lacan’s reformulations of Freudian theories stem from the basic hypothesis that the unconscious is structured like a language. His references to linguistics can be retraced to Jakobson and de Saussure, and to a lesser degree, Benveniste; Lacan’s anthropological sources stem from Lévi-Strauss’ structural anthropology.
3.1.1 de Saussure and Lévi-Strauss
Based on de Saussure Lacan employs the notions of signifier – although, as we have seen, not without modifications – and of langue, the diacritic set of elements which acquire signification in relation to each other. By merging the Saussurean concept of langue with the kinship restrictions described in the works of Lévi-Strauss – with incest prohibition as privileged law14. Lacan obtained an outline of his notion of the Symbolic order. In Lacan’s discourse model, the entire body of knowledge, rules and restrictions encompassed by the Symbolic order make their appearance as the corpus of savoir, symbolized as S2.
Benveniste had already made the distinction between the “sujet de l’énonciation” and the “sujet de l’énoncé”. The speaker is divided by what he or she says: the “I” that speaks is not congruent with the “I” in what is spoken. Shifters and speaking subjects don’t coincide.
In addition, what remains unsaid divides the speaker, who can never fully convey the message because words can not suffice: this is what Lacan calls the limit of the Real.15 At the same time the speaking subject says more than what was intended and also says something different.
Another source of critical importance for Lacan’s discourse model are the writings of Roman Jakobson, in particular his communication theory16. Jakobson distinguishes six functions which represent different instances in the process of communication: “sender”, “receiver”, “contact”, “code”, “context” and “message”. These functions would convey a more or less stable chart of the communication process and the points at which it might falter.
But Freud’s works about the joke and the lapsus show that merely linguistic or psychological models do not suffice to adequately characterize the role of the Symbolic in humans. For instance, Freud’s demonstration that the lapsus can sometimes be a most successful case of communication, leads one to question the apparently so self-evident relationship between “sender” and “message”. Indeed, in the lapsus, but also in many other instances of speech, it is not at all obvious that the sender’s intention is univocal.
On the contrary, it is necessary to speak of a number of intentions which are operative next, besides, through, and even against the message. And does the sender really possess a message? Does he or she intend to apply a code to render that message conveyable? And is that message – and no other – the one that the sender really intended to convey? Does the sender possess the code, or is he or she possessed by it? And, as sender, is he or she not rather the receiver of the message send by the code? Is he or she truly able to decode the message quickly, efficiently and flawlessly? If not, doesn’t he or she elect not to know anything about it? And where is the interference: in the channel, in the sender, or already in the code itself?
Similar questions arise on the side of the receiver. In the first place, the code also speaks to him or her: the receiver is thus the code’s object. Also the receiver is hindered by the interference produced by the many inner messages which simultaneously demand his or her attention. Moreover, the receiver is also exposed to the ubiquitous, often unpleasant message about him- or herself that the code sends. Neither is the receiver’s intention to decode the sender’s message univocal or pure. The incarnated code is not an abstraction; it is acquired through the strictly personal history. In turn, this modifies the way any ulterior message is to be decoded; and the way any question to the code is to be posited.
A model intended to present the phenomena of discourse must be able to include – rather than to resolve or eliminate – the nuances mentioned above.
3.2.1 Discourse is not just Speech: Four Places
By incorporating phenomena of language that give testimony of the unconscious (dreams, jokes, parapraxes) into his discourse model, Lacan establishes four basic discursive features prior to and independent of any actual linguistic utterances. A discourse is by no means limited to speech or writing – there are also discourses without words17 – but discourse and
language are intertwined: fundamental relations subsisting in language fashion possible social bonds and define possible discourse types.
The truth drives the agent of a discourse to speak to an other, in order to obtain a more or less visible product. In presenting these four functions along a synchronic scheme, Lacan renders each one of them as defining a logical place or topos:
The “sender” of Jakobson’s model is here only an apparent agent, driven by an unconscious truth. This agent does not have direct access to the unconscious; on the contrary, it is its pawn. The contents of the unconscious can only be constructed in a fragmentary way, and through the other. The “receiver” is divided in the other who is spoken to and the effect taking place in his or her unconscious. The signifier divides both speaker and addressee; the word follows therefore a path which is doubly articulated through the unconscious. This results in a double disjunction between the places that has far reaching consequences for each discourse type. Lacan represents this double disjunction by the arrow ( ) which represents the relation of impossibility between agent and other, and the double bar (//) representing the impotence between truth and product:
The disjunction between the truth and the product marks the border of the discourse with the Real. We shall further characterize the nature of these disjunctions when we describe each specific discourse type.
3.2.2 The Dynamics of Discourse: Four Terms
The scheme of the four places – the truth, the agent, the other and the product – forms the basis of Lacan’s discourse model. Each of the places can be occupied by one of four terms, resulting each time in a different discourse type.
A first element to take into account for the occupation of the four places is the signifier. As we have pointed out earlier, the signifiers are made of nonsense: they only signify within diacritic oppositions.
For a signifier S1 to have a meaning, it must stand in opposition to the rest of the set of signifiers which must consist in no less that one signifier other than S1. The whole of the set of the signifiers, plus the anthropological restrictions expressed by them is, as we have seen in 3.1.1., the symbolic order, which Lacan symbolizes as S2.
This basic dyad S1 – S2 is, of course, the prototype for any further possible pair of signifying combinations. A divided subject is represented by a signifier for another signifier: subject $ → signifier S1 → signifier S2.
In the mirror stadium the primordial subject (S) becomes divided ($).
However, the subject is eventually confronted with the fact that the Symbolic order does not succeed in entirely replacing the primal subjectivity and its jouissance18: the words do not suffice. The Symbolic order or Other is incomplete, (Other/Autre = A) as it bears the trace of the traumatic Real19. The counterpart of the lack in the Symbolic is the rest of the primordial subject, the plus-de-jouir or objet petit (small object a = a). This rest “a” is the result/refuse of any given signifying process: $ → S1 → S2 → a. These four elements are the terms of the discourse. The petit object a resists all attempts to its full integration in the Symbolic order, so that an incessant discursive chain results:
$ → S1 → S2 → a → $ → S1 → S2 → a → $ → S1 → S2 → a → $ → S1 → S2 → a . . . .
Since their sequence is fixed, only four different groups of four elements may be formed:
$ → S1 → S2 → a
S1 → S2 → a → $
S2 → a → $ → S1
a → $ → S1 → S2
3.2.3 Discourse Types and Registers
Lacan defines discourse as a social bond mediated by language. This gives weight to the use of the Symbolic. Like language itself, the discursive structures pre-exist the subject’s entrance in language. The four discourse types can be obtained by rotating the chain of four terms in their constant order, on the four places. The four resulting discourse types are the master, hysteric, universitary and analytic discourses. For this paper, the master and analytic interest us most.
The first discourse type Lacan describes is the master discourse20. The signifier S1 which represents the subject $, occupies the place of the agent: the Master pretends to coincide with a unique signifier, which activates the knowledge contained in the signifying chain S2:
S1 → S2
The Master signifier at the place of the agent serves to label the other. The most important characteristic of the master-discourse is the reduction of the other to a thing. But the position of the Master can only be maintained at the price of denying subjectivity as the driving truth, and therefore his own castration.
The jouissance remains inaccessible for the Master: at the place of the product, it is in disjunction from the truth. To reach the object a, the Master would have to incorporate his subjectivity on the place of the agent; but that would mean the end of the Master discourse.
The hysteric discourse emerges as an answer to the master discourse. The split subject in the place of the agent installs the master signifier in the place of the other and questions it about the jouissance: S → S1. But the master, as we have seen, cannot answer that demand without loosing his/her position. Upon this failure, the hysteric unmasks the master and declares him bankrupt. The knowledge which is the result of this operation appears in the place of the product.
The structure of the universitary discourse is the reverse of the hysteric:
In the universitary discourse knowledge, in the place of the agent, commands its own growth to continue by endlessly displacing the impersonal´objet a. The objectivity of scientific discourse corresponds to the exclusion of the subject from the signifying relation and the knowledge functions without its repressed inaugural point: the intervention of the master positing basic axioms.
The opposite of the master discourse is the analytic discourse; to which we shall return later.
A lecture of the discourse types in terms of the registers of the Imaginary, Symbolic and Real can shed some light on their nature. The two most obvious places of the discourse scheme are the agent and the other: they come closest to the notion of communication as developed by Jakobson. Obvious places means: they could be thought of without taking the unconscious into account. This takes us directly to our first conclusion, namely: the relationship between the agent and the other (“impossibility”) belongs to the order of the Imaginary. In attempting to reach the other directly, the agent must first identify him/herself with the other. On the once hand, we see that once we take the unconscious into account, any relation between the truth and the product is interrupted by the double articulation we mentioned earlier. We can thus eliminate any possibility of successful communication between agent and other. The disjunction between the truth and the product (“impotence”) belongs to the Real, which is the register that has no access to the signifier.
The Symbolic is the register of the subject.21 To analyze the symbolic component of the discourse type we will focus on the terms of the signifying function rather than on the places of the discourse. This is in accordance with Lacan’s definition of subject: a subject is represented by a signifier for another signifier, $ → S1 → S2. Contrarily to the case of the Imaginary and the Real, this Symbolic tryad is located at different places for each discourse type. In the master discourse, the two terms of the signifying chain, S1 and S2 occupy the upper half of the diagram. The split subject in the place of the truth must remain repressed if the master discourse is to be maintained. In the analytic discourse S2 and S1 are divided by the barrier of the Real, //. The emergence of the split subject $ is related exclusively to the revelation of the phallic signifier S1 by virtue of the objet a in the place of the agent. The restrictions of the Symbolic order S2 are suspended in the place of the truth.
Lacan’s writings pose a considerable challenge to their readers. The syntactic complexity of many sentences, written or spoken, results from placing the object or objects at the beginning of the sentence and suspending the subject, often passive, till the end of the sentence. This is a formal or stylistic correspondence, we believe, to the principle that the subject is an effect of the signifying relation. More attempts to explain the nature of their difficulty, which we believe worth mentioning, are given by A. Mooij22. Mooij sees a threefold function in Lacan’s style: a barrier against misleading simplifications, a listening exercise for psychoanalysts and a practical illustration of the gliding of the signifier. In addition to these fine observations, we shall approach the issue by passing through a few of Lacan’s remarks on style and a reflection upon the role of the object petit a in analytic discourse.
Firstly, Lacan appears to take over Boileau’s principle, “ce que l’on concoit bien s’énonce clairement”.23 But Lacan adds that what is clearly formulated gets through, makes itself understood. Contrarily to Boileau, Lacan emphasizes that there is not much to be expected from preliminary thinking that attempts to find the clarity of ideas outside their formulation in language. As an author has put it, “The school for thinking is to learn how to formulate correctly. Not the other way around.”24
Secondly, Lacan opens his Écrits with a reference to style. The very first sentence of the Ouverture de ce recueil reads “style is man himself”, Buffon’s definition of style.25 In conformity with the thesis, that the subject receives his message from the Other in an inverted form, Lacan rephrases Buffon as “style is the man to whom one speaks”. The rephrasing also stresses the importance of the imaginary register for the ego. Every original, personal style is based on a fundamental méconnaissance, originating in the alienation of the mirror stadium. As J. Miller has inferred, the substitution of “himself” by “to whom one speaks” indicates that identity is divided between what style represents and the one before whom it is represented.”26
Thirdly, Lacan states with crystalline clarity: “It is the object – the objet a – responding to the question of style, that we assert as entrance to the game. At the place that marked man for Buffon, we call for the fall of that object, both as cause of desire … and as support for the subject between knowledge and truth. Through the course of which these writings are milestones, and the style that their destination commands, we want to take the reader to a consequence where he has to put something of himself”.27
The relevance of the response of the objet a to the question of style leads to posit that nowhere can this be more evident than in the psychoanalytic discourse: the objet a occupies here the place of the agent.
The issue is problematic for a number of reasons. The most obvious one is that the privileged positions of the objet a and the split subject are based on a symbolic disjunction: S2 // S1 means that either the knowledge or the master signifier can bear relevance, but not both. The consequence of this is that style, within the analytic discourse, can never be a personal style (S1 → S2). Moreover, S2 // S1 also means that the knowledge S2 does not have access to expression – which could only take place through S1.
Coherently with Lacan’s theory, the subversion of his teaching is limited to the field of language. Its most provocative aspect lies in posing the most fundamental questions without offering. synthetic view which would dominate – and neutralize – the analytic discourse.28
For the same reason, whatever S1 expresses, it will not be a knowledge. The style, therefore, that the objet a generates in the analytic discourse cannot be the style of mastery, S1 → S2 . Neither is the act of education, illustrated in the universitary discourse (S2 → a), suitable to apprehend the nature of the style of psychoanalysis. In the universitary discourse the objet a occupies the place of the other as not-knowing, necessitating the input of knowledge (S2) in order to fulfill the impossible task of the incorporation – and dominance – of the jouissance into the Symbolic.
Indeed, the reverse side of the universitary discourse shows the signifier in disjunction with the subject. S1 // $. Within this frame, the revealing effect of the signifier cannot take place for the subject.
Between the knowledge of the analyst – or, for that matter, of the analysand – and the phallic signifier there is the barrier of the Real //. The difficulty of the style of psychoanalysis is to be retraced, we believe, in its double involvement with the Real, which appears right at the center of the symbolic chain, and it is also indicated by the presence of the object a in the place of the agent. Indeed, as Lacan has pointed out, the position of the subject in the analytic discourse is opposed to any notion of mastery. The style of psychoanalysis is born out only by the production of the master signifier, which is the indicator of the emergence of the split subject $ by virtue of the action of the objet a.
Lacan’s discourse model offers an entirely novel insight, not only in psychoanalysis, but also in the nature and use of language, and the character of social bonds. The main limit imposed by the use of Lacan’s discourse model as a tool for investigation is that its strict formalization severely restricts any possible description of the enormity of nuances in other fields – aesthetics for instance. On the other hand, we think that this is more than compensated by the subtleties that the application of the discourse model permits to discover in unsuspected areas.
The phrase, “style is the man to whom one speaks”, attains its full signification within the analytic discourse: the style of the objet a in the place of the agent can only be that of the split subject S who is spoken to. In an unusual combination, we find that a strongly formal instrument yields light on language at its poetic level.
Het ik en de psychologie der massa, transl. Dr. N. van Suchtelen, Wereldbibliotheek Amsterdam. Undated.
I960: Linguistics and Poetics, in: Style and Language, T.A. Sebeok (ed.), M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, Mass. 1960. pp. 350-368
1966: Écrits, Seuil, Paris 1966, rpr. coll. Points, vol. I + II
1973: Le Séminaire. Livre XI: les quatre concepts fondamentaux de la psychanalyse 1964. Paris, Seuil 1973
1974: Télevision, Paris, Seuil 1974
1975: Le Séminaire. Livre XX: encore 1972-1973, Paris, Seuil 1975
1991: Le Séminaire. Livre XVII: l‘envers de la psychanalyse 1969-1970, Paris, Seuil 1991
1981: Die elementaren Strukturen der Verwandtschaft, transl. E. Moldenhauer, Suhrkamp 1981
1991: Style is the Man Himself, in Lacan and the Subject of Language, E. Ragland- Sullivan and M. Bracher (eds.), Routledge, NY 1991. pp. 143-151
1979: Cinco conferencias caraquefias sobre Lacan, Coll, analitica, ed. Ateneo de Caracas, Venezuela, 1979. Transl. A. Zlotsky, Five Conferences about Lacan
1975: Taal en verlangen, Meppel/ Boom 1975
1991: Zeven avonden met Jacques Lacan, Academia Press, Gent 1991
1Lacan 1966: 89-97
2J. -A. Miller 1979: 15
3Lacan 1966: 95
5Lacan 1966: 83
6Lacan 1966: idem
7This is also one of the fundaments of the so-called Freudian pessimism: one cannot assume humans to organize themselves spontaneously in a harmonious manner.
8J-A. Miller 1979: 18
9J-A. Miller 1979: idem
10 See Lacan 1973
11Lacan 1973: 53
12Lacan 1973: ix
13Freud undated: 1-94
14Lévi-Strauss 1981: 57-77
15Lacan 1974: 9
16Jakobson I960: 350-358
17Lacan 1991: 11
18Unmitgated joy, bliss
19Lacan 1974: 9
20Lacan 1991: 31-41
21J-A. Miller 1979: 18
22Mooij 1975: 64-70
23Boileau: vers 153;
Lacan 1974: 71
24Quackelbeen 1991: 196
25Lacan 1966-1: 15-17
26J. Miller 1991: 144-151
27J. Miller 1991: idem
28Lacan 1991: 79-80