Jacques Lacan


Jacques Lacan : biography

13 April 1901 – 9 September 1981

With Lévi-Strauss and Althusser’s support, Lacan was appointed lecturer at the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes. He started with a seminar on The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis in January 1964 in the Dussane room at the École Normale Supérieure. Lacan began to set forth his own approach to psychoanalysis to an audience of colleagues that had joined him from the SFP. His lectures also attracted many of the École Normale’s students. He divided the École freudienne de Paris into three sections: the section of pure psychoanalysis (training and elaboration of the theory, where members who have been analyzed but haven’t become analysts can participate); the section for applied psychoanalysis (therapeutic and clinical, physicians who either have not started or have not yet completed analysis are welcome); and the section for taking inventory of the Freudian field (concerning the critique of psychoanalytic literature and the analysis of the theoretical relations with related or affiliated sciences).Proposition du 9 octobre 1967 sur le psychanalyste à l’École. In 1967 he invented the procedure of the Pass, which was added to the statutes after being voted in by the members of the EFP the following year.

1966 saw the publication of Lacan’s collected writings, the Écrits, compiled with an index of concepts by Jacques-Alain Miller. Printed by the prestigious publishing house Éditions du Seuil, the Écrits did much to establish Lacan’s reputation to a wider public. The success of the publication led to a subsequent two-volume edition in 1969.

By the 1960s, Lacan was associated, at least in the public mind, with the far left in France.French Communist Party "official philosopher" Louis Althusser did much to advance this association in the 1960s. Zoltán Tar and Judith Marcus in Frankfurt school of sociology. ISBN 0-87855-963-9 (p. 276) write "Althusser’s call to Marxists that the Lacanian enterprise might […] help further revolutionary ends, endorsed Lacan’s work even further." Elizabeth A. Grosz writes in her Jacques Lacan: A Feminist Introduction that: "Shortly after the tumultuous events of May 1968, Lacan was accused by the authorities of being a subversive, and directly influencing the events that transpired." In May 1968, Lacan voiced his sympathy for the student protests and as a corollary his followers set up a Department of Psychology at the University of Vincennes (Paris VIII). However, Lacan’s unequivocal comments in 1971 on revolutionary ideals in politics draw a sharp line between the actions of some of his followers and his own style of "revolt".Regnault, F., "I Was Struck by What You Said…" Hurly-Burly, 6, 23-28.

In 1969, Lacan moved his public seminars to the Faculté de Droit (Panthéon), where he continued to deliver his expositions of analytic theory and practice until the dissolution of his School in 1980.


Throughout the final decade of his life, Lacan continued his widely followed seminars. During this period, he developed his concepts of masculine and feminine jouissance and placed an increased emphasis on the concept of "the Real" as a point of impossible contradiction in the "Symbolic order". Lacan continued to draw widely on various disciplines, working closely on classical Chinese literature with François ChengPrice, A., "Lacan’s Remarks on Chinese Poetry". Hurly-Burly 2 (2009) and on the life and work of James Joyce with Jacques Aubert.Lacan, J., Le séminaire, livre XXIII, Le sinthome This late work had the greatest influence on feminist thought, as well as upon the informal movement that arose in the 1970s or 1980s called post-modernism. The growing success of the Écrits, which was translated (in abridged form) into German and English, led to invitations to lecture in Italy, Japan and the United States. Lacan’s 1975 lectures at Yale, Columbia and MIT brought him into contact with Quine and Chomsky.Lacan, J., "Conférences et entretiens dans les universités nord-américans". Scilicet, 6/7 (1976)

Last years

Lacan’s failing health made it difficult for him to meet the demands of the year-long Seminars he had been delivering since the fifties, but his teaching continued into the first year of the eighties. After dissolving his School, the EFP, in January 1980,Lacan, J., "Letter of Dissolution". Television/ A Challenge to the Psychoanalytic Establishment, 129-131. Lacan travelled to Caracas to found the Freudian Field Institute on 12 July.Lacan, J., "Overture to the 1st International Encounter of the Freudian Field" Hurly-Burly 6 17-20.

The Overture to the Caracas Encounter was to be Lacan’s final public address. His last texts from the spring of 1981 are brief institutional documents pertaining to the newly formed Freudian Field Institute.

Lacan died on 9 September 1981.