Lacan on Reading & Psychoanalysis
What does Lacan say about the act of reading as a metaphor for psychoanalytic practice? Shoshana Felman offers the following:
Lacan's particular perspective on the matter? "It is obvious," says Lacan, "that in analytic discourse, what is at stake is nothing other than what can be read; what can be read beyond what the subject has been incited to say" (S xx.29). "What is at stake in analytic discourse is always this to what is uttered as a signifier [by the patient], you [analysts] give another reading than what it means" (S xx.37). In these two quotations that describe the practice of psychoanalysis, "reading" refers to the analyst's activity of interpreting, and the emphasis is on the displacement operated by the interpreting: the analyst is called upon to interpret the excess in the patient's discourse what the patient says beyond what he has been incited to say, beyond the current motivation of the situation; and the analytic meaning is then a displacement of the meaning of the patient's discourse, since it consists in giving what has been pronounced another reading. The analytic reading is thus essentially the reading of a difference that inhabits language, a kind of mapping in the subject's discourse of its points of disagreement with, or difference from, itself.
Shoshana Fellman, Jacques Lacan and the Adventure of Insight: Psychoanalysis in Contemporary Culture_, (Cambridge Massachusetts: Harvard University Press), 21.