Lacan's Seminar XI | A Reading

Some preliminary remarks by me, the reader.

This post is part of a series of posts about a reading of Lacan's Seminar XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, which was given in 1964.


Before getting going, I want to state a few things as clearly as possible.

  1. I'm offering a reading, my reading, not the reading of Seminar XI.
  2. Lacan's seminar was originally spoken. It was not a written text. So, even though I'm reading a written text, this writing is based on someone speaking extemporaneously. I think this makes it different than a text that someone wrote.
  3. When Lacan was teaching (i.e., speaking extemporaneously) about psychoanalysis, he would not always talk in a clear line. Instead, he would start making one point and then zig and zag. He would bring up something that occurred to him as he spoke, and he would start to explore "side streets" that branched off from the main thought he had started from.
  4. Thus, in each session of Lacan's seminar, there are usually several paths (i.e., trains of thoughts) that can be followed.
  5. What I've done in my reading is try to isolate (extract) what I believe is the main train of thought in each section. I try to highlight what I think is the main thought or point and then offer some commentary on it.
  6. This means I leave lots of interesting content un-highlighted and un-explored.
  7. What I believe is the main point of a session of Seminar XI is not what another reader (perhaps you) would see as the main point. Be that as it may, it is the choice I made. I sincerely hope that my reading (and the effort to put that reading into writing here) is of use to you.

Having said that. I'll get going.

Subscribe to [S][J][P]

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.