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Lacan: A Beginner's Guide

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  148 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Jacques Lacan was one of the most important psychoanalysts ever to have lived. Building upon the work of Sigmund Freud, he sought to refine Freudian insights with the use of linguistics, arguing that “the structure of unconscious is like a language”. Controversial throughout his lifetime both for adopting mathematical concepts in his psychoanalytic framework and for advoca ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Oneworld Publications
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Jan 19, 2013 AC rated it it was amazing
Shelves: postmodernism, lacan
This book is fabulous -- For anyone (i.e., most of us) who doesn't know or understand a damn thing about Lacan, and feel guilty about it, this Lacan-for-dummies is written by no dummy. Bailly lays out the theoretical foundations with great clarity (though even here, the material on desire and on 'l'objet petit a' does get rather gritty).

Moreover, Baily stresses, quite rightly (it seem), that in spite of its theoretical interest, Lacan is really about the psychoanalytic practice (and not about t
Feb 01, 2013 Geoff rated it really liked it
I'm fairly certain I didn't experience the "Mirror Stage" until I was a full 12 years old. According to this book, that is not a good thing.
Sep 09, 2014 Benjamin rated it it was amazing
The biggest excuse for dismissing Lacan's work has always been that it is obfuscating, opaque, obscurantist nonsense that can't be properly critiqued because there's nothing there to engage with. The only engagement I've had with Lacan has been via Zizek, Laclau, Butler and Badiou- all of whom did a good job of convincing me that there may be nothing to his work, but maybe they created something interesting out of the mess, like a great remix of a bad song. However, this book convinced me that L ...more
Feb 26, 2017 Richard rated it it was amazing
“You have turned your back on common men—on their elementary needs and their restricted time and intelligence, and you have elaborated. What is the result? Vast riddles.”

-H.G. Wells, to James Joyce (on Finnegan’s Wake)
A schism of disappointment. On one side, those who deride Lacan and his thought as poisonous sophistry. On the other, those convinced these others cement themselves in regressive dogma. “Who is right?” is, at this point in history, too elementary a question to be posed, its range o
Feb 05, 2016 Shaun rated it it was amazing
I was exposed to the very basic tenets of Lacanian philosophy in grad school, and when I tried to learn more, I found myself faced with the daunting task of unraveling the various threads Lacan weaves together, and it left me very confused. I tried an Introducing Lacan graphic novel, but that really didn't help matters, so I wrote off Lacan as a thinker who I would never get to know.

Until this book. It is an excellent, clearly-written primer on Lacan's ideas, and while my brain is still reeling
Mar 16, 2017 CM rated it liked it
While this is the most accessible work to Lacanian psychoanalysis, it's still the most challenging introductory text I've ever read on a topic (and I have already read a few other primers on Lacan's idea.) At any rate, I appreciate the historical context and the effort to illuminate the dense writing of Lacan. It's a comprehensive survey (on the history, model and application) that I am yet to find in any other work. Still, this volume may benefit with a brief chapter on the limitation and stren ...more
Jonathan Widell
Jun 07, 2014 Jonathan Widell rated it it was amazing
No matter how long you have been studying Lacan, you say to yourself many times while reading Bailly's book: "Oh now I get it!" Hence, the rating 10/5. Unfortunately you are only allowed 5/5.

Bailly starts with a brief history. He moves to the Imaginary, Symbolic and the Real and the Borromean knot pretty fast, although the Borromean knot was a late development in Lacan's topology. Bailly builds his presentation on a very helpful explanation of the relationship between the Phallus and the Name-o
Tom Syverson
Aug 12, 2014 Tom Syverson rated it it was amazing
This is the perfect book for anyone completely new to Lacan. Bailly assumes the reader knows practically nothing about Freud, the history/context of French psychoanalysis, philosophiy, structural linguistics, etc. and yet still manages to discuss the broad arc of Lacan's career in a concise way. He hits all the major topics with remarkable clarity.

Great as this book is, the beginning reader should know that this is of course only an introduction. Virtually every topic is boiled down and explain
Jul 12, 2012 Greg rated it it was ok
The older I get the more important I believe it is to have a functioning understanding of psychology to cross-fertilize with other interest. Lacan took Freud's ideas to the next level but oddly his popularity is among students in the philosophy and linguistic departments and not in psychiatric studies. My interest in having a deeper understand of Slavoj Zizek's ideas led me to Lacan, Hegel and Marx and this is what the joy of reading is all about. PS. I have about ten of these Oneworld beginner' ...more
Jerrett Lyday
Jul 23, 2013 Jerrett Lyday rated it really liked it
Lacan's concepts are not easy to grasp. This os a great beginner's guide, but probably should be read along with or after a few other books/articles on Lacan. This is not a book you want to blaze through. It is best read slowly, turning back to reread things that were unclear or not initially comprehended.

Overall, an outstanding introduction on the condition that it is very hard to really "introduce" Lacan.
Sohel Rana
Apr 24, 2015 Sohel Rana rated it it was amazing
simply its a febulous book
Dec 18, 2014 J rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lacan
Fantastic primer on Lacan.
Michael Mena
Jan 02, 2014 Michael Mena rated it it was amazing
Completely inspired to look further into Lacan.
Joli Hamilton
Jun 18, 2016 Joli Hamilton rated it liked it
Not my first choice for enjoyable reading, but definitely a more accessible guide to wade through Lacanian psychoanalysis.
Dec 25, 2013 Maggie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Best by far of the very few books that summarize Lacan's theories in civilian language.
Paul Johnston
Jul 18, 2012 Paul Johnston rated it really liked it
Shelves: psycho-analysis
Excellent introduction to Lacan. Very readable style and some helpful clinical examples to illustrate some of the concepts and the approaches.
SolitarySocialist rated it it was amazing
Sep 21, 2012
Tom Hanley
Tom Hanley rated it really liked it
Aug 23, 2012
JP Beaty
JP Beaty rated it really liked it
Mar 23, 2016
Jesse Wattenbarger
Jesse Wattenbarger rated it it was amazing
Jun 17, 2012
J.F. Lawrence
J.F. Lawrence rated it it was amazing
Aug 01, 2015
Kate Swann
Kate Swann rated it liked it
Jan 28, 2016
Matt rated it really liked it
Oct 04, 2014
Jordan Shapiro
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May 04, 2017
Vinch rated it really liked it
Sep 23, 2012
Cole Stevens
Cole Stevens rated it it was amazing
Nov 10, 2015
Mark Derderian
Mark Derderian rated it really liked it
Jul 28, 2010
Aleksandr Burnazyan
Aleksandr Burnazyan rated it it was amazing
Feb 12, 2013
Martin Konte
Martin Konte rated it liked it
Dec 07, 2016
Sheikh Tajamul
Sheikh Tajamul rated it really liked it
Jun 22, 2016
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