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4.02  ·  Rating details ·  3,076 ratings  ·  84 reviews
“Fink’s precise new translation makes this pivotal period in Lacan’s thought more accessible to English speakers.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Brilliant and innovative, Jacques Lacan's work lies at the epicenter of modern thought about otherness, subjectivity, sexual difference, the drives, the law, and enjoyment. This new translation of his complete works offers wel
Paperback, 896 pages
Published January 8th 2007 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1966)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,076 ratings  ·  84 reviews

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Jan 30, 2013 marked it as to-read
I marked this "to-read" but that might not be an honest assessment of my intentions. So I'm creating a new shelf. "To-poke-at-with-a-stick". ...more
Apr 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Don't let anyone tell you they know what the f-ck is going on in this book. Its the craziest thing of all time. And to think, he was doing therapy analyzing people's sanity when in fact, one glance at this text will reveal Lacan himself is batshit crazy, I mean like hanging from the chandelier without any pants on, out of his gourd crazy. Zizek loves this guy way too much - and I highly doubt Lacan ever slept. He apparently has read every single book in existence because he footnotes everything. ...more
Sep 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: the adventurous or masochistic
Lacan isn't an easy read. If you're interested in learning about Lacan's ideas, it's probably a much better idea to start with something like Zizek's How to Read Lacan, which will give you the concepts without Lacan's sadistic writing style.

But, I find something compelling with Lacan's writing, infuriating as it is. Lacan spent a lot of time writing about the disparity between what we perceive as reality or knowledge and what is "actually" there (or, perhaps more accurately, the way language lim
Will Miller
Dec 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Some dumb book by a French guy.
Jorge Rodighiero
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
To summarize the discussion that Lacan sustains in these book, I would like to share this quote of his ‘Écrits’:

"Is the place that I occupy as the subject of the signifier concentric or eccentric in relation to the place I occupy as subject of the signified?” The point is not to know whether I speak of myself in a way that conforms to what I am but rather to know whether when I speak of myself, I am the same as the self of whom I speak.
For the Lacan students who desire the B-sides; most people will be fine without all of Lacan's papers. The only essential texts missing from the edition of the Écrits with only selections are, by my estimation, the essay on Poe and the essay on Kant and Sade.

Lacan is probably the only thinker I hold in high esteem whose writing style I very nearly despise. His style, he hoped, would train analysts in interpretation. As a reading experience, it means that Lacan meanders constantly; he often gets
vi macdonald
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it

I've spent the past week with I Feel You by Chaka Khan stuck in my head except every time the dude in the intro says "Chaka Khan" it's replaced with "Jaques Lacan" and it won't leave me alone. This is a pain I didn't expect to have to live with.
Curtis Bozif
Oct 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Matt Siemer
It's strange, but for me very true, that the best poetry I've ever read postures itself not as poetry but as psychoanalysis, positioned in a kind of wierd overlapped space shared by literature, science, art, history, philosophy, and pyschoanalysis - one of the first truely interdisciplinary schools of thought. ...more
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: durcharbeiten
You, Goodreader, should know I’m not a scholar; my stature does not depend on publishing a defense or rebuttal of so-and-so’s perishable rendition of this-or-that. I have no academic training, no degrees, no guidance and no constraints. I just read. Pretty soon I hope I’ll be good at it.

Forget How-To—Why read Lacan? Because you are interested, in fact it’s in your best interest. If you read with disinterest there will be no Thing to attract meaning, and knowledge will foreclose truth, vainglori
Egor Sofronov
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fundamental. Magisterial. Dark, gothic, highly polemical, and piercingly sardonic. Lacan is a polished stylist, his language is of the highest standard. I recommend this book to everyone - read it closely, slowly, with a pencil in hand. But first read Freud, otherwise it might be difficult
Apr 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Oh, Lacan. How do I love and hate thee? Let me count the ways.

This is one of the hardest, most elusive, and most interdisciplinary texts I have ever laid eyes upon. Perhaps it was sheer masochism that made me read the whole thing, perhaps it was the paper I had to write on the mirror stage, the symbolic, the Real - I'm not sure. It was infuriating, thought-provoking, incredibly poetic, and beautiful in equal measure.

What is I, you, me, identity, persona? "Cogito, ergo sum" - do you think of you
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Some of these reviews crack me up. This is not a book that one reads once if they are going to understand Lacanian Psychoanalytic theory. It is much better to start out with other authors such as Bruce Fink. There is quite a list of them and many are very good. Another option is to begin with the seminars. One has to realize when reading Lacan that he did not direct his writing towards the general public but toward a very specific audience, a discourse directed toward psychoanalysis.

Lacan's writ
Ben Kearvell
Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who would extol the beauty of an alfoil helmet
Consciousness delineates unconsciousness. Understanding delineates misunderstanding. One must find oneself in Lacan's discourse, according to what one does and does not understand. I'm not sure how else to describe this book, or how it should be approached - at least in layman's terms. It's dense, it's difficult, and I wonder how much of it can be taken literally. To take Lacan 'literally' one must take the literal for granted - which is, I think, to miss the point entirely. The literal qua real ...more
Feb 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Umm...okay so I didn't technically "finish" this book because no non-Lacanian psychotherapist really has ever finished this book, at least to my knowledge. It's nonetheless worth reading the few chapters I did to remember how dumb you are, or how smart you are, depending upon the outcome. And if you like someone who uses mathematical equations to explain meta-psychology, this is your book buddy! ...more
Michael Palkowski
Oct 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
Use this book as a door stop or as an intellectual book shelf bastion that will immediately impress anyone uncritical enough to be friends with lacanian psychoanalysis
Dustyn Hessie
Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Had to take a semester off of college, decided to read some of the most difficult books possible - Thanks Lacan!
Morgan Schulman
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
It makes complete sense when you are high.
The pay-off isn't worth the effort unless you have that much spare time.
Jan 28, 2021 rated it did not like it
I know from reading Bruce Fink (and har har Paul Ricœur's book on Freud) that Lacan's philosophy has a ton of potential (not to mention his actual influence on a couple writers I adore: Deleuze and Laruelle). However, Lacan himself is a horrible writer. Reading him is a very unenjoyable experience.
He very often feels the need to unexpectedly jump from one topic to another with little logical connecting tissue. He comes off as completely petty and overly self-important in the takedowns of his col
Audrey Koszul
Apr 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"I, truth, speak."

Lacan centered his career around his opposition to the degeneration of Freud's psychoanalysis into so many pitfalls that must be circumnavigated if the merits of Freud's work are to be received and revived. Most of those deviations stemmed from failures to recognize the essential role speech plays in healing, insight, initiation, truth, and being. Deviations to information theory, to Scholastic psychology, to behaviorism, to mysticism,—each path forsakes the responsibility that
Ignore the star rating for this one. I had no clue how to rate it, so I shoved it somewhere in the middle.

Not going to lie, this one hurt to read. I'm no psych major, nor am I enamored with the subject as a layperson, so... I'm not sure why I really bothered. Let's call it masochistic curiosity.

It's dense, in places not readily comprehensible, and even with a reading guide (which I had and HIGHLY suggest you have if you want to take this on), I still struggled through it. In fact, the last two
Adam Lindberg
Dec 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in literary theory and/or psychoanalysis
A very good translation that presents, as much as is possible, Lacan's language play. If read solely to extract information, the book can provide some resistance and can become frustrating. I would recommend reading with (as much as is possible) an eye and ear towards appreciating the artistry in which Lacan couches his concepts. In my experience this approach makes the material both more accessible and infinitely more fun. ...more
Mar 05, 2012 rated it liked it
A poetic work that marries the diverse, complex fields of Freudian psychoanalysis and linguistics. Conceptually rich and certainly of worth to developing one's critical theories. The poetic language ensures a degree of inscrutability, but I suppose complexity of thought will inevitably reflect in style. ...more
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
I listened to a podcast where they described Lacan's writing style well. It's as though you are trying to play a game of tic-tac-toe by describing your moves to someone who has never played the game and saying "x to right corner." I'm that person who has never played tic-tac-toe and also thinks tic-tac-toe is mostly bullshit. ...more
Aug 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Mind-blowing. If you take the time to actually wrap your mind around these concepts they can do some powerful things for how you view yourself, others, and the world.
Jacob Russell
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I love the density his prose, how he circles round his subject nibbling away at the edges to get to the center... a kind of poetry.
Jun 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
unconscious structured like a language, or something. mirror stage. bleh.
David Blanar
Oct 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Opaque and lucid in equal parts, this is a challenging but rewarding read. Beware: not to be read idly or without guidance.
a.m. kozak
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Bases his ideas on 'facts' that are incorrect, which makes it difficult to take his conclusions seriously. ...more
David M
Mar 15, 2017 marked it as to-read
Damn it, I think I'm actually going to have to read this bastard at some point...

il n'y a pas de rapport sexuel

Hard to argue with him there.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Once upon a time, I saw this book and laughed.
Why? Why, would I even consider getting into that??
Then I opened the first page... what the hell is he saying? Am I stupid or something?
I then tried to just power through it like I've done with other books. Not possible.
I had to put it down.

Now over a year later, it makes sense. I don't know how I could be without this thing in the professional world. It's the only clarity in a confusingly unclear world. Or maybe that means I'm completely bonkers. I
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Jacques-Marie-Émile Lacan was a French psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, and doctor, who made prominent contributions to the psychoanalytic movement. His yearly seminars, conducted in Paris from 1953 until his death in 1981, were a major influence in the French intellectual milieu of the 1960s and 1970s, particularly among post-structuralist thinkers.

Lacan's ideas centered on Freudian concepts such as

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