front cover of Egocracy
Marx, Freud and Lacan
Sonia Arribas and Howard Rouse
Diaphanes, 2011
This book tries to bring together the work of Marx, Freud and Lacan. It does this not by enumerating what might stereotypically be considered to be the central theses of these authors and then proceeding to combine them – a method that is inevitably doomed to failure – but instead by confronting each one of their oeuvres with what might best be described as its extimate core. The work of Marx is confronted with a problematic that implicitly, and at times even explicitly, runs throughout it: that of the splitting, dividing and doubling (or, perhaps better, knotting) of the (proletarian) subject. The work of Freud is confronted – following on from this analysis of Marx – with the hidden social and historical determination of its own most revolutionary insight, that »the nucleus of the ego is unconscious«; and this social and historical determination itself in turn allows for a reinscription of the three fundamental categories of Lacanian psychoanalysis: the symbolic, the imaginary and the real.

logo for Harvard University Press
Malcolm Bowie
Harvard University Press

The French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan (1901–1981) is a uniquely complex writer and the originator of an especially unsettling view of the human subject. But the singularity of Lacan’s achievement has been understated by many of his critics. Often he is seen merely as a figure famous for being famous—an essential reference point in structuralist and poststructuralist debate—rather than as a theorist whose writings demand and reward detailed scrutiny.

Malcolm Bowie traces the development of Lacan’s ideas over the fifty-year span of his writing and teaching career. The primary focus is on the fascinating mutations in Lacan’s interpretation of Freud. Bowie reinserts the celebrated slogans—“The unconscious is the discourse of the Other,” “The unconscious is structured like a language,” and so forth—into the history of Lacan’s thinking, and pinpoints the paradoxes and anomalies that mark his account of human sexuality. This book provides a firm basis for the critical evaluation of Lacan’s ideas and the rhetoric in which they are embedded; it is based on a close reading of Lacan’s original texts but presupposes no knowledge of French in the reader.

Although Bowie is sharply critical of Lacan on several major analytic questions, he argues that Lacan is the only psychoanalyst after Freud whose intellectual achievement is seriously comparable to Freud’s own. Lacan provides the ideal starting point for any exploration of the work of this formidable thinker.


front cover of Lacan in Public
Lacan in Public
Psychoanalysis and the Science of Rhetoric
Christian Lundberg
University of Alabama Press, 2012

Lacan in Public argues that Lacan’s contributions to the theory of rhetoric are substantial and revolutionary and that rhetoric is, in fact, the central concern of Lacan’s entire body of work.

Scholars typically cite Jacques Lacan as a thinker primarily concerned with issues of desire, affect, politics, and pleasure. And though Lacan explicitly contends with some of the pivotal thinkers in the field of rhetoric, rhetoricians have been hesitant to embrace the French thinker both because his writing is difficult and because Lacan’s conception of rhetoric runs counter to the American traditions of rhetoric in composition and communication studies.

Lacan’s conception of rhetoric, Christian Lundberg argues in Lacan in Public, upsets and extends the received wisdom of American rhetorical studies—that rhetoric is a science, rather than an art; that rhetoric is predicated not on the reciprocal exchange of meanings, but rather on the impossibility of such an exchange; and that rhetoric never achieves a correspondence with the real-world circumstances it attempts to describe.

As Lundberg shows, Lacan’s work speaks directly to conversations at the center of current rhetorical scholarship, including debates regarding the nature of the public and public discourses, the materiality of rhetoric and agency, and the contours of a theory of persuasion.

front cover of Lacan To The Letter
Lacan To The Letter
Reading Ecrits Closely
Bruce Fink
University of Minnesota Press, 2004

front cover of Looking Glasses and Neverlands
Looking Glasses and Neverlands
Lacan, Desire, and Subjectivity in Children's Literatue
Karen Coats
University of Iowa Press, 2004
A “Choice” Outstanding Academic Title
This groundbreaking study introduces and explores Lacan’s complex theories of subjectivity and desire through close readings of canonical children’s books such as Charlotte’s Web, Stellaluna, Holes, Tangerine, and The Chocolate War, providing an introduction to an increasingly influential body of difficult work while making the claim that children’s textual encounters are as significant as their existential ones in constituting their subjectivities and giving shape to their desires.

front cover of Postmodern Spiritual Practices
Postmodern Spiritual Practices
The Construction of the Subject and the Reception of Plato in Lacan, Derrida, and Foucault
Paul Allen Miller
The Ohio State University Press, 2007
Postmodern Spiritual Practices: The Construction of the Subject and the Reception of Plato in Lacan, Derrida, and Foucault, by Paul Allen Miller, argues that a key element of postmodern French intellectual life has been the reception of Plato. This fact has gone underappreciated in the Anglophone world due to a fundamental division in culture. Until very recently, the concerns of academic philosophy and philology have had little in common. On the one hand, this is due to analytic philosophy’s self-confinement to questions of epistemology, speech act theory, and philosophy of science. As such, it has had little to say about the relation between antique and contemporary modes of thought.
On the other hand, blindness to the merits of postmodern thought is also due to Anglo-American philology’s own parochial instincts. Ensconced within a nineteenth-century model of Alterumswissenschaft, only a minority of classicists have made forays into philosophical, psychoanalytic, and other speculative modes of inquiry. The result has been that postmodern French thought has largely been the province of scholars of modern languages. 
A situation thus emerges in which most classicists do not know theory, and so cannot appreciate the scope of these thinkers’ contribution to our understanding of the genealogy of Western thought, while most theorists do not know the Platonic texts and their contexts that ground them. This book bridges this gap, offering detailed and theoretically informed readings of French postmodernism’s chief thinkers’ debts to Plato and the ancient world. 

front cover of Subject Lessons
Subject Lessons
Hegel, Lacan, and the Future of Materialism
Edited by Russell Sbriglia and Slavoj Zizek
Northwestern University Press, 2020

Responding to the ongoing “objectal turn” in contemporary humanities and social sciences, the essays in Subject Lessons present a sustained case for the continued importance— indeed, the indispensability—of the category of the subject for the future of materialist thought.

Approaching matters through the frame of Hegel and Lacan, the contributors to this volume, including the editors, as well as Andrew Cole, Mladen Dolar, Nathan Gorelick, Adrian Johnston, Todd McGowan, Borna Radnik, Molly Anne Rothenberg, Kathryn Van Wert, and Alenka Zupančič—many of whom stand at the forefront of contemporary Hegel and Lacan scholarship—agree with neovitalist thinkers that material reality is ontologically incomplete, in a state of perpetual becoming, yet they maintain that this is the case not in spite of but, rather, because of the subject.

Incorporating elements of philosophy, psychoanalysis, and literary and cultural studies, Subject Lessons contests the movement to dismiss the subject, arguing that there can be no truly robust materialism without accounting for the little piece of the Real that is the subject.


Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter