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Peraldi, F. (1991). The “Great Man” from Vienna to Paris in the Thirties. Am. Imago, 48(2):233-245.

(1991). American Imago, 48(2):233-245

The “Great Man” from Vienna to Paris in the Thirties

François Peraldi

Translated by:
Donald Nicholson-Smith

“Soon, you will be alone, and I will be a shadow that nobody remembers.”

— F. Ayala

First of all, I should point out that the following considerations are part of a much broader endeavor whose aim is to grasp Lacan's thought in its overall development and so identify its axiomatic bases. For the moment, however, I shall be limiting myself to the early portion of that thought (from 1930 to 1950); nor will my remarks stray beyond the boundaries either of Lacan's relationship to Freud, or of German culture, in which Lacan was so profoundly steeped. What I have to say about the political thinking that seems to underlie Lacan's contributions of the 1930s must not be taken as having any particular implications either for the later development of Lacan's thinking or, for that matter, for my own political opinions. It seems to me, moreover, that one cannot tackle the exceedingly complex issue of the foundations and genesis of fascism in its various forms, and especially of national socialism, unless one has either been one of fascism's victims or else has in some sense or another felt its pull—unless, in other words, one has identified with fascism, even if only in a negative way, even if only by having plunged oneself for a time in the strange European world of the 1930s. Thus in what follows my concern will be with the identificatory processes which seem to have underlain the social realignments of that decade.


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