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Tip: To review the bibliography…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

It is always useful to review an article’s bibliography and references to get a deeper understanding of the psychoanalytic concepts and theoretical framework in it.

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Kirshner, L.A. (1998). An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis. By Dylan Evans. New York: Routledge, 1996, $65.00 hardcover, $20.99 softcover. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(2):600-601.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(2):600-601

An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis. By Dylan Evans. New York: Routledge, 1996, $65.00 hardcover, $20.99 softcover

Review by:
Lewis A. Kirshner

Dylan Evans, a London-based Lacanian practitioner, has written the first dictionary of Lacanian terminology as a supplement to the few available glossaries, which usually have succeeded mainly in frustrating new readers of the French psychoanalyst. Evans compiles his own selection of terms and presents his own readings of them, offering the reader an admittedly partial list that covers “a broad outline” of over two hundred key concepts. He has chosen to emphasize some of the basic, better-known vocabulary, as well as a smattering of more esoteric terms, which he attempts to situate within the historical context of Lacan's thought through a helpful but incomplete bibliography. Obviously a very challenging scholarly task, the creation of this dictionary is another attempt at interpreting Lacan for noninitiates.

Evans's must confront the major obstacle of the changing meanings of Lacan's concepts as they evolved, as well as his intentional avoidance of precise definitions. A dictionary of Lacanese must therefore double to some degree as an interpretation of concepts, and here I would say the work is uneven, at times disappointing, though I understand the author's desire to limit the scope of his enterprise. I can imagine using the volume in tandem with an introductory text about Lacan, such as Malcolm Bowie's (1991) or Shoshana Felman's (1987), or even with a more scholarly effort, say, Muller and Richardson's guide to Ecrits (1982). This dictionary is easy to use and read and should be helpful to readers new to these unfamiliar regions.

References

Bowie, M. (1991). Lacan. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Felman, S. (1987). Jacques Lacan and the Adventure of Insight. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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