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Muller, J.P. (1990). The Seminar of Jacques Lacan. Book I. Freud's Papers on Technique 1953–1954. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 71:720-723.

(1990). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 71:720-723

The Seminar of Jacques Lacan. Book I. Freud's Papers on Technique 1953–1954

Review by:
J. P. Muller

Edited by Jacques-Alain Miller, translated by John Forrester. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan. II. The Ego in Freud's Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis 1954–1955. Edited by Jacques-Alain Miller, translated by Sylvana Tomaselli. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1988. Pp. 314 and 343.

These two volumes provide the best introduction to Lacan, by Lacan or by anybody else. They are accessible to the reader, laced with examples of Lacan's teaching style, and are clinically interesting. We see Lacan responding to his listeners who openly question and disagree with his formulations. Contrary to stereotypes portraying Lacan as abstract and anti-empirical, we see how much he focused on the troubling clinical issues of termination, the goal of analysis, the function of the training analysis, and with what zest he brought into his seminars a range of empirical findings about computers, the origin of language and culture, child development, biology, history, etc.

In these volumes Lacan makes clear his own debt to Freud as well as his disagreements with analysts such as Strachey, Fairbairn, Balint, Erikson, Hartmann, Kris, and many others. He is especially critical of ego psychology, for failing to take seriously Freud's emphasis on the irreducible split within the human being, and he criticizes object-relations theory for its assumption of a natural fit between needs and human objects, thereby overlooking Freud's emphasis on the peculiarly human manner of being symbolically determined in our relationships.

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