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Steiner, R. (1982). The Talking Cure. Psychoanalysis and Language. Edited by Colin MacCabe. London: Macmillan. 1981. Pp. 230.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 9:365-375.

(1982). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 9:365-375

The Talking Cure. Psychoanalysis and Language. Edited by Colin MacCabe. London: Macmillan. 1981. Pp. 230.

Review by:
Riccardo Steiner

This book is a collection of nine papers originally written for a seminar on psychoanalysis and language, held at Kings College Cambridge, during the Academic year 1976–7. The editor, now Professor Colin MacCabe, and other participants at the seminar, work mainly in academic institutions, teaching English, film theory and philosophy. Only one is a trained linguist, and Safouan is a representative of the former Ecole freudienne de Paris, founded and then later dissolved by the late Jacques Lacan.

MacCabe stresses in his preface that this collection of papers has its origin and motivation in the renewed interest in psychoanalysis, which, in universities, has found 'a new vigour and edge since the dissemination of Lacan's texts outside the institutions of psychoanalysis'. According to MacCabe, 'Lacan's work marks a crucial moment in the history of psychoanalysis, a moment which will perhaps prove as significant as Freud's original discovery of the unconscious' (p. xi).

The two papers by Thom are dedicated to the study of 'The unconscious structured as a language' and to the concepts of 'Verneinung, Verwerfung, Ausstossung: A problem in the interpretation of Freud'. Forrester studies the importance of Lacan's concept of the phallus, in a paper entitled 'Philology and the phallus'. Henry, in his paper, 'On language and the body', tries to discuss what he believes to be the failures of Chomsky's theories on language with particular reference to the relation between language and body in comparison with Lacan's views on the same subject.

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