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Lacan, J. (1979). The Neurotic's Individual Myth. Psychoanal Q., 48:405-425.

(1979). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 48:405-425

The Neurotic's Individual Myth

Jacques Lacan


"The Neurotic's Individual Myth" was given as a lecture at the Philosophical College of Paris, organized by Jean Wahl, late Professor at the Sorbonne. The text was distributed in 1953 without the approval of Dr. Lacan and without his corrections.

The desire of The Psychoanalytic Quarterly to publish a translation of this lecture led me to make the necessary corrections. The present version, which has been reviewed by the author, will take the place, then, of the revision which he announced in 1966 in his Écrits (French edition, p. 72, n. 1) and which was never carried out.

I ought to emphasize to the American reader that this presentation, which is more than twenty-five years old, should be regarded as the rudiments of later developments in the thought of Dr. Lacan: these are the first trials of a concept of structure in keeping with analytic discourse.


I am going to discuss a subject which I must characterize as new and which, as such, is difficult.

The difficulty of this lecture is not especially intrinsic to it. It comes from the fact that it deals with something new which I became aware of both through my analytic experience and through my effort, in the course of teaching what is styled a seminar, to investigate the fundamental reality of analysis. To abstract this new element from that teaching and from that experience so that you can appreciate its implications involves quite special difficulties in a lecture.

That is why I ask your indulgence in advance if perhaps there seems to be some difficulty in your grasping, at least on first contact, the matter under discussion.

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