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Sharon-Zisser, S. (2005). Jean-Michel Rabatè, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Lacan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. xxviii + 287 pp. $23.99 (pb).. Am. Imago, 62(3):381-387.

(2005). American Imago, 62(3):381-387

Jean-Michel Rabatè, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Lacan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. xxviii + 287 pp. $23.99 (pb).

Review by:
Shirley Sharon-Zisser

Things, whether sweat or sap flows in you, Forms, whether begotten from forge or flood, Your stream is not denser than my dream

…But, as soon as all words have died in my throat

…Forms, whether sweat or sap flows in you, It is the fire that makes me your eternal lover.

—Jacques Lacan, “Hiatus Intellectualis”

Jacques Lacan was an “eternal lover” of form, intrigued by the limits of signification, where words die and are rebegotten as things.1 The psychoanalytic teaching he bequeathed has recently inspired Jacques-Alain Miller (2002-2003) to state that the future of psychoanalysis lies in an “effort for poetry.” But Lacan's poetic language is one of the factors that has made him seem alien and alienating in the English-speaking world. This is all the more true because of the way he weds poetry to mathematics. In light of such resistance, the “effort for poetry” for which Miller calls is perhaps best preceded by an effort at being clear and systematic.

The Cambridge Companion to Lacan performs just such a propaedeutic labor for the English-speaking reader. The book compiles enriching essays by both practicing psychoanalysts and academics. Some focus on the clarification of Lacanian concepts (desire and jouissance, perversion, the symptom), while others explore the interfaces between Lacan's thought and allied fields that have either influenced (Marxism, philosophy) or have been influenced (feminism, queer theory, media studies) by his work.

The most fascinating essays in the volume combine an exposition of Lacanian concepts with an elaboration of their consequences for other disciplines.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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