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Leavy, S.A. (1984). Lacan and Language. A Reader's Guide to Écrits: By John P. Muller and William J. Richardson. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1982. 443 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 53:582-585.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:582-585

Lacan and Language. A Reader's Guide to Écrits: By John P. Muller and William J. Richardson. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1982. 443 pp.

Review by:
Stanley A. Leavy

Whoever has tried to teach the writings of Jacques Lacan to psychoanalytic candidates and to psychiatrists has undertaken a tough task. Lacan's ideas run across the grain of traditional theory, and they have been expressed very obscurely, so that everyone has trouble finding a point of entry into them. The translations by Anthony Wilden and Alan Sheridan have helped us to understand Lacan, but Sheridan has provided a very meager glossary and few explanatory notes, and Wilden has appended his extensive notes to only one of Lacan's essays (a most important one, to be sure). Wilden's notes also come from a philosophical rather than a clinical background. It is therefore a matter of moment that Muller and Richardson, clinical psychologists trained at the William Alanson White Institute and engaged in clinical work at the Austen Riggs Center, have made the awesome effort of preparing an exegetical study of the nine Écrits of Lacan so far translated by Sheridan.

This sort of scrutiny is probably unprecedented in psychoanalytic writing. It bears a marked resemblance in form to the kind of exegetical analysis that Biblical commentaries provide.

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