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Leavy, S.A. (1990). Lacan's Words. Psychoanal Q., 59:437-443.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:437-443

Lacan's Words

Stanley A. Leavy, M.D.

The usefulness of Jacques Lacan's writings on psychoanalysis is likely to remain in dispute for some time to come. It remains a serious question whether or not they will ultimately be regarded as a temporary Parisian phenomenon, absorbing the interest and allegiance of a huge following with a limited understanding of their meaning, and then disappearing in the presence of a yet newer wave. Even if that is the outcome—which I doubt—the phenomenon itself deserves serious attention, because lacan's reinterpretation of psychoanalytic theory issues from within psychoanalysis, and probably has subtly influenced many who would deny much importance to Lacan's overall contribution. At all events, many analysts are at least curious about Lacan, but understandably find themselves daunted by his language and style, and refrain from further inquiry.

Without venturing into Lacan's stylistic complexities and perversities, I offer here a brief introduction to his words, or rather to his special uses of words, hoping that a few points may be clarified and intelligent criticism may be fostered. If we make no attempt to read him because of his esoteric vocabulary, we leave him to a self-contained in-group who prefer not to be integrated into the forever ongoing movement of Freudian analysis.

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