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Varvin, S. (1989). Fyra RöSter Om Jacques Lacan. (Four Voices on Jacques Lacan). By Iréne Matthis, Jane Gallop, Lars Gustafsson and Svein Haugsgjerd. Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 1989.. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 12(2):166-169.

(1989). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 12(2):166-169

Fyra RöSter Om Jacques Lacan. (Four Voices on Jacques Lacan). By Iréne Matthis, Jane Gallop, Lars Gustafsson and Svein Haugsgjerd. Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 1989.

Review by:
Sverre Varvin

ÉCRITS. Spegelstadiet, och andra skrifter i urval av Irene Matthis. (The Mirror Stage and Other Writings. A selection by Iréne Matthis). By Jacques Lacan. Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 1989.

“To understand something really implies to reduce this something to the same as something else. In this way, a security is re-established, towards which the disquieted man is struggling, even if it means that the closes the door to the outside. Man is seeking security in the conceivable and understandable, since it is precisely the incomprehensibleness of reality that worries him” (I. Matthis, Fyra Röster, p. 36, my translation).

People often seek this security when they approach psychoanalysis. The hope of reducing the troublesome neurotic symptoms to something known—or at least that they will take part in the vast knowledge of the psychoanalyst and with that travel further on in their own lives with some kind of map acquired through the analytic experience. It is possible that the analyst is pursuing the same goal when reading the psychoanalytical literature. At least it seems that Jacques Lacan had this in mind when he was writing. When reading these two volumes on and by Lacan, one must not only be prepared to challenge one's familiar way of understanding psychoanalytical concepts, but also to meet a style or a discourse which in itself claims to be close to what psychoanalysis is all about—namely the unconcious—and thereby to what is foreign and uncomprehensible in man. For there is no doubt that the lacanian style is integral to the meaning of the text, and that the difficulties in reading Lacan not only stem from the fact that it presupposes knowledge in the fields of philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, literature, etc.

Iréne Matthis and her co-workers have undoubtedly done a great job in presenting and translating Lacan for the Scandinavian and especially the Swedish public (there also exist translations in Danish and Norwegian). “Four voices on Jacques Lacan” is a presentation of Lacan's work from four different positions: the psychoanalyst, the philosopher, the literary scholar and the psychiatrist.

The most extensive introduction to the life and work of Lacan is given by Svein Haugsgjerd in his essay “Jacques Lacan and Psychoanalysis” (translated from Norwegian).

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