Lacan, Jacques-Marie-Emile

Lacan, Jacques-Marie-Emile
   The founder of an independent school of thought within psychoanalysis, Lacan was born in Paris into an upper-middle-class family. As an intern at the psychiatric hospitals of the Seine department (Paris), in 1928 he spent a year with Gaétan Gatian de Clérambault (1872–1934) at the Infirmérie spéciale (the Paris psychiatry emergency department) (see French Chronic Delusional States [1920]), and later referred to Clérambault as "my only teacher." In 1932, after defending an M.D. thesis on paranoid psychosis, he became chef de clinique (assistant physician) of Henri Claude at the Ste.-Anne mental hospital, in the meanwhile moving within surrealist intellectual circles. He was, according to P. Godefroy’s biographical account, much influenced by Alexandre Koyré’s philosophy seminar at the School for Higher Studies (École pratique des hautes études) on Hegel, and he set out to equip Freudian thought with "a philosophical set of armor." In 1932, Lacan began a didactic (learning) analysis with the well-known Parisian psychoanalyst Rudolph Loewenstein (1898–1976) and thereafter moved exclusively within the world of psychoanalysis rather than the world of clinical psychiatry. In 1936, he gave a paper at the congress of the International Psychoanalytic Association at Marienbad on what Lacan called the "mirror phase" of infant development, initiating a long period of writing and lecturing. In 1953, Lacan, together with a band of dissidents, left the Société psychanalytique de Paris to found the Société Française de Psychanalyse (SFP). Because his controversial technique of ending analytic sessions abruptly and treating the patients unconventionally continued to cause waves (Lacan might, for example, look after his correspondence during an analytic session and then ask the patient to drop the letters in the mail), in 1963 he left the SFP to found his own society, the École Freudienne de Paris, which dissolved a year before his death. Also in 1963, he shifted his well-attended lectures from the psychiatric clinic of the Ste.-Anne mental hospital (where Jean Delay, in a fit of pique at Lacan’s celebrity, had denied him the use of a meeting room), to the École Normale Supérieure, and thence to the Law Faculty at the Panthéon. It was an ascent to world fame as well. "One fact remains undeniable," said Paris psychiatrist Jean Thuillier (1921–) in 1996. "It is the progression of a brilliant mind going from a clear conception of psychiatry in the years before the war up to what certain people have called a ‘jargonaphasia’ in the last years of his life" (Thuillier, La Folie, pp. 601–602).

Edward Shorter. 2014.

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  • Lacan, Jacques (-Marie-Émile) — born April 13, 1901, Paris, France died Sept. 9, 1981, Paris French psychoanalyst. A practicing psychiatrist in Paris for much of his career, Lacan emphasized the primacy of language as the mirror of the unconscious mind and introduced the study… …   Universalium

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  • Lacan, Jacques — ▪ French psychologist in full  Jacques Marie Émile Lacan  born April 13, 1901, Paris, France died Sept. 9, 1981, Paris       French psychoanalyst who gained an international reputation as an original interpreter of Sigmund Freud s (Freud,… …   Universalium

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