Talking to Brick Walls: A Series of Presentations in the Chapel at Sainte-Anne Hospital

Author(s) : Jacques Lacan, Translator : Adrian Price

Talking to Brick Walls: A Series of Presentations in the Chapel at Sainte-Anne Hospital

Book Details

  • Publisher : Polity Press
  • Published : July 2017
  • Cover : Hardback
  • Pages : 112
  • Category :
    Lacanian Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 94603
  • ISBN 13 : 9780745682426
  • ISBN 10 : 0745682421
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'I've been talking to brick walls,' says Lacan, meaning: 'Neither to you, nor to the Big Other. I'm speaking by myself. And this is precisely what interests you. It's up to you to interpret me.' These brick walls are those of the chapel at Sainte-Anne hospital. Getting back in touch with his younger years as a junior doctor, Lacan amuses himself, improvises, and lets himself go. The intention is a polemical one: the best of his pupils, captivated by the idea that analysis evacuates all prior knowledge, have been raising the banner of non-knowledge, borrowed from Bataille. No, says Lacan, psychoanalysis proceeds from a supposed knowledge, that of the unconscious. One gains access to it by the path of truth (the analysand ventures to say what comes to mind, frankly and with no frills) when it comes to an end in jouissance (the analyst interprets what the analysand says in terms of libido). However, two further paths bar access to this one: ignorance (to devote oneself to it with passion is always to consolidate established knowledge), and power (the passion for might obliterates what is revealed by parapraxes). Psychoanalysis teaches the virtues of powerlessness: this, at least, respects the real. A wise lesson for an era, this era of ours, that has seen bureaucracy, arm in arm with science, dreaming of changing humankind in its deepest reaches - through propaganda, through direct manipulation of the brain, through biotechnology, and even through social engineering. Admittedly things were no better before, but tomorrow they could be far worse. Jacques-Alain Miller

About the Author(s)

Jacques Lacan (1901-1981) came to psychoanalysis by way of medicine and psychiatry. In 1951 he turned his attention to the training of analysts, and this was one of the issues which led him and his circle to part company with the Société Psychanalytique de Paris. He became, in 1953, the first President of a new group, the Société Française de Psychanalyse, whose declared aim was a return to the true teaching of Freud. Eleven years later the Société Française was dissolved and, under Lacan's direction, gave birth to the École Freudienne de Paris. Jacques Lacan was a practising psychoanalyst and teacher up until his death in 1981.

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