ХРОНОЛОГИЯ ЖИЗНИ И РАБОТ ЖАКА ЛАКАНА (english)
1901 - Jacques-Marie-Emile Lacan is born in Paris, April 13, to a family of solid Catholic tradition. He is educated at the College Stanislas, a Jesuit school. He has a sister, Magdeleine-Marie and a younger brother Marc-Marie, who later becomes a Benedictine at the abbey of Hautecombe. His brother's name appears before those of his parents in his thesis dedication. After his baccalaureat he studies medicine and later psychiatry.
1927 - Starts clinical training, works at Sainte-Anne's hospital in the second section of women and in the Clinic for Mental and Encephalic Diseases directed by Professor Henri Claude. A year later he works in the Special Infirmary Service where Clerambault had a practice. Up to 1932 Lacan was involved in the Societete Neurologique, the Societe de Psychiatrie and the Societe Clinique de Medecine mentale, he was fully integrated in the official circles of neurology and psychiatry.
1931 - Lacan presents some of his hypotheses at the Evolution Psychiatrique and publishes the following year in the Revue francaise de psychanalyse his translation of Freud's "On Some Neurotic Mechanisms in Jealousy, Paranoia and Homosexuality." Receives a diploma as a forensic psychiatrist. He publishes Structure des psychoses paranoiaques, Semaine des Hopitaux de Paris, 7 July 1931.
1932 - Awarded doctorate for his thesis: De la psychose paranoique dans ses rapports avec la personalite, Paris, Le Francais, 1932. Later though (1975) he will state that paranoid psychosis and personality are the same thing. One name stands out by its absence from the list of dedication: that of Clerambault. It was because of their differences that Lacan failed his agregation. At that time Lacan declares that in his thesis he was against "mental automatism," Clerambault's theory.
1933 - Because of his thesis he becomes a specialist in paranoia. The richness of his text and the multiplicity of its aspects appealed to very different circles, especially the analysis of the case of Aimee make him famous with the Surrealists. Between this year and 1939, he takes Kojeve's course at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, an "Introduction to the reading of Hegel." He publishes Motifs du crime paranoique: le crime des soeurs Papin. Minotaure 3/4.
1934 - He is appointed doctor of the Asiles, and marries Marie-Louise Blondin, mother of Caroline, Thibaut and Sibylle. While in analysis with Rudolph Loewenstein, Lacan becomes a member of La Societe Psychoanalytique de Paris (SPP). Loewenstein is one of the four training analysts of the S.P.P. His analysis ends in 1939 with Loewenstein's departure to the war.
1938 - Becomes a full member of the SPP. Lectures at the S.P.P. on De l'impulsion au complexe where he argues for a "primordial structural stage" called "stage of the fragmented body in the development of the ego." At this stage "pure drives" (la pulsion a l'etat pur) would appear in states of "horror" inseparable from a "passive beatitude." To defend his thesis, he presents two cases of patients at length. He publishes La famille: Encyclopedie francaise, Vol. 8.
1940 - Works at Vale-de-Grace, the military hospital in Paris. During the German Occupation, he does not partake in any official activity. "For several years I have kept myself from expressing myself. The humiliation of our time under the subjugation of the enemies of human kind dissuaded me from speaking up, and following Fontenelle, I abandoned myself to the fantasy of having my hand full of truths so as to better close it on them." In "Propos sur la causalite psychique," from 1946 and published in Ecrits.
1947 - In 1946, the S.P.P. resumes its activities and Lacan, with Nacht and Lagache, takes charge of training analyses and supervisory controls and plays an important theoretical and institutional role. After visiting London in 1945 he publishes La Psychiatrique anglaise et la guerre, in Evolution psychiatrique1.
1951 - The S.P.P. begins to raise the issue of Lacan's short sessions, as opposed to the standard analytical hour. Lacan argues that his technique accelerates analysis. The underlying logic is that if the unconscious itself is timeless, it makes no sense to insist upon standard sessions. Lacan defends his use of short sessions a year later in La psychanalyse, dialectique?, unpublished.
1952 - During this period of crisis at the S.P.P. (1951-52), the responsability for the report on the 1953 conference in Rome "Fonction et champ de la parole et du langage" is assigned to Lacan. At the time he is considered to be the most productive and original theoretician of the group, all the more so because he always uses the classical terms of the Freudian othodoxy when speaking within the S.P.P.
1953 - In his project for the statutes of the S.P.P. Lacan
organizes the curriculum around four types of seminars: commentaries
of the official texts (particularly Freud's), courses on controlled
technique, clinical and phenomenological critique, and child analysis.
A large amount of freedom of choice is left to students in training.
In January Lacan is elected President of the S.P.P. Six months later
he resigns to join the Societe Francaise de Psychanalyse (S.F.P.)
with D. Lagache, F. Dolto, J. Favez-Boutonier among others. (At S.F.P.'s
first meeting, Lacan lectures on "Le Symbolique, l'Imaginaire
et le Reel"). Nevertheless the S.F.P. is allowed to be present
in Rome where Lacan delivers his report: "Fonction et champ de
la parole et du langage," discourse in which, for once, remarks
Lagache with humor, "he is in no way Mallarmean." On July
17 he marries Sylvia Makles, mother of Judith. That Fall Lacan starts
his seminars at the Hopital Sainte-Anne.
1954 - The positive reception of the expression "the
return to Freud" and of his report and discourse in Rome give
Lacan the will to reelaborate all the analytical concepts. His critique
of analytic literature and practice spares almost nobody. Lacan returns
to Freud yet his return is a re-reading in relation with contemporary
philosophy, linguistics, ethnology, biology and topology. At Sainte-Anne
he helds his seminars every Wednesday and presents cases of patients
1955 - Lacan will remain at Sainte-Anne till 1963. The first
ten Seminars elaborate fundamental notions about psychoanalytic technique,
the essential concepts of psychoanalysis, and even its ethics. Students
give presentations yet it is the Tuesday night conferences that fed
Lacan's commentaries on Wednesdays.
1956 - "The flexibility of the S.F.P. increases Lacan's
audience. Celebrities are attracted to his seminars (Hyppolite's analysis
of Freud's article on Denegation, given during the first seminar,
is a well-known example). Koyre on Plato, Levi-Strauss, Merleau-Ponty,
Griaule, the ethnologist, Benveniste among others attend his courses.
1957 - During this period Lacan writes, on the basis of his seminars, conferences and addreses in colloquia, the major texts that are found in Ecrits in 1966. He publishes in a variety of journals, notably in L'Evolution Psychiatrique, which takes no account of the S.P.P. / S.F.P. conflict and Bulletin de la Societe de Philosphie. J.B. Pontalis, Lacan's student, publishes with his consent the accounts of Seminars IV, V and VI in Bulletin de Psychanalyse. - Le seminaire, Livre IV: La relation d'objet et les structures freudiennes, Paris: Seuil, 1994.
1958 - In the S.P.P. executive board, positions and titles
are exchanged with perfect regularity until Serge Leclaire becomes
secretary and then president. Yet Lacan emerges, if not the only thinker
of the group, at least as the one who has the largest audience and
the most audacity, especially since his practice of short sessions
secures him the greatest number of analysts-in-training. A Lacan group
begins to organize itself, identifiable by its language and its modes
of intevention in discussions.
1959 - The first issue of La Psychanalyse from 1956 is entirely
devoted to Lacan: it includes the Rome report and discourse with the
discussions that followed with Lacan's response, the commentaries
from Seminar I on Hyppolite's analysis of denegation and Lacan'S translation
of Heidegger's Logos. In a following issue Hesnard will comment on
Wo es war, soll Ich werden that according to Lacan the "I"
must come to the place where the "id" was: "la ou etait
le 'ca' 'je' dois advenir." This opposes the S.P.P.'s translation:
"the ego must drive out the id."
1960 - In his Ethics Lacan defines the true ethical foundations
of psychoanalysis and constructs an ethics for our time, an ethics
that would prove to be equal to the tragedy of modern man and to the
"discontent of civilization" (Freud). At the roots of the
ethics is desire: analysis' only promise is austere, it is the entrance-into-the-I,
l'entree-en-Je. "I must come to the place where the id was,"
where the analysand discovers, in its absolute nakedness, the truth
of his desire. The end of psychoanalysis entails "the purification
of desire." This text functions throughout the years as the background
of Lacan's work.
1961 - At the colloqium on dialectic organized by Jean Wahl
at Royaumont the previous year, Lacan defends three assertions: psychoanalysis,
insofar as it elaborates its theory from its praxis, must have a scientific
status; the Freudian discoveries have radically changed the concepts
of subject, of knowledge, and of desire; the analytic field is the
only one from where it is possible to efficiently interrogate the
insufficiencies of science and philosophy. This major intervention
will appear in Ecrits as "Subversion of the Subject and Dialectic
of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious."
1962 - Meanwhile S.F.P. members want to be recognized by the
I.P.A. The Congress of Edinburgh in 1961 recommends the S.F.P. to
ban Lacan (also Dolto and Berge) from the analysts' training: the
problem of the short sessions is back for discussion. The S.F.P. chooses
for the time being not to make any decision. However, the next year
the I.P.A. votes an ultimatum: Lacan's name has to be cross off the
list of didacticians. Everything is organized to reorient his students
in training analysis towards others analysts, thanks to a committee
supervised by the I.P.A. Serge Leclaire is the president when things
come to a resolution.
1963 - Two weeks before the expiration of the deadline fixed
by the I.P.A. (October 31), the committee of didacticians of the S.F.P.
gives up its courageous position of 1962. On November 19 a general
meeting has to make a final decision on I.P.A.'s conditions regarding
Lacan. Lacan writes a letter to Leclaire announcing he will not attend
the meeting. Because he can foresee the disavowal. Thus, on Novembre
19, the members' majority takes the position in favor of the ban.
During the night Lacan learns the decision made at the meeting. He
no longer is one of the didacticians. The next day, his seminar on
"The Names-of-the-Father" is to start at Sainte-Anne: he
announces its end.
1964 - Lacanians form a Study Group on Psychoanalysis organized
by Jean Clavreul, until Lacan officially founds L'Ecole Francaise
de Psychanalyse. Soon it becomes L'Ecole Freudienne de Paris (E.F.P.).
"I hereby found the Ecole Francaise de Psychanalyse, by myself,
as alone as I have ever been in my relation to the psychoanalytic
cause." With Levi-Strauss and Althusser's support, he is appointed
lecturer at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. He begins his new
seminar on "The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis"
in January in the Dussane room at the Ecole Normale Superieure (in
his first session he thanks the generosity of Fernand Braudel and
1965 - Having founded his own ecole, Lacan's renown increases
considerably in his new settings at the rue d'Ulm. He keeps presenting
cases of patients at Sainte-Anne; members of his ecole work and teach
in Paris in hospitals such as Trousseau, Sainte-Anne and Les Enfants
Malades; and others join universities or hospitals in the provinces
(Strasbourg, Montpellier, Lille). In his seminars he explains his
project to teach "the foundations of psychoanalysis" as
well as his position within the psychoanalytic institution. His audience
is made of analysts but also of young students in philosophy at the
E.N.S., notably Jacques-Alain Miller, to whom Althusser assigns the
reading of "all of Lacan" and who actually does it. It is
him who asks Lacan the famous question: "Does your notion of
the subject imply an ontology?"
1966 - Lacan wants to continue to train analysts, his first
priority. Yet, at the same time, his teaching is adressed to the non
analysts, and thus he raises these questions: Is psychoanalysis a
science? Under what conditions is it a science? If it is-the "science
of the unconscious" or a "conjectural science of the subject"-what
can it, in turn, teach us about science? Cahiers pour l'Analyse, the
journal of the Cercle d'Episte'mologie at the E.N.S. is founded by
Alain Grosrichard, Alain Badiou, Jean-Claude Milner, Francois Regnault
and Jacques-Alain Miller among others. It publishes texts by Lacan
in three of its issues that very year. In July Judith Lacan marries
1967 - Lacan states in the Acte de Fondation that he shall
undertake the direction of the ecole during the four years, "a
direction about which nothing at present prevents me from answering."
In fact Lacan remains its director until the dissolution in 1980.
He divides the ecole into three sections: the section of pure psychoanalysis
(training and elaboration of the theory, where members who have been
analyzed but haven't become analysts can participate); the section
for applied psychoanalysis (therapeutic and clinical, physicians who
have neither completed nor started analysis are welcome); the section
for taking inventory of the Freudian field (it concerns the critique
of psychoanalytic literature and the analysis of the theoretical relations
with related or affiliated sciences). To join the ecole, the candidate
has to apply to an organized work-group: the cartel.
1968 - The novelty of the proposition of 1967 lies in the
modification of access to the title of Analyst of the Ecole (A.E.),
a rank superior to that of Member Analyst of the Ecole (A.M.E.). The
analysts appointed as A.E. are those who have volunteered for the
passe and have come victorious out of the trial. The passe consists
of testifying, in front of two passeurs, to one's experience as an
analysand and especially to the crucial moment of passage from the
position of analysand to that of analyst. The passeurs are chosen
by their analysts (generally analysts of the ecole) and should be
at the same stage in their analytic experience as the passant. They
listen to him and then, in turn, they testify to what thay have heard
in front of a committee for approval composed of the director, Lacan,
and of some A.E. This committee's function is to select the analysts
of the ecole and to elaborate, after the selecting process, a "work
1969 - The issue of the passe keeps invading the E.F.P.'s
life. "Le quatrieme groupe" is formed around those who resign
from the E.F.P. disputing over Lacan's methods for the analysts' training
and accreditation. Lacan takes a stand in the crisis of the university
that follows May 1968: "If psychoanalysis cannot be articulated
as a knowledge and taught as such, it has no place in the university,
where it is only a matter of knowledge." The E.N.S. director,
Flaceliere, finds an excuse to tell Lacan that he is no longer welcome
at the E.N.S. at the beginning of the academic year. Moreover, Cahiers
pour l'Analyse has to stop its publication, but Vincennes appears
as an alternative. Michel Foucault asks Lacan to create and direct
at Vincennes the Department of Psychoanalysis. Lacan suggests that
S. Leclaire, rather than himself, should undertake the project. Classes
start in January. Thanks to Levi-Strauss Lacan moves his seminars
to the law school at the Pantheon.
1970 - In his seminar L'envers de la psychanalyse Lacan establishes
the four discourses: Master's, university's, hysteric's and the analyst's
discourse. He discusses the Father of Totem and Taboo who is all love
(or jouissance) and whose murder generates the love of the dead Father,
a figure to whom he opposes both the Father presiding over the first
idealization and the Father who enters the discourse of the Master
and who is castrated from the origin. "The death of the father
is the key to supreme jouissance, later identified with the mother
as the aim to incest." Yet psychoanalysis is not constructed
on the proposition'to sleep with the mother' but on the death of the
father as primal jouissance." The real father is not the biological
one but he who upholds "the Real as impossible." In "Radiophonie,"Scilicet2/3,
Lacan argues that "if language is the condition of the unconscious,
the unconscious is the condition of linguistics." Freud anticipated
Saussure and the Prague Circle by sticking to the letter of the patient's
word, to jokes, to slips, by bringing into light the importance of
condensation and displacement in the production of dreams. The unconscious
states that "the subject is not the one who knows what he says."
Whoever articulates the unconscious must say that it is either that
1971 - One novelty in Lacan's teaching is his return to the
hysteric with Dora and la Belle Bouche erre (the Beautiful Mouth wanders
and an allusion to the beautiful butcher's wife analyzed by Freud
and carried on in La direction de la cure Three questions: the relation
betwen jouissance and the desire for unfulfilled desire; the hysteric
who 'makes the man' (or the Master) insofar as she constructs him
as "a man prompted by the desire to know;" a new conception
of the analytic treatment as a "hysterization of discourse."
1972 - As to Lacan "in psychoanalysis (as well as in
the unconscious) man knows nothing of woman, and woman nothing of
man. The pahallus epitomizes the point in myth where the sexual becomes
the passion of the signifier." For him the structure is the body
of the symbolic: "there is no sexual rapport, implies no sexual
rapport that can be formulated in the structure." There is "no
appropiate signifier to give substance to a formula of sexual rapport."
1973 - In Encore Lacan argues tha woman would only enter in
the sexual rapport quoad matrem (as a mother) and man quoad castrationem
(phallic jouissance). Hence there is no real rapport and love as well
as speech make up for his absence. And he adds: "There is woman
only as excluded by the nature of words,...for man she is on the side
of truth and man does not know what to do with it." In Le savoir
psychanalytique from 1972, Lacan argues: "I am not saying that
speech exists because there is no sexual rapport. I am not saying
either that there is no sexual rapport because speech is there. But
there is no sexual rapport because speech functions on that level
that analytic discourse reveals to be specific to speaking human beings.
The importance, the preeminence of what makes sex a semblance, the
semblance of men and women. Between man and love, there is woman;
between man and woman, there is a world; betwen man and the world,
there is a wall. What is at stake in a serious love relationship between
a man and a woman is castration. Castration is the means of adaptation
1974 - The Vincennes Department of Psychoanalysis is renamed
"Le Champ freudien;" Lacan, director, and Jacques-Alain
Miller, president. In Television, Paris: Seuil, (the text is based
on a broadcast on the ORTF produced by Benoоt Jacquot) Lacan makes
is famous statement: "I always speak the truth. Not the whole
truth, because there's no way to say it all. Saying it all is materially
impossible: words fail. Yet it is through this very impossibility
that the truth holds to the real."Television, New York: Norton,
1975 - Lacan travels to the United States where he lectures
at Columbia University (Auditorium, School of International Affairs),
general discussion at Yale University (Kanzer Seminar and Law School
Auditorium) followed by another general discussion at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology.
1976 - Lacan posits that the notion of structure does not
allow to create a common field uniting linguistics, ethnology and
psychoanalysis. Linguistics has no hold over the unconscious because
"it leaves as a blank that which produces effects in the unconscious:
the objet a, the very focus of the analytical act, and of any act.
"Only the discourse that is defined in the terms of psychoanalysis
manifests the subject as other giving him the key to his division,
whereas science, by making the subject a master, conceals him to the
extent the the desire that gives way to him bars him from me without
remedy." There is only one myth in Lacan's discourse: the Freudian
1977 - Le seminaire, Livre XXIV: L'insu que sait de l'une bevue s'aile a mourre, in Ornicar? 12/13.
1978 - Le seminaire, Livre XXV: Le moment de conclure. One session only published as "Une pratique de bavardage," Ornicar? 19.
1979 - Le seminaire, Livre XXVI: La topologie et le temps, unpublished.
1980 - On January 9, Lacan announces the dissolution of the
EFP in a letter addressed to members and published in Le Monde. He
asks those who wish to continue working with him to state their intentions
in writing. He receives over one thousand letters within a week. On
February 21, Lacan announces the founding of "La Cause freudienne."
In July he attends an international conference in Caracas. "I
have come here before launching my Cause freudienne. It is up to you
to be Lacanians if you wish; I am Freudian."
1981 - September 9, Lacan dies in Paris.