Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Essays on the Pleasures of Death: From Freud to Lacan

Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Essays on the Pleasures of Death: From Freud to Lacan

Article excerpt

ELLIE RAGLAND: Essays on the Pleasures of Death: From Freud to Lacan. Routledge, New York, 1994.234 pp., $49.95 (cloth) 16.95 (paper). Although Jacques Lacan's seminal reworking of psychoanalytic theory happened several decades ago in France, his theories crossed the Atlantic slowly, arriving first at academic departments of cultural studies and only recently acquiring credibility among North American clinical practitioners of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. There are many reasons for this delay, not the least of which is the highly complex, ironic, condensed, and cryptic style of Lacan's presentation. Lacan's writing is a performance. It generates the very discomfort in the face of the uncanny that he sought to place again at the focal point of psychoanalytic meditation. Lacan's message, embedded in the medium of his writing, was the rediscovery of the Freudian unconscious, that neo-Copernican revolution that overthrew the gravitational center of human self-knowledge. Lacan's dense Ecrits have inspired love and hate, discipleship and rebellion. By embodying Lacan's skepticism and probity, the rebels have often come closer to doing justice to the master than the disciples, who have tried to codify Lacan's interpretive readings into a sort of theoretical catechism. …

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