Prompted by the thirtieth anniversary of the French philosopher Jacques Lacan’s death, this exchange between two prominent intellectuals is rich with surprising insights. Alain Badiou shares the clearest, most detailed account to date of his profound indebtedness to Lacanian psychoanalysis. He explains in depth the tools Lacan gave him to navigate the extremes of his other two philosophical “masters,” Jean-Paul Sartre and Louis Althusser. Élisabeth Roudinesco supplements Badiou’s experience with her own perspective on the troubled landscape of the French analytic world since Lacan’s death—critiquing, for example, the link (or lack thereof) between politics and psychoanalysis in Lacan’s work, among other issues. Their dynamic dialogue draws readers into an intimate, at times contentious, yet ultimately productive debate that reinvigorates the work of a pivotal twentieth-century thinker.
"This set of exchanges adds significantly to our current appreciation of both Lacanian psychoanalysis and Badiouian philosophy. For readers curious about both Lacanian psychoanalysis and Badiouian philosophy, this book will be an irresistible “must read.”" — Adrian Johnston, University of New Mexico
"This is a highly readable and relevant discussion. Badiou and Roudinesco each contribute an important piece of the puzzle that is the figure and thought of Jacques Lacan. Both the general reader and the specialists in either Badiou or Lacan’s thought will be able to appreciate this book in its English translation." — Bruno Bosteels, author of Badiou and Politics
Foreword: “I am counting on the tourbillon”: On the Late Lacan by Jason E. Smith
1. One Master, Two Encounters
2. Thinking Disorder
About the Authors:
Alain Badiou is a philosopher, playwright, novelist, political activist, and professor emeritus at the École normale supérieure in Paris. He has published many philosophical works, including Being and Event and Logics of Worlds, and the play Incident at Antioch: A Tragedy in Three Acts.
Élisabeth Roudinesco is director of research at the Université Paris Diderot and director of studies at the École Pratique des Hautes-Études, Sorbonne. She is the author of Jacques Lacan, Why Psychoanalysis?, and Philosophy in Turbulent Times: Canguilhem, Sartre, Foucault, Althusser, Deleuze, Derrida.
Jason E. Smith is a Cornell Society for the Humanities Fellow. His writing and research center on contemporary art and aesthetics, modern continental philosophy (Spinoza, Hegel, and the twentieth century), and post-1968 political thought (primarily French and Italian). His work has appeared in Artforum, Critical Inquiry, Grey Room, Parrhesia, and Radical Philosophy, and he has published, with Jean-Luc Nancy and Philip Armstrong, Politique et au-delà. He recently edited and contributed to a special issue of Grey Room devoted to the films of Guy Debord and is working on a monograph on the same subject.