Reading Lacan’s Écrits is the first extensive set of commentaries on the complete edition of Lacan’s Écrits to be published in English. This third volume provides an indispensable companion piece to some of Lacan’s most crucial and notoriously challenging writings, from ‘Logical Time’ to ‘Response to Jean Hyppolite’, and including ‘The Function and Field of Speech’, ‘Variations on the Standard Treatment’ and ‘Presentation on Transference’.
With the contributions of some of the world’s most renowned Lacanian scholars and analysts – such as Bernard Burgoyne, Marc De Kesel and Russell Grigg – this volume encompasses a series of systematic, paragraph-by-paragraph commentaries which not only contextualize, explain and interrogate Lacan’s arguments, but afford the reader multiple interpretive routes through the complete edition of Lacan’s most labyrinthine of texts.
As there is no existing set of exhaustive commentaries on Lacan’s Écrits available in English, this volume acts as an essential and incisive reference-text for psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists in training and in practice, as well as philosophers, cultural theorists and literary, social science and humanities researchers. Considering the significance of Écrits as a landmark in the history of psychoanalysis, this far-reaching and accessible guide will sustain and continue to animate critical engagement with one of the most challenging intellectual works of the twentieth century.
'It all began with an improbable wager: ask 35 scholars to each write something intelligible about every single paragraph in one of the texts included in Jacques Lacan's magnum opus, Écrits, so as to generate a commentary on the entire 800-page volume. And yet, after years of preparation, the wager has paid off: we have here useful and at times brilliant examples of textual explication! Cryptic formulations are lucidly unpacked, and mysterious references are provided, giving the serious reader myriad keys to fascinating texts'.
Bruce Fink, translator of Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English (2006)
'Let’s face it: Lacan’s Écrits, one of the classical texts of modern thought are unreadable - they remain impenetrable if we just pick the thick volume up and start to read it. Hook, Neill and Vanheule provide what we were all waiting for: a detailed commentary which does not aim to replace reading Écrits but to render it possible. The three volumes do wonder, their effect is no less than magic: when, after getting stuck at a particularly dense page of Écrits, we turn to the corresponding pages in the commentary and then return to the page of Écrits which pushed us to madness, the same lines appear in all the clarity of their line of thought. It is thus a safe prediction that Hook, Neill and Vanheule's commentary will become a kind of permanent companion of the English translation of Écrits, indispensable for everyone who wants to find her or his way in its complex texture'.
'Like a Rosetta stone, this accessible and superbly-written collection superimposes three levels of translation that render legible a text that Lacan quipped was not meant to be read. Cracking the code of Lacanian hieroglyphics, we discover the genealogy of his thought. These exceptionally fresh and user-friendly approaches testify to the enduring relevance and urgency of his opus magnum'.
Patricia Gherovici, psychoanalyst and author of Transgender Psychoanalysis: A Lacanian Perspective on Sexual Difference (Routledge, 2017).
'These essays will be an invaluable resource not only for those approaching Écrits for the first time but also for seasoned readers. Broad in scope yet following the detail of the text, they help guide us through Lacan’s difficult prose, elucidating, contextualizing and clarifying, and reminding us time and time again of the precision, power and originality of his rethinking of psychoanalysis'.
Table of Contents
Introduction to ‘Reading Écrits’: La trahison de l’écriture 1. Logical Time and the Assertion of Anticipated Certainty: A New Sophism 2. Presentation on Transference 3. On the Subject who is Finally in Question 4. The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis 5. Variations on the Standard Treatment 6. On a Purpose 7. Introduction and Response to Jean Hyppolite’s Commentary on Freud’s "Verneinung"
About the Editors:
Derek Hook is an Associate Professor and clinical supervisor in Psychology at Duquesne University and an Extraordinary Professor of Psychology at the University of Pretoria. He is the author of A Critical Psychology of the Colonial and Six Moments in Lacan. He is co-editor of Lacan and Race (with Sheldon George) and of Fanon, Phenomenology & Psychology (with Leswin Laubscher and Miraj U. Desai).
Calum Neill is an Associate Professor of Psychoanalysis and Cultural Theory at Edinburgh Napier University. He is the author of Without Ground: Lacanian Ethics and the Assumption of Subjectivity, Ethics and Psychology: Beyond Codes of Practice and Jacques Lacan: The Basics. With Derek Hook, he edits the Palgrave Lacan Series.
Stijn Vanheule is a Clinical Psychologist and a Professor of psychoanalysis and clinical psychology at Ghent University, Belgium. He is also a privately practising psychoanalyst and a member of the New Lacanian School for Psychoanalysis. He is the author of The Subject of Psychosis: A Lacanian Perspective and Psychiatric Diagnosis Revisited – From DSM to Clinical Case Formulation.