From No Subject - Encyclopedia of Psychoanalysis
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The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I
Aggressivity in Psychoanalysis
The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis
The Freudian Thing

The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason Since Freud

On a Question Preliminary to Any Possible Treatment of Psychosis

The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power

The Signification of the Phallus

The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious


Until the publication of hisÉcrits (Writings), Jacques Lacan's only published book was his doctoral thesis in medicine, De la psychose paranoïaque dans ses rapports avec la personnalité (On paranoid psychosis in its relations with personality; 1932), written from a psychiatric, rather than psychoanalytic, perspective.

In the 1960s Lacan was asked by several of his students and by his friend François Wahl, of the publishing house Seuil, to collect his writings in a single volume. The considerable success of De...


Lacan only published one book in his lifetime - Écrits (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1966), and oversaw the editing of the first of his seminars - Le Séminaire de Jacques Lacan, Livre XI: Les quatre concepts fondamentaux de la psychanalyse (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1973). The English translation, Écrits: A Selection by Alan Sheridan (London: Tavistock Publications, 1977) contains key texts such as "The Mirror Stage", "The Rome Discourse," "The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious," "The Meaning of the Phallus" and "The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire," but it still only consists of one-third of the French edition.

Lacan was 65 years old when he published Écrits and it is not an introductory text but the summation of a lifetime's teaching and clinical practice. Each paper contains a multiplicity of allusions and references that need to be unpacked, if we are to begin understanding Lacan's ideas.

"The Mirror Stage," for example, is only seven pages long, while "The Signification of the Phallus" is just nine, but each of these papers has generated volumes of explication, critique and applications.