Talk:Seminar I

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On November 18, 1953, Lacan held his first public seminar at Sainte-Anne Hospital -- soon after the establishment of the Société Française de Psychanalyse (SFP).

It was addressed explicitly to fellow analysts, as it concerned questions of psychoanalytic technique -- those of resistance, transference and therapeutic efficiency .

The seminar includes lengthy discussions of the clinical and theoretical work of contemporary psychoanalysts such as Michael Balint and Melanie Klein, as well as St Augustine and Jean-Paul Sartre.

It also contains Lacan's early formulation of the imaginary.

Lacan develops his schema of the inverted bouquet (Bouquet renversé), as well as his concept of the mirror stage, as part of the topography of the Imaginary.

He appeals to the science of optics to systematize his previous analyzes of the specular relation.

He associates the "misconstruction" [méconnaissance) that characterizes the ego with negation (dénégation).

Back Cover

This volume is the transcript of the first year of Lacan's world-famous seminar.

Together with Seminar II. The Ego in Freud's Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis, 1954-1955, being published simultaneously, it undoubtedly forms the best point of departure for the English-speaking reader wishing to gain some acquaintance with the disturbing and profound thought of Jacques Lacan.


As to the méconnaissance that characterizes the ego, it is associated with Verneinung (dénégation): "...everyday speech runs against failure of recognition, méconnaissance, which is the source of Verneinung."

He closes the seminar pondering on the role of the analyst: "...if the subject commits himself to searching after truth as such, it is because he places himself in the dimension of ignorance, what analysts call readiness to the transference.

The analyst's ignorance is also worth of consideration. He doesn't have to guide the subject to knowledge, but on to the paths by which access to this knowledge is gained. Psychoanalysis is a dialectics, an art of conversation."

In a spoken intervention (Appendix), Jean Hyppolite comments on Freud's ‘’Verneinung’’ and suggests its translation as ‘’dénégation’’ instead of ‘’négation’’.

The question here deals with how the return of the repressed operates.

According to Freud the repressed is intellectually accepted by the subject, since it is named, and at the same time is negated because the subject refuses to recognize it as his, refuses to recognize him in it.

‘’Dénégation’’ includes an assertion whose status is difficult to define.

The frontier between neurosis and psychosis is drawn here, between repression, ‘’Verdrägung’’, and repudiation, ‘’Verwerfung’’, a term that Lacan will replace by withdrawal, and finally by "foreclosure" (‘’forclusion’’), the former being related to neurosis, the latter to psychosis.

When answering Hyppolite in ‘’La Psychanalyse’’ that same year, Lacan establishes two poles of analytic experience: the imaginary ego and the symbolic speech.

Lacan gives precedence to the Symbolic over the Imaginary.

The subject who must come to be is "the subject of the unconscious" and "the unconscious is the discourse of the Other."

In analysis, he says, "the subject first talks about himself without talking to you, then he talks to you without talking about himself. When he is able to talk to you about himself, the analysis is over."

To this reshaping of the Imaginary by the Symbolic, he opposes the intersection of the Symbolic and the Real without mediation of the Imaginary, which would be the characteristic of psychosis.

See Also

Lacan's Metaphor of the Mirror Stage. {From Volume 1 of the Seminar: Freud's Papers on Technique) <>


French: (texte établi par Jacques-Alain Miller), Paris: Seuil, 1975. English: ‘’’Book I: Freud's Papers on Technique’’’ (edited by Jacques-Alain Miller), New York: Norton, 1988.

See also


18 novembre 1953 link link Ouverture du séminaire
Le moment de la resistance
13 janvier 1954 link link Introduction aux commentaries su les écrits techniques de Freud
20 janvier 1954 link link Premières interventions sur la question de la résistance
27 janvier 1954 link link La résistance et les défenses
3 février 1954 link link Le moi et 'autre
10 février 1954 link link Introduction et réponses à un exposé de Jean Hyppolite sur la Verneinung de Freud
17 février 1954 link link Analyse du discours et analyse du moi
La topique de l'imaginaire
24 février 1954 link link La topique de l'imaginaire
10 mars 1954 link link Le Loup! Le Loup!
17 mars 1954 link link Sur la narcissisme
24 mars 1954 link link Les deux narcissismes
31 mars 1954 link link Idéal du moi et moi Idéal
7 avril 1954 link link Zeitlick-Entwickelungsgeschichte
Au-delà de la psychologie
5 mai 1954 link link Le bascule du désir
12 mai 1954 link link Les fluctuation de la vérité
19 mai 1954 link link Le noyan du refoulement
Les impasses de Mikael Balint
26 mai 1954 link link Premières interventions sur Balint
2 juin 1954 link link Relation d'objet et relation intersubjective
9 juin 1954 link link L'ordre symbolique
La parole dans le transfert
16 juin 1954 link link La fonction créeatrice de la parole
23 juin 1954 link link De Locutionis significatione
30 juin 1954 link link La vérité surgit de la méprise
7 juillet 1954 link link La concept de l'analyse