Books/Reading Lacan's Seminar VIII, Transference

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About this book

This book provides 18 lively commentaries on Lacan’s Seminar VIII, Transference (1960-61) that explore its theoretical and philosophical consequences in the clinic, the classroom, and society. Including contributions from clinicians as well as scholars working in philosophy, literature, and culture studies, the commentaries presented here represent a wide-range of disciplinary perspectives on the concept of transference. Some chapters closely follow the structure of the seminar’s sessions, while others take up thematic concerns or related sessions such as the commentary on sessions 19 to 22 which deal with Lacan’s discussion of Claudel’s Coûfontaine trilogy.

This book is not a compendium to Lacan’s seminar. Instead it attempts to capture through shorter contributions a spectrum of voices debating, deliberating, and learning with Lacan’s concept. In doing so it can be seen to engage with transference conceptually in a manner that matches the spirit of Lacan’s seminar itself.

The book will provide an invaluable new resource for Lacan scholars working across the fields of psychoanalytic theory, clinical psychology, philosophy and cultural studies.

About the Authors

Gautam Basu Thakur is associate professor of English at Boise State, USA and author of Postcolonial Theory and Avatar (2015) andPostcolonial Lack (2020) and co-editor of Lacan and the Nonhuman (2018).

Jonathan Dickstein is an Independent Scholar of Lacanian psychoanalysis, computer science, and mathematics. He is the co-editor of Lacan and the Nonhuman (2018).

Table of Contents

Front Matter
Pages i-xvii
Toward an Erotics of Truth
Commentary on Session I
Derek Hook
Pages 1-13
“Set and Characters” and “The Metaphor of Love
Phaedrus”—Commentary on Sessions II and III
Dan Mills
Pages 15-41
“The Psychology of the Rich
Pausanias”—Commentary on Session IV
Stephanie Swales
Pages 43-50
“Medical Harmony
Eryximachus”—Commentary on Session V
Calum Neill
Pages 51-59
First as Comedy, Then as Tragicomedy
Castration, Atopia, and Ab-Sex Sense—Commentary on Sessions VI and VII
Anthony Ballas
Pages 61-75
Hypothesizing Love
Lacan and Plato’s Symposium—Commentary on Session VII
Cindy Zeiher
Pages 77-88
“From Episteme to Mythous”
Commentary on Session VIII
Owen Hewitson
Pages 89-97
The Question of the Meaning of Ágalma
Between Hermeneutics, Topology, and Unconcealment—Commentary on Sessions IX and X
Hue Woodson
Pages 99-119
Commentary on Session X
Ed Pluth
Pages 121-126
Between Socrates and Alcibiades
Commentary on Session XI
Zachary Tavlin
Pages 127-135
Socrates as an Analyst
A Reading of “Transference in the Present” Commentary on Session XII
Frederic C. Baitinger
Pages 137-149
“A Critique of Countertransference”
Commentary on Session XIII
Miguel Rivera
Pages 151-161
In the Name of Desire
A Reading of Lacan’s “Demand and Desire in the Oral and Anal Stage”—Commentary on Session XIV
Frederic C. Baitinger
Pages 163-173
“Oral, Anal, and Genital”
Commentary on Session XV
Jonathan Dickstein
Pages 175-181
Killing the Soul with Zucchi’s Painting
Commentary on Session XVI
Joseph R. Shafer
Pages 183-196
The Art of Questioning “Real Presence”
Joseph R. Shafer
Pages 197-207
“Real Presence”
Commentary on Session XVIII
Stephanie Swales
Pages 209-218
The Claudel Sessions
Commentary on Sessions XIX–XXII
Ed Pluth
Pages 219-234
Paradoxes of Transference and the Place of the Psychoanalyst
Commentary on Session XXIII
Rodrigo Gonsalves
Pages 235-246
Beyond the Mirror
Commentary on Session XXIV
Jelica Šumič Riha
Pages 247-255
Mind the Gap
Commentary on Session XXV
Gautam Basu Thakur
Pages 257-266
The Movement of the Pendulum and the Spiral Turn
An Analysis of Lacan’s XXVI Lesson from Seminar VIII: Commentary on Session XXVI
Ivan Ramos Estevão
Pages 267-277
The Transmission of an End
“Mourning the Loss of the Analyst” Commentary on Session XXVII
Cindy Zeiher
Pages 279-294
Back Matter
Pages 295-301


"This indispensable collection is requisite for making one’s way through Lacan’s Seminar VIII. This pivotal seminar’s role in the turn of Lacan’s thought after the Ethics seminar has long been unexplored territory. But the essays included here make it clear that this seminar on the transference displays Lacan at the height of his powers. If one wants to understand what he’s thinking at the key turning point of his thought, this volume is an absolute necessity."

— Todd McGowan, Associate Professor of English at the University of Vermont, USA