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The term '[[foreclosure]]' ([[French]]: ''[[forclusion]]'', [[German]]: ''[[Verwerfung]]'')
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{{Topp}}[[forclusion]]{{Bottom}}
  
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==Jacques Lacan==
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From his [[doctoral dissertation]] in 1932 on,<ref>{{1932}}</ref> one of the central quests which animates [[Lacan]]'s [[work]] is that of [[identifying]] a specific [[psychical]] cause for [[psychosis]].  In the course of addressing this problem, two themes are constant.
  
is introduced by [[Jacques Lacan]] to describe the [[psychical]] [[mechanism]] that triggers [[psychosis]].
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==The Exclusion of the Father==
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As early as 1938 [[Lacan]] relates the origin of [[psychosis]] to an [[exclusion]] of the [[father]] from the [[family]] [[structure]], with the consequent reduction of the latter to [[mother]]-[[child]] [[dual|relation]]s.<ref>{{1938}} p. 49</ref>  Later on in his [[Works of Jacques Lacan|work]], when [[Lacan]] distinguishes between the [[real]], [[imaginary]] and [[symbolic]] [[father]], he specifies that it is the [[absence]] of the [[symbolic]] [[father]] which is linked to [[psychosis]].
  
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==The Freudian concept of ''Verwerfung''==
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[[Freud]] uses the term ''[[foreclosure|Verwerfung]]''<ref>Translated as "[[foreclosure|repudiation]]" in the [[Standard Edition]]</ref> in a [[number]] of disparate ways, but [[Lacan]] focuses on one in [[particular]]: namely, the [[sense]] of a specific [[defence mechanism]] which is distinct from [[repression]] (''[[repression|Verdrängung]]''), in which "the ego rejects the incompatible [[idea]] together with its [[affect]] and behaves as if the idea had never occurred to the ego at all."<ref>{{F}} "[[Work of Sigmund Freud|The Neuro-Psychoses of Defence]]", 1894a: [[SE]] III, 58</ref>  In 1954, basing himself on a [[reading]] of the "[[Wolf Man]]" [[case]] [[history]],<ref>{{F}} "[[Work of Sigmund Freud|From the History of an Infantile Neurosis]]," 1918b: [[SE]] XVII, 79-80</ref> [[Lacan]] [[identifies]] ''[[foreclosure|Verwerfung]]'' as the specific [[mechanism]] of [[psychosis]], in which an element is rejected [[outside]] the [[symbolic order]] just as if it had never [[existence|existed]].<ref>{{Ec}} p. 386-7; {{S1}} p. 57-9</ref> 
  
[[Foreclosure]] is a ([[psychical]]) [[mechanism]] which rejects the inscription of the [[signifier]] within the [[chain]] of [[signifier]]s.  
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At this [[time]] [[Lacan]] proposes various ways of translating the term ''[[Foreclosure|Verwerfung]]'' into [[French]], rendering it as ''rejet'', ''refus'' and ''retranchement''.<ref>{{S1}} p. 43; {{Ec}} p. 386</ref> It is not until 1956 that [[Lacan]] proposes the term ''[[foreclosure|forclusion]]'' (a term in use in the French [[legal]] [[system]]; in [[English]], "[[foreclosure]]") as the best way of translating ''[[foreclosure|Verwerfung]]'' into [[French]].<ref>{{S3}} p. 321</ref>  It is this term that [[Lacan]] continues to use for the rest of his work.
  
[[Foreclosure]] is a [[psychical]] [[mechanism]] which expels the primordial [[signifier]] (the [[phallus]] or the [[Name-of-the-Father]]) from the [[symbolic]] [[order]].
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==Name-of-the-Father==
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In 1954, when [[Lacan]] first turns to the [[Freud]]ian [[concept]] of ''[[foreclosure|Verwerfung]]'' in his [[search]] for a specific [[defence|mechanism]] for [[psychosis]], it is not clear exactly what is repudiated; it can be [[castration]] that is repudiated, or [[speech]] itself, or "the [[genital]] plane".<ref>{{S1}} p. 53, 58</ref>  [[Lacan]] finds a solution to the problem at the end of 1957, when he proposes the idea that it is the [[Name-of-the-Father]] -- a [[fundamental signifier]] -- that is the [[object]] of [[foreclosure]].<ref>{{E}} p. 217</ref> In this way [[Lacan]] is able to combine in one [[formula]] both of the themes that had previously dominated his [[thinking]] on the [[causality]] of [[psychosis]] -- the [[absence]] of the [[father]] and the concept of ''[[foreclosure|Verwerfung]]''. This formula remains at the heart of [[Lacan]]'s thinking on [[psychosis]] throughout the rest of his [[Work of Jacques Lacan|work]].
  
"I will thus take <i>Verwerfung</i> to be [[foreclosure]] of the [[signifier]]. At the point at which the [[Name-of-the-Father]] is summoned—and we shall see how—a pure and simple hole may answer in the [[Other]]; due to the [[lack]] of the [[metaphor]]ic effect, this [[hole]] will give rise to a corresponding [[hole]] in the place of [[phallic]] [[signification]]."<ref>[[Lacan, Jacques]]. ''[[Écrits]]''. "On a Question Prior to any Possible Treatment of Psychosis." p.191</ref>  
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===Psychotic Structure===
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When the [[Name-of-the-Father]] is [[foreclosed]] for a particular [[subject]], it leaves a [[hole]] in the [[symbolic order]] which can never be filled; the [[subject]] can then be said to have a [[psychotic]] [[structure]], even if he shows none of the classical [[sign]]s of [[psychosis]]. Sooner or later, when the foreclosed [[Name-of-the-Father]] reappears in the [[real]], the [[subject]] is unable to assimilate it, and the result of this "collision with the inassimilable signifier" is the "entry into psychosis" proper, characterised typically by the onset of [[hallucinations]] and/or [[delusions]].<ref>{{S3}} p. 321</ref>
  
==Hallucinations==
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===Repression, Negation, Projection===
The [[subject]] calls upon the [[Father]] to guarantee the [[law]] that situates both the [[subject]] and his [[desire]] in the [[Other]], but encounters only a [[void]].
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[[Foreclosure]] is to be distinguished from [[other]] operations such as [[repression]], [[negation]], and [[projection]]. [[Foreclosure]] differs from [[repression]] in that the [[foreclosed]] [[signifier|element]] is not buried in the [[unconscious]] but expelled from the [[unconscious]][[Repression]] is the operation which constitutes [[neurosis]], whereas [[foreclosure]] is the operation which constitutes [[psychosis]].
 
 
The [[foreclosure]] of the [[Name-of-the-Father]] gives rise to the [[fantasmatic]] presence (present in the [[Real]]) of a malevolent [[authority]], suspected of having intrusive or criminal [[intention]]s, desiring to commit sexual abuse or homicide.
 
 
 
Unlike a [[repressed]] [[signifier]], a [[foreclosed]] [[signifier]] is not absorbed into the [[unconscious]] and therefore does not reappear in the [[psyche]] in the form of a [[neurotic]] [[symptom]].
 
 
 
It returns, rather, in the [[real]], usually in the form of a  [[hallucination]].
 
 
 
==Psychosis==
 
Lacan viewed the [[foreclosure]] of the [[signifier]] as the characteristic [[mechanism]] of [[psychosis]].
 
 
 
Sigmund Freud had introduced the term along with negation (<i>Verneinung</i>) and repression (<i>Verdrängung</i>) as a defense mechanism.</p>
 
 
 
==Examples==
 
Why does foreclosure come about?
 
 
 
The child has been exposed to a mother who has refused to recognize the law, either because it does not situate her in accordance with her desires, or because it compels her to separate herself from its product.
 
 
 
It may also happen that the real father reveals himself to be incapable of inscribing himself into a symbolic line-age, and consequently invalidates it (cf. Schreber's father in "Psycho-Analytic Notes on an Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia [Dementia Paranoides]," 1911c).
 
 
 
===More===
 
I Introduction
 
 
 
Lacan introduces the term 'foreclosure' to explain the massive and global differences between psychosis and neurosis; neurosis operates by way of repression, while psychosis operates by way of foreclosure. This distinction is complemented by a third category, though arguably less secure and more problematic than the first two, of disavowal, as a mechanism specific to perversion. These three terms which correspond respectively to Freud's Verdrängung,Verwerfung and Verleugnung, along with the three-part division of neurosis, psychosis and perversion, form the basis of what is effectively a differential diagnosis in Lacan's work, one that aspires to being truly psychoanalytic, deriving nothing from psychiatric categories. Thus, underlying the elaboration of the notion of foreclosure is a clear and sharp distinction between three separate subjective structures.
 
 
 
Two features of this psychoanalytic nosology worthy of note are firstly that it assumes a structural unity behind often quite different symptoms that are expressions of the one clinical type and secondly that there is no continuum between the various clinical types uncovered. A corollary is that in the case of psychosis this structure, a quite different structure from that of neurosis, is present even before the psychosis declares itself clinically.
 
 
 
II. Origin of the Term
 
 
 
While 'foreclosure' is a common French legal term, with a meaning very close to its English equivalent, for Lacan's purposes it clearly derives more directly from the work of the French linguists Jacques Damourette and Edouard Pichon. In their Des mots à la pensée: Essai de grammaire de la langue française, these authors speak of 'foreclosure' in certain circumstances when an utterance repudiates facts that are treated as either true or merely possible. 1 In their words, a proposition is 'foreclosed' when 'expelled from the field of possibilities as seen by the speaker,' who thereby 'scotomises' the possibility of something's being the case. 2 They take the presence of certain linguistic elements as an indication of foreclosure, so that when it is said that ' Mr Brooke is not the sort of person who would ever complain' (M. Brooke n'est pas de ceux qui se plaignent jamais), on Damourette and Pichon's analysis, the word 'ever' would flag the foreclosure of the very possibility of Mr Brooke's complaining. That Mr Brooke should complain is 'expelled from the field of possibilities.' 3
 
 
 
Whether this analysis is correct or not is largely irrelevant as far as Lacan is concerned since, although he derives foreclosure from Damourette and Pichon, he puts it to quite a different use. For Lacan, what is foreclosed is not the possibility of an event's coming to pass, but the very signifier, or signifiers, that makes the expression of impossibility possible in the first place. Thus, 'foreclosure' refers not to the fact that a speaker makes a statement which declares something impossible -- a process closer to disavowal -- but to the fact that the speaker lacks the very linguistic means for making the statement at all.
 
 
 
This is where the difference between repression and foreclosure lies. In Lacan's analysis of Freud's classic studies on the unconscious -The Interpretation of Dreams, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious -- the mechanisms of repression and the return of the repressed are linguistic in nature. 4 Lacan's thesis that the unconscious is structured like a language implies that for something to be repressed it has first of all to be registered in the symbolic. 5 Thus, repression implies the prior recognition of the repressed in the symbolic system or register. In psychosis, on the other hand, the necessary signifiers are lacking and so the recognition required for repression is impossible. However, what is foreclosed  does not simply disappear altogether but may return, albeit in a different guise, from outside the subject.
 
 
 
Lacan chooses 'foreclosure' to translate Freud's Verwerfung, a term which is difficult to chart through the Standard Edition because it is not indexed, but is there usually given the more literal translation of 'rejection.' 6 For a number of years Lacan also employed more literal French translations, like rejet or on occasion retranchement. 7 It was not until the very last session of his Seminar III on psychosis in 195556 that he finally opted for the term that has since become so familiar:
 
 
 
    I shan't go back over the notion of Verwerfung I began with, and for which, having thought it through, I propose to you definitively to adopt this translation which I believe is the best -- foreclosure. 8
 
 
 
It is reasonable to regard this choice as an acknowledgement that Lacan raised to the level of a concept what in Freud had remained less clear in its meaning and more ambiguous in its employment. Freud does not use only the term Verwerfung in connection with psychosis, since at times, and specially late in his work, he prefers to speak in terms of the disavowal ( Verleugnung) of reality in psychosis. 9 On a number of different occasions Freud appeared to be grasping for a way of characterising different mechanisms underlying neurosis and psychosis, without ever coming to a satisfactory conclusion. It is fair to say that with the work of Lacan the mechanism of foreclosure and the structure of psychosis are understood in a new way, one that has given the psychoanalytic treatment of psychosis a more secure basis.
 
 
 
Indeed, on more than one occasion Lacan declared that psychoanalysts must not back away from psychosis, and the treatment of psychotics is a significant feature of analytic work within the Lacanian orientation. 10 It should be noted, though, that Lacan's remark is not to be taken as an admonition to shoulder fearlessly the clinical burden imposed by the psychotic patient. It rather reflects his belief that the problems the psychotic raises are central to psychoanalysis and not a mere supplement to a supposed primary concern with neurosis.
 
 
 
Lacan observed that Freud's breakthrough in his examination of President Schreber's Memoirs was discovering that the discourse of the psychotic, as well as other bizarre and apparently meaningless phenomena of psychosis, could be deciphered and understood, just as dreams  can.  11 Lacan compares the scale of this breakthrough with that obtained in the interpretation of dreams. Indeed, he is inclined to regard it as even more original than dream interpretation, arguing that while Freudian interpretation of dreams has nothing in common with previous interest in the meaning of dreams, the claim that dreams have meaning was itself not new.  12 However, Lacan also indicates that the fact that the psychotic's discourse is just as interpretable as neurotic phenomena such as dreams leaves the two disorders at the same level and fails to account for the major, qualitative differences between them. Therefore, if psychoanalysis is to account for the distinction between the two, it cannot do so on the basis of meaning alone.
 
 
 
It is on this issue of what makes psychosis different from neurosis that Lacan focuses. How are we to explain the massive, qualitative differences between the two disorders? It is because Lacan is convinced that the delusional system and the hallucinations are so invasive for the subject, have such a devastating effect upon his or her relations with the world and with fellow beings, that he regards prior psychoanalytic attempts to explain psychosis, ultimately including Freud's own, as inadequate.
 
 
 
Freud explains psychosis in terms of a repressed homosexual relationship to the father. According to Freud, it was the emergence in Schreber of an erotic homosexual relationship towards his treating doctor, Professor Flechsig, and the conflict this desire produced in him that led in the first instance to the delusion of persecution and ultimately to the fully developed delusional system centred on Schreber's special relationship to God. 13
 
 
 
Freud also compares the mechanisms of neurosis and psychosis in the following terms: in both there is a withdrawal of investment, or object-cathexis, from objects in the world. In the case of neurosis this object-cathexis is retained but invested in fantasized objects within the neurotic's internal world. In the case of psychosis the withdrawn cathexis is invested in the ego. This takes place at the expense of all object-cathexes, even in fantasy, and the turning of libido upon the ego accounts for symptoms such as hypochondria and megalomania. The delusional system, the most striking feature of psychosis, arises in a second stage. Freud characterises the construction of a delusional system as an attempt at recovery, in which the subject re-establishes a new, often very intense relation with the people and things in the world by way of his or her delusions. 14
 
 
 
One can see that despite the differences in detail between the mechanisms of neurosis and psychosis in Freud's account, both still operate essentially by way of repression: withdrawal of libido onto fantasized objects in neurosis, withdrawal of object libido onto the ego in psychosis. It is basically for this reason that Lacan finds it inadequate:
 
 
 
It is difficult to see how it could be purely and simply the suppression of a given [homosexual] tendency, the rejection or repression of some more or less transferential drive he would have felt toward Flechsig, that led President Schreber to construct his enormous delusion. There really must be something more proportionate to the result involved. 15
 
==Miscellaneous==
 
 
 
[[Foreclosure]] is thus antithetical to <i>[[Bejahung]]</i> ('[[affirmation]]').
 
  
 
==See Also==
 
==See Also==
* [[Castration complex]]  
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{{See}}
* [[Disavowal]]  
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* [[Absence]]
* [[Law of the father]]  
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* [[Castration]]
* [[Linguistics]]  
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* [[Cause]]
* [[Negative]]  
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* [[Defence]]
* [[Negation]]  
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||
* [[Neurosis]]  
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* [[Delusion]]
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* [[Dual relation]]
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* [[Existence]]
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* [[Negation]]
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||
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* [[Projection]]
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* [[Repression]]
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* [[Signifier]]
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* [[Speech]]
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||
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* [[Structure]]
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* [[Subject]]
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* [[Symbolic]]
 
* [[Psychosis]]
 
* [[Psychosis]]
* [[Delusions]]
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{{Also}}
* [[Real]]
 
* [[Repudiation]]
 
* [[Splitting]]
 
* [[Topology]]
 
  
 
==References==
 
==References==
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<div style="font-size:11px" class="references-small">
 
<references/>
 
<references/>
# Freud, Sigmund. (1894a) Obsessions and phobias: Their psychical mechanism and their aetiology. SE, 3, 69-82.
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</div>
# ——. (1911c) Psycho-analytic notes on an autobiographical account of a case of paranoia (dementia paranoides). SE, 12, 1-82.
 
# Lacan, Jacques. (2004). On a question prior to any possible treatment of psychosis.Écrits: A Selection (Bruce Fink, Trans.). New York: W. W. Norton. (Original work published 1955-56)
 
 
 
[[Category:Terms]]
 
[[Category:Concepts]]
 
[[Category:New]]
 
 
[[Category:Psychoanalysis]]
 
[[Category:Psychoanalysis]]
 
[[Category:Jacques Lacan]]
 
[[Category:Jacques Lacan]]
[[Category:Treatment]]
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[[Category:Linguistics]]
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[[Category:Dictionary]]
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[[Category:Language]]
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[[Category:Symbolic]]
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[[Category:Concepts]]
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[[Category:Terms]]
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Latest revision as of 03:37, 24 May 2019

French: [[forclusion]]

Jacques Lacan

From his doctoral dissertation in 1932 on,[1] one of the central quests which animates Lacan's work is that of identifying a specific psychical cause for psychosis. In the course of addressing this problem, two themes are constant.

The Exclusion of the Father

As early as 1938 Lacan relates the origin of psychosis to an exclusion of the father from the family structure, with the consequent reduction of the latter to mother-child relations.[2] Later on in his work, when Lacan distinguishes between the real, imaginary and symbolic father, he specifies that it is the absence of the symbolic father which is linked to psychosis.

The Freudian concept of Verwerfung

Freud uses the term Verwerfung[3] in a number of disparate ways, but Lacan focuses on one in particular: namely, the sense of a specific defence mechanism which is distinct from repression (Verdrängung), in which "the ego rejects the incompatible idea together with its affect and behaves as if the idea had never occurred to the ego at all."[4] In 1954, basing himself on a reading of the "Wolf Man" case history,[5] Lacan identifies Verwerfung as the specific mechanism of psychosis, in which an element is rejected outside the symbolic order just as if it had never existed.[6]

At this time Lacan proposes various ways of translating the term Verwerfung into French, rendering it as rejet, refus and retranchement.[7] It is not until 1956 that Lacan proposes the term forclusion (a term in use in the French legal system; in English, "foreclosure") as the best way of translating Verwerfung into French.[8] It is this term that Lacan continues to use for the rest of his work.

Name-of-the-Father

In 1954, when Lacan first turns to the Freudian concept of Verwerfung in his search for a specific mechanism for psychosis, it is not clear exactly what is repudiated; it can be castration that is repudiated, or speech itself, or "the genital plane".[9] Lacan finds a solution to the problem at the end of 1957, when he proposes the idea that it is the Name-of-the-Father -- a fundamental signifier -- that is the object of foreclosure.[10] In this way Lacan is able to combine in one formula both of the themes that had previously dominated his thinking on the causality of psychosis -- the absence of the father and the concept of Verwerfung. This formula remains at the heart of Lacan's thinking on psychosis throughout the rest of his work.

Psychotic Structure

When the Name-of-the-Father is foreclosed for a particular subject, it leaves a hole in the symbolic order which can never be filled; the subject can then be said to have a psychotic structure, even if he shows none of the classical signs of psychosis. Sooner or later, when the foreclosed Name-of-the-Father reappears in the real, the subject is unable to assimilate it, and the result of this "collision with the inassimilable signifier" is the "entry into psychosis" proper, characterised typically by the onset of hallucinations and/or delusions.[11]

Repression, Negation, Projection

Foreclosure is to be distinguished from other operations such as repression, negation, and projection. Foreclosure differs from repression in that the foreclosed element is not buried in the unconscious but expelled from the unconscious. Repression is the operation which constitutes neurosis, whereas foreclosure is the operation which constitutes psychosis.

See Also

References

  1. Lacan, Jacques. De la psychose paranoiaque dans ses rapports avec la personalité, Paris: Navarin, 1975. [1932].
  2. Lacan, Jacques. Les complexes familiaux dans la formation de l'individu. Essai d'analyse d'une fonction en psychologie, Paris: Navarin, 1984 [1938]. p. 49
  3. Translated as "repudiation" in the Standard Edition
  4. Freud, Sigmund. "The Neuro-Psychoses of Defence", 1894a: SE III, 58
  5. Freud, Sigmund. "From the History of an Infantile Neurosis," 1918b: SE XVII, 79-80
  6. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 386-7; Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book I. Freud's Papers on Technique, 1953-54. Trans. John Forrester. New York: Nortion; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. p. 57-9
  7. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book I. Freud's Papers on Technique, 1953-54. Trans. John Forrester. New York: Nortion; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. p. 43; Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 386
  8. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book III. The Psychoses, 1955-56. Trans. Russell Grigg. London: Routledge, 1993. p. 321
  9. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book I. Freud's Papers on Technique, 1953-54. Trans. John Forrester. New York: Nortion; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. p. 53, 58
  10. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p. 217
  11. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book III. The Psychoses, 1955-56. Trans. Russell Grigg. London: Routledge, 1993. p. 321