Jacques Lacan:Biography

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  • 13 April
Lacan was born in Paris, the first child of prosperous, bourgeois parents, Alfred Lacan and Emilie Baudry, a family of solid Catholic tradition.


  • Lacan enters the very select Collège Stanislas, a Marist college catering to the Parisian bourgeoisie, where he receives a solid primary and secondary education with a strong religious and traditionalist emphasis (1907-1919). He completes his studies in 1919.


  • 1 November
Birth of Sylvia Maklès, Lacan’s second wife.



  • During the war, Alfred Lacan is drafted as a sergeant, and parts of the Collège Stanislas are converted into a hospital for wounded soldiers. Lacan starts reading Spinoza.


  • Lacan is taught philosophy by Jean Baruzi, a remarkable Catholic thinker who wrote a dissertation on Saint John of the Cross.


  • Lacan loses his virginity and starts frequenting intellectual bookshops like Adrienne Monnier's Maison des amis des livres and Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare and Company at rue de l'Odéon. New interests in Dadaism and the avant-garde.


  • Autumn
Lacan finishes his secondary education at the Collège Stanislas. He decides to embark on a medical career and enters the Paris Medical Faculty.



  • Lacan is discharged from military service because of excessive thinness. In the following years he studies medicine in Paris.
  • 7 December
Lacan attends the first public reading of Ulysses by James Joyce at Shakespeare and Co in Paris.


  • January 20 Madeleine, Lacan's sister, marries Jacques Houlon. Soon after, they move to Indochina.


  • 4 November
The Société Psychanalytique de Paris (SPP), the first association of French psychoanalysts.





  • Clinical training at L’Hôpital Henri Rousselle, also connected to Sainte-Anne Hospital in Paris. (1929-1931)


  • July
Arranges to meet Salvador Dalí


  • 18 June
Lacan examines Marguerite Pantaine-Anzieu, who is admitted to Sainte-Anne hospital after an attempt to assassinate the actress Huguette Duflos. Lacan’s investigation of the case constitutes the central part of his doctoral thesis ("Le Cas Aimée"). Lacan calls her Aimée and makes her case the cornerstone of his doctoral dissertation.


  • Lacan receives his doctorate in psychiatry with a thesis on the relationship of paranoia to personality structure. This attracts considerable interest in surrealist circles. His interests in paranoia, language, phantasy and symptoms, the main concerns of the surrealists, bring him close to them. The main idea in the first period of Lacan's work, 1932-48, is the domination of the human being by the image.
  • Lacan publishes his doctoral dissertation (On paranoiac psychosis in its relations to the personality) and sends a copy to Freud. Freud acknowledges receipt by postcard.
  • Awarded doctorate for his thesis: De la psychose paranoïaque dans ses rapports avec la personalité, Paris: Le Français, 1932. Later though (1975) he will state that paranoid psychosis and personality are the same thing. One name stands out by its absence from the list of dedication: that of Clérambault. It was because of their differences that Lacan failed his agrégation. At that time Lacan declares that in his thesis he was against "mental automatism," Clérambault's theory.
  • Lacan translates Freud’s paper ‘Some Neurotic Mechanisms in Jealousy, Paranoia and Homosexuality’ (1922b[1921]).
  • June Lacan starts his analysis with Rudolph Loewenstein (1898-1976).
  • November Lacan obtains his doctor’s title with a thesis on paranoia. His dissertation is published by Le François and Lacan sends a copy to Freud, who acknowledges receipt by postcard.
  • Publication of Lacan's translation of Freud's “Some neurotic mechanisms in jealousy, paranoia and homosexuality” for the Revue française de psychanalyse. June Lacan begins his analysis with Rudolph Loewenstein. November Lacan defends his thesis on paranoia, published as De la psychose paranoïaque dans ses rapports avec la personnalité (Paris: Le François, 1932).
  • September 7 - Date of the medical thesis presented by Jacques Lacan De la psychose paranoïaque dans ses rapports à la personnalité (Of paranoid psychosis in its relationship to personality) (France)


Lacan starts attending the seminar on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit by Alexandre Kojève (1902-1968) at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, where he meets Georges Bataille and Raymond Queneau (1903-1976).


  • 29 January
Lacan marries Marie-Louise Blondin.
  • November
Lacan becomes a candidate member (membre adhérent) of the Société psychanalytique de Paris (SPP).


  • 3 August
Lacan presents his paper on the mirror stage to the fourteenth congress of the IPA at Marienbad. He sets up private practice as a psychoanalyst.


  • 8 January
Birth of Caroline Marie Image Lacan, first child of Lacan and Marie-Louise Blondin.


After Hitler's annexation of Austria, Freud leaves Vienna to settle in London; on his way to London, Sigmund Freud stops in Paris, where Marie Bonaparte organizes a party in his honor. Lacan does not attend.
Lacan finishes his analysis with Loewenstein and becomes a full member (membre titulaire) of the Société psychanalytique de Paris (SPP).


  • After Hitler's invasion of France the SPP ceases to function. During the war Lacan works at a military hospital in Paris.
  • 27 August
Birth of Thibaud Lacan, second child of Lacan and Marie-Louise Blondin.
  • 23 September
Death of Sigmund Freud in London, at the age of eighty-three.


  • Second World War. THe SPP is decimated and the society effectively ceases to exist. Lacan works in a military hospital.


  • Works at Val-de-Grâce, the military hospital in Paris. During the German Occupation, he does not partake in any official activity. "For several years I have kept myself from expressing myself. The humiliation of our time under the subjugation of the enemies of human kind dissuaded me from speaking up, and following Fontenelle, I abandoned myself to the fantasy of having my hand full of truths so as to better close it on them." In "Propos sur la causalité psychique," from 1946 and published in Écrits.
  • June installation of the Vichy regime. The SPP suspends all its activities.
  • 26 November birth of Sibylle Lacan, third child of Lacan and Marie-Louise Blondin.
  • June When the Vichy regime is put in place, the Société psychanalytique de Paris (despite some efforts at imitating the German Psychoanalytic Society) suspends all its activities.


  • 3 July
Judith Lacan, the daughter of Lacan and Sylvia Maklès-Bataille, is born. Judith receives the surname Bataille because Lacan is still married to Marie-Louise.
  • 15 December
Lacan and Marie-Louise Blondin are officially divorced.



  • After the liberation of France, the SPP recommences meetings. Lacan travels to England where he spends five weeks studying the situation of psychiatry during the war years. His

separation from Marie-Louise is formally announced.

  • September Lacan travels to England, where he studies the practice of British psychiatry during the war.
  • September Lacan travels to England, where he stays five weeks to study the practice of British psychiatry during the war. He meets W. R. Bion and is very impressed by him. Two years later, writing about this meeting, Lacan will praise the heroism of the British people during the war.


The Société psychanalytique de Paris (SPP) resumes its activities.
9 August
Sylvia Maklès and Georges Bataille are officially divorced.


  • Lacan publishes a report of his visit to England.
  • In 1946, the S.P.P. resumes its activities and Lacan, with Nacht and Lagache, takes charge of training analyses and supervisory controls and plays an important theoretical and institutional role. After visiting London in 1945 he publishes La Psychiatrique anglaise et la guerre, in Evolution psychiatrique.


  • In the seocnd period of Lacan's work the function of the image is subordinated and the dominant field of knledge in his thinking is linguistics.
  • Lacan becomes a member of the Teaching Committee (Commission de l’Enseignement) of the SPP.
  • 21 November Death of Lacan’s mother.
  • Lacan becomes a member of the teaching committee of the Société psychanalytique de Paris. 21 November Death of Lacan's mother.


  • Lacan presents another paper on the mirror stage to the sixteenth IPA congress in Zurich.
  • Lacan meets Claude Lévi-Strauss.
  • 17 July Lacan attends the 16th Congress of the IPA in Zürich, where he presents another paper on the mirror-stage.
  • Lacan meets Claude Lévi-Strauss. Beginning of a long friendship.
  • 17 July Lacan attends the 16th congress of the International Psychoanalytic Association in Z ürich. He presents the second version of his paper on the mirror stage (E/S, pp. 1–7). In a climate of ideological war between the British Kleinians and the American “Anna-Freudians” (a clear majority), the French second generation, following the philosophy of Marie Bonaparte, tries to occupy a different space. Dissident luminaries include Daniel Lagache, Sacha Nacht, and Lacan, often assisted by his friend Françoise Dolto. Lacan dominates the French group and gathers around him brilliant theoreticians such as Wladimir Granoff, Serge Leclaire, and François Perrier. He gives a seminar on Freud's Dora case.


  • Lacan begins giving weekly seminars in Sylvia Bataille's apartment at 3 rue de Lille. At this time, Lacan is vice-president of the SPP. In response to Lacan's practice of using sessions of variable duration, the SPP's commission on instruction demands that he regularise his practice. Lacan promises to do so, but continues to vary the time of the sessions.
  • The SPP's Training COmmission begins to raise the issue of Lacan's use of 'short sessions' in his analyses. By 1951 Lacan is writing about the Imaginary, SYmbolic and the Real.
  • The S.P.P. begins to raise the issue of Lacan's short sessions, as opposed to the standard analytical hour. Lacan argues that his technique accelerates analysis. The underlying logic is that if the unconscious itself is timeless, it makes no sense to insist upon standard sessions. Lacan defends his use of short sessions a year later in La psychanalyse, dialectique?, unpublished.
  • Lacan introduces sessions of variable length in his practice; this worries the other members of the SPP. During the following years he regularly explains his position without managing to convince his colleagues. Meanwhile, he gives a seminar on Freud’s Dora-case at his house, and acquires a splendid summer-house at Guitrancourt, some 50 miles to the west of Paris.
  • 2 May ‘Some Reflections on the Ego’, lecture at the British Psychoanalytic Society.
  • Lacan introduces psychoanalytical sessions of variable length in his practice, a technical innovation which is condemned as soon as it becomes known to the other members of the Société psychanalytique de Paris. He begins to give weekly seminars at 3 rue de Lille.
  • 2 May Lacan reads “Some reflections on the ego” to the members of the British Psycho-Analytical Society. This will be his first publication in English in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis (1953).


  • Seminar on Freud’s case of the Wolf Man.
  • Lacan gives a seminar on Freud's Wolf-Man case.


  • The SPP, the Paris society, moves ahead on its plan to start a separate training instiute. Lacan takes a strong exception to Nacht's concept of psychoanalysis as a discipline within neurobiology.
  • During this period of crisis at the S.P.P. (1951-52), the responsability for the report on the 1953 conference in Rome "Fonction et champ de la parole et du langage" is assigned to Lacan. At the time he is considered to be the most productive and original theoretician of the group, all the more so because he always uses the classical terms of the Freudian othodoxy when speaking within the S.P.P.
  • Summer Sacha Nacht (1901-1977), president of the SPP, presents his views on the organization of a new training institute (Institut de Psychanalyse).
  • December Nacht resigns as director of the Institute, and Lacan is elected new director ad interim.
  • Sacha Nacht, then president of the Société psychanalytique de Paris, proposes that a new training institute be established. He resigns as director of the institute in December and Lacan is elected interim director.


  • Seminar on Freud’s case of the Rat Man.
  • Lacan gives a seminar on Freud's Rat-Man case.


  • 20 January Lacan is elected president of the Société psychanalytique de Paris.
  • 16 June Lacan resigns as president of the Société psychanalytique de Paris. Creation of the Société française de psychanalyse (SFP) by Daniel Lagache, Françoise Dolto, and Juliette Boutonnier. Soon after, Lacan joins the SFP.
  • July The members of the SFP learn that they have been excluded from the International Psycho-Analytical Association. Introduced by Lagache, Lacan gives the opening lecture at the SFP on the three registers of the Imaginary, the Symbolic, and the Real.

In June Daniel Lagache, Juliette Favez-Boutonier and Françoise Dolto resign from the SPP to found the Société Française de Psychanalyse (SFP). Soon after, Lacan resigns from the SPP and joins the SFP.

  • Lacan opens the inaugural meeting of the SFP on the 8 July, where he delivers a lecture on 'the symbolic, the imaginary and the real'.
  • He is informed by letter that his membership of the IPA

has lapsed as a result of his resignation from the SPP. In September Lacan attends the sixteenth Conference of Psychoanalysts of the Romance Languages in Rome; the paper he writes for the occasion ('The function and field of speech and language in psychoanalysis') is too long to be read aloud and is distributed to participants instead.

  • In his project for the statutes of the S.P.P. Lacan organizes the curriculum around four types of seminars: commentaries of the official texts (particularly Freud's), courses on controlled technique, clinical and phenomenological critique, and child analysis. A large amount of freedom of choice is left to students in training. In January Lacan is elected President of the S.P.P. Six months later he resigns to join the Société Française de Psychanalyse (S.F.P.) with D. Lagache, F. Dolto, J. Favez-Boutonier among others. (At S.F.P.'s first meeting, Lacan lectures on "Le Symbolique, l'Imaginaire et le Réel"). Nevertheless the S.F.P. is allowed to be present in Rome where Lacan delivers his report: "Fonction et champ de la parole et du langage," discourse in which, for once, remarks Lagache with humor, "he is in no way Mallarmean." On July 17 he marries Sylvia Maklès, mother of Judith. That Fall Lacan starts his seminars at the Hôpital Sainte-Anne.
  • The Neurotic's Individual Myth: Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 1979.
  • 20 January Lacan is elected president of the SPP, and Nacht regains control of the Institute.
  • 16 June Lacan resigns as president of the SPP. Creation of the Société Française de Psychanalyse (SFP) by Daniel Lagache (1903-1972), Françoise Dolto (1908-1988) and Juliette Favez-Boutonnier (1903-1994); Lacan joins soon after.
  • July the members of the SFP are informed that they do not belong to the IPA anymore.
  • 8 July Lacan gives the opening lecture at the SFP on the symbolic, the imaginary and the real.

17 July, 1953
Lacan and Sylvia Maklès are married.
November, 1953
Lacan begins his first public seminar (on Freud's papers on technique) in the Hôpital Sainte-Anne. These seminars, which will continue for twenty-seven years, soon become the principal platform for Lacan's teaching.

26 September, 1953
Following the 16th Conference of Romance Language Psychoanalysts, Lacan delivers his "Rome Discourse" ("Rome Report"): "The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis" (France).


  • The IPA refuses the SFP's request for affiliation. Heinz Hartmann intimates in a letter to Daniel Lagache that Lacan's presence in the SFP is the main reason for this refusal.
  • The positive reception of the expression "the return to Freud" and of his report and discourse in Rome give Lacan the will to reelaborate all the analytical concepts. His critique of analytic literature and practice spares almost nobody. Lacan returns to Freud yet his return is a re-reading in relation with contemporary philosophy, linguistics, ethnology, biology and topology. At Sainte-Anne he helds his seminars every Wednesday and presents cases of patients on Fridays.
  • Le séminaire, Livre I: Les écrits techniques de Freud, Paris: Seuil, 1975; The Seminar, Book I: Freud's Papers on Technique, 1953 - 54, New York: Norton, 1988.
  • Lacan visits Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) at his home in Küssnacht (Switzerland).
  • Lacan visits Carl Gustav Jung in K üssnacht near Z ürich. Jung tells Lacan how Freud had declared that he and Jung were “bringing the plague” to America when they reached New York in 1909, an anecdote subsequently often repeated by Lacan.


  • Attacks the work of eog-psychologists (Hartman, Kris, Loewenstein and others)
  • Lacan will remain at Sainte-Anne till 1963. The first ten Seminars elaborate fundamental notions about psychoanalytic technique, the essential concepts of psychoanalysis, and even its ethics. Students give presentations yet it is the Tuesday night conferences that fed Lacan's commentaries on Wednesdays.
  • Le séminaire, Livre II: Le moi dans la téorie de Freud et dans la technique de la psychanalyse, Paris: Seuil, 1978; The Seminar, Book II: The Ego in Freud's Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis, 1954 - 55, New York: Norton, 1988.
  • Easter Lacan visits Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) in Freiburg (Germany).
  • July the IPA rejects the SFP’s request for affiliation.
  • August-September Lacan entertains Heidegger and his wife at his summer-house.
  • Easter Accompanied by his analysand Jean Beaufret, a disciple and translator of Heidegger, Lacan pays a visit to Martin Heidegger in Freiburg and Beaufret acts as an interpreter between the two thinkers.
  • July The International Psycho-Analytical Association rejects the SFP's petition for affiliation.
  • September At the occasion of the Cerisy conference devoted to the work of Heidegger, Lacan invites the German philosopher and his wife to spend a few days in his country house at Guitrancourt.
  • 7 November Lacan reads “The Freudian Thing, or the meaning of the return to Freud in psychoanalysis” at the Neuro-psychiatric clinic of Vienna (E, pp. 401–36).


  • The SFP renews its request for IPA affiliation, which is again refused. Lacan again appears to be the main sticking-point.
  • "The flexibility of the S.F.P. increases Lacan's audience. Celebrities are attracted to his seminars (Hyppolite's analysis of Freud's article on Dénégation, given during the first seminar, is a well-known example). Koyré on Plato, Lévi-Strauss, Merleau-Ponty, Griaule, the ethnologist, Benvéniste among others attend his courses.
  • "Fetishism: The Symbolic, The Real and The Imaginary" (in collaboration with W. Granoff), in S. Lorand and M. Balint, eds.,Perversions: Psychodynamics and Therapy, New York: Random House, 1956.
  • Le séminaire, Livre III: Les psychoses, Paris: Seuil, 1981; The Seminar, Book III: The Psychoses, 1955 - 56, New York: Norton, 1993.
  • Winter first issue of the journal La Psychanalyse, containing Lacan’s ‘Rome Discourse’ and his translation of Heidegger’s ‘Logos’ (1951).
  • Winter Publication of the first issue of La Psychanalyse with Lacan's “Rome discourse” and his translation of the first part of Heidegger's essay “Logos, ” a commentary on Heraclitus' fragment 50.


  • During this period Lacan writes, on the basis of his seminars, conferences and addreses in colloquia, the major texts that are found in Écrits in 1966. He publishes in a variety of journals, notably in L'Evolution Psychiatrique, which takes no account of the S.P.P. / S.F.P. conflict and Bulletin de la Société de Philosphie. J.B. Pontalis, Lacan's student, publishes with his consent the accounts of Seminars IV, V and VI in Bulletin de Psychanalyse. — Le séminaire, Livre IV: La relation d'objet et les structures freudiennes, Paris: Seuil, 1994.
  • 9 May Lacan presents “The agency of the letter in the unconscious; or, Reason since Freud” (E/S, pp. 146–78) to a group of philosophy students at the Sorbonne, later published in La Psychanalyse (1958). Less Heideggerian and more linguistic, the paper sketches a rhetoric of the unconscious based on the relationship between signifier and signified and generates the algorithms of metaphor and metonymy corresponding to Freud's condensation and displacement.


  • In the S.P.P. executive board, positions and titles are exchanged with perfect regularity until Serge Leclaire becomes secretary and then president. Yet Lacan emerges, if not the only thinker of the group, at least as the one who has the largest audience and the most audacity, especially since his practice of short sessions secures him the greatest number of analysts-in-training. A Lacan group begins to organize itself, identifiable by its language and its modes of intevention in discussions.
  • Le séminaire, Livre V: Les formations de l'inconscient, Paris: Seuil, 1998.


  • July
The SFP renews its request for affiliation to the International Psycho-Analytical Association (IPA), which nominates a committee to investigate the issue.



  • In the third period of Lacan's work the key idea is that of the three 'orders', the Imagianry, Symbolic and the Real.
  • 15 October Death of Lacan's father.


  • The IPA committee arrives in Paris to interview members of the SFP and produces a report. On consideration of this report, the IPA rejects the SFP's application for affiliation as a member society and grants it instead 'study-group' status pending further investigation.
  • At the colloqium on dialectic organized by Jean Wahl at Royaumont the previous year, Lacan defends three assertions: psychoanalysis, insofar as it elaborates its theory from its praxis, must have a scientific status; the Freudian discoveries have radically changed the concepts of subject, of knowledge, and of desire; the analytic field is the only one from where it is possible to efficiently interrogate the insufficiencies of science and philosophy. This major intervention will appear in Écrits as "Subversion of the Subject and Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious," where the subject of psychoanalysis is neither Hegel's absolute subject nor the abolished subject of science. It is a subject divided by the emergence of the signifier. As to the subject of the unconscious, it is impossible to know who speaks. It is "the pure subject of the enunciation," which the pronoun "I" indicates but does not signify. Yet the key concept is that of desire: "it is precisely because desire is articulated that it is not articulable in a signifyng chain."
  • Le séminaire, Livre VIII: Le transfert, Paris: Seuil, 1991.
  • August the SFP is accepted as an IPA Study Group on the condition that Lacan and Dolto are progressively removed from their training positions.
  • August A progressive reintegration of the SFP within the International Psycho-Analytical Association is accepted on the condition that Françoise Dolto and Lacan be demoted from their positions as training analysts.


  • Meanwhile S.F.P. members want to be recognized by the I.P.A. At the Congress of Edinburgh in 1961, the I.P.A. committee recommends that the S.F.P. become a supervised study group of the I.P.A. Moreover, in a series of twenty requirements it asks the S.F.P. to ban Lacan (also Dolto and Bergé) from the analysts' training: the problem of the short sessions, which was already at stake during the first split, is back for discussion. Lacan did not "give in on his desire," and neither did the I.P.A. make concessions about its principles. He was not banned from psychoanalytic practice nor from teaching: he was denied the right to train analysts. Driven to choose between Lacan and affiliation with the I.P.A., Paris opts for the time being not to make any decision. Moreover, a motion is adopted by the Bureau of the S.F.P. stating that "any attempt to force the expulsion of one of its founder members would be discriminatory, and would offend against both the principles of scientific objectivity and the spirit of justice." Lacan and Dolto are elected president and vice-president.

Later that year, Lacan is appointed chargé de cours at the ...cole Pratique des Hautes ...tudes (Paris) and a series director at ...ditions du Seuil. The series will be known as Le Champ freudien: in time his Seminars and ...crits will be published in there.


that Lacan and two other analysts be removed from the list of training analysts. The report also stipulates that Lacan's training activity should be banned for ever, and that trainee analysts should be prevented from attending his seminar. Lacan will later refer to this as his 'excommunication'. Lacan then resigns from the SFP.

  • In January, Serge Leclaire succeeds Lacan as president of the S.F.P. In May, envoys from the I.P.A visit Paris and meet with Leclaire. Not only they express doubts about Lacan's attitude towards Freud (he studies Freud's texts obsessionally, in the manner of medieval schoolar) they also claim that Lacan manipulates transference through the short session: he must be excluded from the training courses. At the Congress of Stockholm, in July, the I.P.A. votes an ultimatum: within three months Lacan's name has to be crossed off the list of didacticians. Everything is organized to reorient his students in training analysis towards others analysts, thanks to a committee supervised by the I.P.A. Two weeks before the expiration of the deadline fixed by the I.P.A. (October 31), Lagache, Granoff and Favez advance a motion calling for Lacan's name to be removed from the list of training analysts: the committee of didacticians of the S.F.P. gives up its courageous position of 1962. On November 19 a general meeting has to make a final decision on I.P.A.'s conditions regarding Lacan. Lacan then writes a letter to Leclaire announcing he will not attend the meeting because he can foresee the disavowal. Thus, on Novembre 19, the members' majority takes the position in favor of the ban. As a result of it Leclaire and Dolto resign from office. During the night Lacan learns the decision made at the meeting: he no longer is one of the didacticians. The next day, his seminar on "The Names-of-the-Father" is to start at Sainte-Anne: he announces its end. Fragments of it are published in L'excommunication
  • Le séminaire, Livre X: L'angoisse, Paris: Seuil, 2004.
  • August the IPA stipulates that the SFP will lose its status if Lacan continues to be involved in training matters.
  • 19 November a majority of SFP members decides to accept the IPA recommendation.
  • 20 November first and final session of Lacan’s seminar on ‘The Names-of-the-Father’.
  • April Lacan publishes “Kant with Sade” in Critique, one of his most important theoretical essays devoted to desire, the law, and perversion (E, pp. 765–90).
  • August 2 The International Psycho-Analytical Association reaffirms that the SFP will lose its affiliated status if Lacan remains as a training analyst.
  • 19 November The majority of the SFP analysts accept the International Psycho-Analytical Association's ultimatum. After ten years of teaching his seminar at Sainte-Anne, Lacan is obliged to stop. He holds a final session on “The names of the father” (T, pp. 80–95)


  • In January Lacan moves his public seminar to the École Normale Supérieure, and in June he founds his own organisation, the École Freudienne de Paris (EFP).
  • Lacanians form a Study Group on Psychoanalysis organized by Jean Clavreul, until Lacan officially founds L'Ecole Française de Psychanalyse. Soon it becomes L'Ecole Freudienne de Paris (E.F.P.). "I hereby found the Ecole Française de Psychanalyse, by myself, as alone as I have ever been in my relation to the psychoanalytic cause." The E.F.P. is organized on the basis of three sections: pure psychoanalysis (doctrine, training and supervision), applied psychoanalysis (the cure, casuistics, psychiatric information), and the Freudian field (commentaries on the psychoanalytic movement, articulation with related sciences, ethics of psychoanalysis).

With Lévi-Strauss and Althusser's support, he is appointed lecturer at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. He begins his new seminar on "The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis" in January in the Dussane room at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (in his first session he thanks the generosity of Fernand Braudel and Claude Lévi-Strauss).

  • Le séminaire, Livre XI: Les quatre concepts fondamentaux de la psychanalyse, Paris: Seuil, 1973. The Seminar, Book XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, New York: Norton, 1981.
  • After extensive legal proceedings, Judith adopts the name of her father.
  • January Lacan starts a seminar on the foundations of psychoanalysis at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Rue d’Ulm, Paris), where he lectures under the auspices of the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, a post for which Claude Lévi-Strauss and Louis Althusser have intervened on his behalf.
  • 21 June Lacan founds the Ecole Freudienne de Paris (EFP).
  • October final issue (8) of La Psychanalyse.
  • January Lacan starts his seminar at the Ecole normale supérieure, rue d'Ulm, under the administrative control of the Ecole pratique des hautesétudes. Claude Lévi-Strauss and Louis Althusser have intervened on his behalf to secure the room. This seminar, devoted to the Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, finds a broader and more philosophical audience.
  • June Lacan founds the Ecole française de psychanalyse. His “Act of foundation” dramatizes his sense of heroic solitude (“I hereby found – as alone as I have always been in my relation to the psychoanalytic cause – the Ecole française de psychanalyse, whose direction, concerning which nothing at present prevents me from answering for, I shall undertake during the next four years to assure”). Three months later it changes its name to the Ecole freudienne de Paris. Lacan launches a new associative model for his school; study groups called “cartels, ” made up of four or five people, are constituted, including one person who reports on the progress of the group.
  • June 21 - Jacques Lacan founds theÉcole Française de Psychanalyse (French School of Psychoanalysis), which will be renamedÉcole freudienne de Paris (Freudian School of Paris) in September 1964


  • Having founded his own école, Lacan's renown increases considerably in his new settings at the rue d'Ulm. He keeps presenting cases of patients at Sainte-Anne; members of his école work and teach in Paris in hospitals such as Trousseau, Sainte-Anne and Les Enfants Malades; and others join universities or hospitals in the provinces (Strasbourg, Montpellier, Lille). In his seminars he explains his project to teach "the foundations of psychoanalysis" as well as his position within the psychoanalytic institution. His audience is made of analysts but also of young students in philosophy at the E.N.S., notably Jacques-Alain Miller, to whom Althusser assigns the reading of "all of Lacan" and who actually does it. It is him who asks Lacan the famous question: "Does your notion of the subject imply an ontology?"
  • Le séminaire, Livre XII: Problèmes cruciaux pour la psychanalyse, unpublished.
  • 19 January dissolution of the SFP.
  • 19 January Dissolution of the SFP.
  • June Lacan arranges a meeting with Marguerite Duras after the publication of The Ravishing of Lol V. Stein, a novel that describes psychosis in terms similar to his. When they meet up late one night in a bar, he says to her enthusiastically, so as to congratulate her: “You don't know what you are saying!”


  • Publishes first book: Escrits. The project of publishing Lacan's twenty-five annual semianrs is undertaken by his son-in-law and director of his school, Jacques-Alain Miller. There is increasing interest in his work in France and abroad.
  • Lacan wants to continue to train analysts, his first priority. Yet, at the same time, his teaching is adressed to the non analysts, and thus he raises these questions: Is psychoanalysis a science? Under what conditions is it a science? If it is-the "science of the unconscious" or a "conjectural science of the subject"-what can it, in turn, teach us about science? Cahiers pour l'Analyse, the journal of the Cercle d'Epistémologie at the E.N.S. is founded by Alain Grosrichard, Alain Badiou, Jean-Claude Milner, François Regnault and Jacques-Alain Miller among others. It publishes texts by Lacan in three of its issues that very year. In July Judith Lacan marries Jacques-Alain Miller.
  • November
Écrits, Paris: Seuil, 1966. Écrits: A Selection, New York: Norton, 1977. The French version immediately became a best-seller and draws considerable public attention to the école far beyond the intelligentsia. Lacan sends a copy to Heidegger. Surprisingly, the thick (924 pages) book sells very well.
  • January first issue of the journal Cahiers pour I ‘analyse.
  • February-March Lacan presents six lectures in the US on the topic of ‘desire and demand’, organized by Roman Jakobson (1896-1982) (Columbia University, MIT, Harvard University, The University of Detroit, The University of Michigan, The University of Chicago).
  • 18-21 October Lacan attends an international symposium at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD on ‘The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man’, where he presents ‘Of Structure as an Inmixing of an Otherness Prerequisite to Any Subject Whatever’.
  • December
Marriage of Judith Lacan and Jacques-Alain Miller.
  • February–March
Lacan gives a series of lectures at six North American universities, including Columbia, Harvard, and MIT.


Lacan proposes the procedure of the pass as a means to verify the end of analysis and to recruit new analysts of the school.


  • Student uprising in Paris, the 'May events'.
  • Autumn
Publication of the first issue of Scilicet, a journal whose motto is "You can know what the Ecole freudienne de Paris thinks" and in which all articles are unsigned except Lacan's.
  • December
The department of psychoanalysis is created at the University of Vincennes (Centre Experimental Universitaire de Vincennes) (later Paris VIII) with Serge Leclaire as its director.


lectures in the Department of Psychoanalysis commence.
  • March
the introduction of the pass provokes a schism within the EFP, leading to the creation of the Organisation Psychanalytique de Langue Française (OPLF).
  • November
Lacan moves his seminar to the Faculté de Droit (Place du Panthéon) in Paris.
  • March
The introduction of the practice of the “pass” as a sort of final examination provokes a rebellion at the Ecole freudienne de Paris and a splinter group is created by Lacanian “barons” such as François Périer and Piera Aulagnier.
  • November
Having been forced to leave the Ecole normale supérieure, Lacan now holds his weekly seminar at the law faculty on the place du Panthéon. It draws even bigger crowds.


Leclaire resigns as director of the Department of Psychoanalysis of Paris VIII, and is succeeded by Jean Clavreul.



  • 9 February
Lacan introduces the Borromean knot during his seminar, and starts pondering ways in which three interlocking circles can be tied together.


  • In Encore Lacan argues that woman would only enter in the sexual rapport quoad matrem (as a mother) and man quoad castrationem (phallic jouissance). Hence there is no real rapport and love as well as speech make up for his absence. And he adds:

"There is woman only as excluded by the nature of words,...for man she is on the side of truth and man does not know what to do with it."

In Le savoir psychanalytique from 1972, Lacan argues:

"I am not saying that speech exists because there is no sexual rapport. I am not saying either that there is no sexual rapport because speech is there. But there is no sexual rapport because speech functions on that level that analytic discourse reveals to be specific to speaking human beings. The importance, the preeminence of what makes sex a semblance, the semblance of men and women. Between man and love, there is woman; between man and woman, there is a world; betwen man and the world, there is a wall. What is at stake in a serious love relationship between a man and a woman is castration. Castration is the means of adaptation to survival."

Death of Caroline Lacan-Roger in a road accident.
Prodded by a growing number of feminists among his students, Lacan introduces in his seminar the "formulas of sexuation," which demonstrate that sexuality is not determined by biology, since another, so-called "feminine" position (i.e. not determined by the phallus) is also available to all speaking subjects next to the phallic law giving access to universality.



  • November-December
Lacan travels to the United States where he lectures at Columbia University (Auditorium, School of International Affairs, 1 December), general discussion at Yale University (Kanzer Seminar and Law School Auditorium, 24-25 November) followed by another general discussion at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2 December).
  • First issue of the journal Ornicar?. It publishes Lacanian articles and the texts of some seminars.
  • 16 June
Invited by Jacques Aubert, Lacan gives the opening lecture at the 5th International James Joyce Symposium in Paris. He proposes the idea of "Joyce le sinthome."




  • 5 January
Lacan unilaterally announces the dissolution of the Ecole Freudienne de Paris (EFP).



  • 12–15 July
Lacan presides at the first International Conference of the Fondation du champ freudien in Caracas. October Creation of the Ecole de la cause freudienne.


  • September 9
Lacan dies in Paris at the age of eighty, from complications of cancer of the colon. He is buried at Guitrancourt.