Jacques Lacan:Chronology

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Below is a brief chronology which lists some of the major events in Lacan's life. This chronology has been compiled on the basis of the information provided by Bowie (1991: 204-13), Macey (1988: ch. 7) and, above all, Roudinesco (1986, 1993). Those who are interested in more detailed information are advised to consult these three sources, as well as Forrester (1990: ch. 6), Miller (1981), and Turkle (1978). For more anecdotal accounts see Clément (1981) and Schneiderman (1983).


  • Jacques-Marie Émile Lacan born on 13 April in Paris, the first child of Alfred Lacan and Émilie Baudry.
  • Birth of Madeleine, Lacan's sister (25 December).
  • Birth of Marc-François, Lacan's brother (25 December).
  • Freud founds the International Psycho-Analytical Association (IPA).
  • Lacan finishes his secondary education at the Collège Stanislas.
  • Lacan is discharged from military service because of thinness. In the following years he studies medicine in Paris.
  • Lacan's first collaborative publication appears in the Revue Neurologique. The Société Psychanalytique de Paris (SPP) is founded.
  • Lacan begins his clinical training in psychiatry.
  • Lacan studies under Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault at the special infirmary for the insane attached to the Police Préfecture.
  • Lacan's brother, Marc-François, joins the Benedictines.
  • Lacan publishes his first non-collaborative article in Annales Médico-Psychologiques.
  • Lacan becomes increasingly interested in surrealism and meets Salvador Dalí.
  • 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.
  • Two articles by Lacan are published in the surrealist journal Minotaure. Alexandre Kojève begins lecturing on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit at the Ecole des Hautes Études.

Lacan attends these lectures regularly over the following years.

  • Lacan, who is already in analysis with Rudolph Loewenstein, joins the SPP as a candidate member. He marries Marie-Louise Blondin in January, who gives birth to their first child,

Caroline, the same month.

1935 Marc-François Lacan is ordained priest.
1936 Lacan presents his paper on the mirror stage to the fourteenth
              congress of the IPA at Marienbad on 3 August. He sets up private
              practice as a psychoanalyst.
1938 Lacan becomes a full member of the SPP, and his article on the
              family is published in the Encyclopédie Française.

After Hitler's

              annexation of Austria, Freud leaves Vienna to settle

in London; on

              his way to London he passes through Paris, but Lacan

decides not to

              attend the small gathering organised in Freud's honour.
1939 Thibaut, the second child of Lacan and Marie-Louise, is born in
              August. On 23 September Freud dies in London at the age of
              eighty-three. After Hitler's invasion of France the

SPP ceases to

              function. During the war Lacan works at a military

hospital in Paris.

1940 Sibylle, third child of Lacan and Marie-Louise, is born in August.
1941 Sylvia Bataille, estranged wife of Georges Bataille, gives birth to
              Judith. Though Judith is Lacan's daughter, she

receives the surname

              Bataille because Lacan is still married to Marie-Louise. Marie-
              Louise now requests a divorce.
1945 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.
1947 Lacan publishes a report o his visit to England.
1949 Lacan presents another r on the mirror stage to the

sixteenth IPA

              congress in Zurich on          uly.
1951 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.
1953 Lacan marries Sylvia Bataille and becomes president of the SPP. In
             June Daniel Lagache, Juliette Favez-Boutonier and Françoise Dolto
             resign from the SPP to found the Société Française de


             (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 Lan-
             guages 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 November

             Lacan begins his first public seminar in the Hôpital Sainte-Anne.
             These seminars, which will continue for twenty-seven years, soon
             become the principal platform for Lacan's teaching.
1954 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.
1956 The SFP renews its request for IPA affiliation, which is again
             refused. Lacan again appears to be the main sticking-point.
1959 The SFP again renews its request for IPA affiliation. This time the
             IPA sets up a committee to evaluate the SFP's application.
1961 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.
1963 The IPA committee conducts more interviews with SFP members
             and produces another report in which it recommends that

the SFP be

             granted affiliation as a member society on condition

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


             Lacan then resigns from the SFP.
1964 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).