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.

  • Marc-François Lacan is ordained priest.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Sibylle, third child of Lacan and Marie-Louise, is born in August.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • Lacan publishes a report of his visit to England.
  • Lacan presents another paper on the mirror stage to the sixteenth IPA congress in Zurich.
  • 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.

  • 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 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 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.
  • 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 SFP renews its request for IPA affiliation, which is again refused. Lacan again appears to be the main sticking-point.
  • The SFP again renews its request for IPA affiliation. This time the IPA sets up a committee to evaluate the SFP's application.
  • 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.
  • 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 'excommunication'. Lacan then resigns from the SFP.

  • 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).