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).

Timeline

1901
  • Jacques Lacan born in Paris, the eldest son of prosperous, bourgeois parents. After attending a well-known Jesuit school - he was raised a Catholic but did not practise Catholicism - he studies medicine and then psychiatry.
  • Jacques-Marie Émile Lacan born on 13 April in Paris, the first child of Alfred Lacan and Émilie Baudry.
1903
  • Birth of Madeleine, Lacan's sister (25 December).
1908
  • Birth of Marc-François, Lacan's brother (25 December).
1910
  • Freud founds the International Psycho-Analytical Association (IPA).
1919
  • Lacan finishes his secondary education at the Collège Stanislas.
1921
  • Lacan is discharged from military service because of thinness. In the following years he studies medicine in Paris.
1926
  • Lacan's first collaborative publication appears in the Revue Neurologique. The Société Psychanalytique de Paris (SPP) is founded.
1927
  • Lacan begins his clinical training in psychiatry.
  • Lacan begins his clinical training and then works in several psychiatric hospitals in Paris.
1928
  • Lacan studies under Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault at the special infirmary for the insane attached to the Police Préfecture.
1929
  • Lacan's brother, Marc-François, joins the Benedictines.
1930
  • Lacan publishes his first non-collaborative article in Annales Médico-Psychologiques.
1931
  • Lacan becomes increasingly interested in surrealism and meets Salvador Dalí.
1932
  • 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.
1933
  • Lacan publishes articles in Minotaure. He starts attending KojEve's lectures on Hegel.
  • 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.

1934
  • 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.
  • Lacan enters analysis with Rudolph Lowewnstein and becomes an active member of the SeociEtE Psychanlytique de Paris (SPP).
1935
  • Marc-François Lacan is ordained priest.
1936
  • Reads a major papers to the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA) on the mirror-stage theory which remains unpublished (the version included in Escits dates from 1949).
  • 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
  • Accepted as training analyst by the International Psychoanalytic Assoication.
  • 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.

1939-45
  • Second World War. THe SPP is decimated and the society effectively ceases to exist. Lacan works in a military hospital.
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 of his visit to England.
1948
  • 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.
1949
  • Lacan presents another paper on the mirror stage to the sixteenth IPA congress in Zurich.
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.
  • 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.
1952
  • 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.
1953
  • There is a split in the SPP over the question of lay analysis. Lacan resigns his membership of the SPP and joins the SociEtE FranCaise de Psychanalyse (SFP).
  • Holds his first public seminar (on Freud's papers on technique). These seminars continue for twenty-six years.
  • Delivers the important paper "the function of language in psychoanalyse." Often called the "Rome report," this is the founding statement of the view that psychoanalysis is a theory of the speaking subject. Psychoanalysis is now increasingly seen as a linguistic science in close touch with structural anthropology and mathematics.
  • 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.
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.
1955
  • Attacks the work of eog-psychologists (Hartman, Kris, Loewenstein and others)
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.
1960-80
  • In the third period of Lacan's work the key idea is that of the three 'orders', the Imagianry, Symbolic and the Real.
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
  • Expelled, finally, from the International Psychoanalytic Association Lacan foudns his own school, L'Ecole Freudienne de Paris (EFP). His audience begins to change; there are fewer psychiatrists and more philosophers, anthropologists, linguistics, mathematicians and literary critics. Gives Seminar on The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis.
  • 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.

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).
1966
  • 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.
1967
  • Introduction of the highly controversial la passe which marks the transition from analysand to analyst. Lacan sees the decision to become na analyst as analogous to the act of becoming a poet.
1968
  • Student uprising in Paris, the 'May events'. The publication of the first issue of the official journal of the Freudian School, Scilicet.
1974
  • The Department of Psychoanalysis at Vincennes, which opened after the 'May events' of 1968, is reorganized and renamed Le Champ Freudien with Lacan as scientific director and Miller, his son-in-law, as president. There is a stress on the mathematical formalization of psychoanalytic theory.
1977
  • Publication in English of Ecrits - A Selection.
1988
  • Lacan unilaterally announces the dissolution of the Ecole Freudienne de Paris. The foundation of La Cause freduienne.
1981
  • Lacan dies in Paris at the age of eighty.