Jacques Lacan:Chronology

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Lacan was raised, grew up, in a comfortable middle-class Catholic family in Montparnasse, Paris.

He attended a prestigious Catholic school, the Collège Stanislas.[1]

Lacan went on to study medicine and specialized in psychiatry' with a particular interest in psychosis.

In 1927, Lacan begins his clincial training in psychiatry at the Sainte-Anne hospital, where he would later teach.


In 1930, Lacan read an article in a Surrealist journal by a little-known painter Salvador Dali (1904-89) on 'Paranoia'.

Second, in 1931 he began reading Freud.

These two encounters were to propel Lacan on a lifelong engagement with - and transformation of - the field of psychoanalysis.


In 1932, Lacan completes his doctoral thesis -- De la psychose paranoïaque dans ses rapports avec la personalité ("On Paranoid Psychosis and Its Relations to the Personality").

In 1932, Lacan also starts his analysis with Rudolph Loewenstein.

In 1936, Lacan presents his paper on the mirror stage at a conference of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) in Marienbad.

In 1953, Lacan begins his first public seminar in Hôpital Sainte-Anne.

In 1938, Lacan becomes a member of the Société psychanalytique de Paris (SPP), a member body of the IPA.

In 1953, Lacan is elected president of the SPP. However, six months later he resigns from the SPP to join the Société Française de Psychanalyse (SFP) with Daniel Lagache and Francoise Dolto among others.

From 1954 to 1963, after a series of requests and a lengthy committee investigation, the SFP is granted IPA affiliation as a member society on condition that Lacan be removed from the list of training analysts.

In 1963, Lacan resigns from the SFP and founds his own school, the École Freudienne de Paris (EFP).

In 1980, Lacan dissolves the EFP and creates in its stead the Cause freudienne.

In 1981, the Cause freudienne is dissolved and the École de la Cause freudienne is created to replace it.

  • 25 December - Lacan's brother Raymond is born (who dies two years later).
  • 25 December - Lacan's sister Madeleine(-Marie) is born.
  • Raymond Lacan dies.
  • Lacan enters the Collège Stanislas, where he completes both his primary and his secondary education (1907-1919).
  • Lacan enters the very select Collège Stanislas, a Marist college catering to the Parisian bourgeoisie, a year earlier than Charles de Gaulle, who is a student there in 1908–9. At Collège Stanislas, Lacan receives a solid primary and secondary education with a strong religious and traditionalist emphasis. He completes his studies in 1919.
  • 25 December Birth of Marc-Marie, Lacan's second brother.

  • Birth of Marc-François, Lacan's brother (25 December).
  • 1 November birth of Sylvia Maklès, Lacan’s second wife.
  • 25 December birth of Marc-Marie, Lacan’s brother.


  • 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.

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

  • Lacan meets André Breton (1896-1966) and becomes interested in the surrealist movement.
  • Lacan meets André Breton and acquaints himself with the Surrealist movement.

  • Lacan is discharged from military service because of thinness. In the following years he studies medicine in Paris.
  • Lacan discharged from military service due to thinness.
  • December Lacan attends the first public reading of Ulysses by James Joyce (1882-1941) at Shakespeare and Co in Paris.
  • Lacan is discharged from military service because of excessive thinness.
  • 7 December Lacan hears the lecture on Joyce's Ulysses by Valéry Larbaud with readings from the text, an event organized by La maison des amis des livres, and at which James Joyce is present.

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

  • Lacan's first collaborative publication appears in the Revue Neurologique. The Société Psychanalytique de Paris (SPP) is founded.
  • 4 November creation of the Société Psychanalytique de Paris (SPP), the first association of French psychoanalysts.
  • Lacan conducts his first case-presentation, at the Société Neurologique in Paris. He publishes his first paper, co-authored with Th. Alajouanine and P. Delafontaine, in the Revue neurologique, based on the case presentation of 4 November.
  • 4 November The first French Freudian society, the Société psychanalytique de Paris, is created. By a curious coincidence, it is the day of Lacan's first clinical presentation in front of Théophile Alajouanine and other doctors. Lacan co-authors his first paper with Alajouanine and Delafontaine on the Parinaud syndrome, published in the Revue neurologique.

  • Lacan begins his clinical training in psychiatry.
  • Lacan begins his clinical training and then works in several psychiatric hospitals in Paris.
  • Starts clinical training, works at Sainte-Anne's hospital in the second section of women and in the Clinic for Mental and Encephalic Diseases directed by Professor Henri Claude. A year later he works in the Special Infirmary Service where Clérambault had a practice. Up to 1932 Lacan was involved in the Societété Neurologique, the Société de Psychiatrie and the Société Clinique de Médecine mentale, he was fully integrated in the official circles of neurology and psychiatry.


  • Clinical training at the Clinique des Maladies Mentales et de 1’Encéphale, directed by Henri Claude (1869-1945), which is connected to L’Hôpital Sainte-Anne in Paris. Lacan meets Henri Ey (1900-1977).
  • Clinical training in psychiatry at the Clinique des maladies mentales et de l'encéphale, a service linked with the Sainte-Anne hospital in Paris and directed by Henri Claude.

  • Lacan studies under Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault at the special infirmary for the insane attached to the Police Préfecture.
  • Engagement with Marie-Thérèse Bergerot, to whom Lacan will dedicate his doctoral thesis. Marriage of Georges Bataille (1897-1962) and Sylvia Maklès.
  • Lacan co-authors with M. Trénel an article on “Abasia in a case of war trauma” in the Revue neurologique. He publishes with J. Lévy-Valensi and M. Meignant a paper on “hallucinatory delirium.” Altogether, between 1928 and 1930, he co-authors five more neurological studies based on psychiatric cases. Engagement to Marie-Thérèse Bergerot, to whom he will dedicate his 1932 doctoral thesis with a line of thanks in Greek, the other dedicatee being his brother. Clinical training at the Paris Police Special Infirmary for the Insane under the supervision of Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault, whose unconventional style of teaching will exert a lasting influence on Lacan.


  • Clinical training at L’Infirmerie Spéciale de la Préfecture de Police, under the supervision of Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault (1872-1934).

  • Lacan's brother, Marc-François, joins the Benedictines.
  • Lacan’s brother enters the Benedictine Order and moves to the abbey of Hautecombe in the French Alps, adopting the new name of Marc-François on 8 September 1931, when he takes his monastic vows.
  • In spite of Lacan's disapproval, his brother enters the Benedictine order at the abbey of Hautecombe on the Lake Bourget. He takes his vows on 8 September 1931, and changes his first name to Marc-François.


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

  • Lacan publishes his first non-collaborative article in Annales Médico-Psychologiques.
  • Meets Salvador Dalí (1904-1989).
  • First non-collaborative paper in Annales médico-psychologiques.
  • 10 June birth of Laurence Bataille, daughter of Georges Bataille and Sylvia Maklès.
  • August-September work placement at the Burghölzli clinic in Zürich.
  • July Arranges to meet Salvador Dalí who has published “The rotten donkey” in July 1930. His poetic praise of paranoia has attracted Lacan's attention. Lacan and Salvador Dalí remain friends all their lives. Friendship with the novelist Pierre Drieu La Rochelle. From 1929 to 1933 Lacan is the lover of Olesia Sienkiewicz, Drieu's estranged second wife. August–September Lacan takes a two-month training course at the Burgh ölzli clinic in Z ürich.
  • Lacan becomes increasingly interested in surrealism and meets Salvador Dalí.
  • Lacan presents some of his hypotheses at the Evolution Psychiatrique and publishes the following year in the Revue française de psychanalyse his translation of Freud's "On Some Neurotic Mechanisms in Jealousy, Paranoia and Homosexuality." Receives a diploma as a forensic psychiatrist. He publishes Structure des psychoses paranoïaques, Semaine des Hôpitaux de Paris, 7 July 1931.
  • 18 June Lacan examines Marguerite Pantaine-Anzieu (1892-1981), 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’).
  • 18 June Lacan examines Marguerite Pantaine-Anzieu, who has been admitted to Sainte-Anne hospital after stabbing the actress Huguette Duflos. 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 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.

  • Because of his thesis he becomes a specialist in paranoia. The richness of his text and the multiplicity of its aspects appealed to very different circles, especially the analysis of the case of Aimée make him famous with the Surrealists. Between this year and 1939, he takes Kojève's course at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, an "Introduction to the reading of Hegel." He publishes Motifs du crime paranoïque: le crime des soeurs Papin. Minotaure 3/4.
  • Lacan falls in love with Marie-Louise Blondin, the sister of his friend Sylvain Blondin (1901-1975).
  • October 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).
  • Lacan publishes a sonnet, “Hiatus Irrationalis, ” in Le Phare de Neuilly 3/4. He meets Marie-Louise Blondin, the sister of his friend Sylvain Blondin. October Lacan attends Alexander Kojève's seminar on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit at the Ecole pratique des hautes études. There he meets Georges Bataille and Raymond Queneau, both of whom will remain friends. He publishes “The problem of style and the psychiatric conception of paranoiac forms of experience” and “Motivations of paranoid crime: the crime of the Papin sisters” in the Surrealist journal Le Minotaure 1 and 3/4.

  • 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).
  • He is appointed doctor of the Asiles, and marries Marie-Louise Blondin, mother of Caroline, Thibaut and Sibylle. While in analysis with Rudolph Loewenstein, Lacan becomes a member of La Société Psychoanalytique de Paris (SPP). Loewenstein is one of the four training analysts of the S.P.P. His analysis ends in 1939 with Loewenstein's departure to the war.
  • Lacan sees his first private patient.
  • Georges Bataille and Sylvia Maklès separate.
  • 29 January Lacan marries Marie-Louise Blondin.
  • November Lacan becomes a candidate member (membre adhérent) of the SPP.
  • Lacan sees his first patient. 29 January Marriage with Marie-Louise Blondin. November Lacan becomes a candidate member of the Société psychanalytique de Paris.

  • Marc-François Lacan is ordained priest.
  • 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.

  • 3 August Lacan attends the 14th Congress of the IPA at Marienbad (Máriánské Lézně, Czech Republic), where he presents ‘Le stade du miroir’.
  • 3 August Lacan attends the 14th congress of the International Psychoanalytic Association at Marienbad, where he presents his paper on the mirror stage. After ten minutes, he is brutally interrupted by Ernest Jones. Quite upset, Lacan leaves the conference. He will never submit his text for publication.

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

  • 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.

  • Becomes a full member of the SPP. Lectures at the S.P.P. on De l'impulsion au complexe where he argues for a "primordial structural stage" called "stage of the fragmented body in the development of the ego." At this stage "pure drives" (la pulsion à l'état pur) would appear in states of "horror" inseparable from a "passive beatitude." To defend his thesis, he presents two cases of patients at length. He publishes La famille: Encyclopédie française, Vol. 8.
  • Writes a long text on the family for the Encyclopédie française commissioned by Henri Wallon (1879-1962) and Lucien Febvre (1878-1956).
  • Lacan starts a relationship with Sylvia Maklès-Bataille.
  • 5 June on his way to London, Sigmund Freud stops in Paris, where Marie Bonaparte organizes a party in his honour. Lacan does not attend.
  • December Lacan finishes his analysis with Loewenstein and becomes a full member (membre titulaire) of the SPP.
  • Lacan writes a long article on the family for the Encyclopédie française. The essay, commissioned by Henri Wallon and Lucien Febvre, is found too dense and has to be rewritten several times. Its final title is “Family complexes in the formation of the individual. An attempt at analysis of a function in psychology” (“Les Complexes familiaux dans la formation de l'individu. Essai d'analyse d'une function en psychologie”, AE, pp. 23–84).
  • Lacan starts a relationship with Sylvia Maklès-Bataille, who has separated from Georges Bataille in 1934. December Lacan finishes his analysis with Loewenstein and is made a full member of the Société psychanalytique de Paris.

  • 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.

  • 27 August birth of Thibaut Lacan, second child of Lacan and Marie-Louise Blondin.
  • 27 August Birth of Thibaud, second child of Lacan and Marie-Louise Blondin.
  • 23 September death of Sigmund Freud in London.


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

  • Sibylle, third child of Lacan and Marie-Louise, is born in August.
  • 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.
  • 26 November Birth of Sybille Lacan, third child of Lacan and Marie-Louise Blondin.

  • 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.
  • Spring Lacan moves to 5, rue de Lille in Paris, where he will continue to see patients until his death.
  • 3 July birth of Judith Bataille, daughter of Lacan and Sylvia Maklès-Bataille.
  • 15 December Lacan and Marie-Louise Blondin are officially divorced.
  • Spring Lacan moves to 5 rue de Lille, where his office will be located until his death. After his death, a commemorating plaque was put on the façade.
  • 3 July Birth of Judith Bataille, daughter of Lacan and Sylvia Maklès-Bataille.
  • 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 SPP resumes its activities.
  • 9 August divorce of Sylvia Maklès and Georges Bataille.
  • The Société psychanalytique de Paris resumes its activities. 9 August Sylvia Maklès-Bataille 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 marriage of Lacan and Sylvia Maklès.
  • 26 September Lacan delivers his ‘Rome Discourse’, ‘The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis’.
  • 18 November Lacan starts his first public seminar at Sainte-Anne Hospital with a series of lectures on Freud’s papers on technique. The public seminars will be held until June 1980. Simultaneously, Lacan conducts weekly clinical presentations at Sainte-Anne Hospital.
  • 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.
  • 17 July Lacan and Sylvia Maklès are married.
  • 26 September In his “Rome discourse, ” Lacan presents “Function and field of speech and language in psychoanalysis” (E/S, pp. 30–113, original talk in AE, pp. 133–64), a veritable manifesto. In this pyrotechnical display showing all the facets of his culture, Lacan introduces the doctrine of the signifier. Among many crucial theoretical pronouncements, the “Rome discourse” justifies the practice of the variable-length session. Françoise Dolto speaks after Lacan and Lagache and expresses her support for the new movement.
  • 18 November Lacan starts his public seminar at Sainte-Anne hospital with a close reading of Freud's papers on technique (later S I). He also conducts weekly clinical presentations of patients.
  • September 26-27 - Following the 16th Conference of Romance Language Psychoanalysts, Jacques Lacan gives his "Rome Report": "Function and Range 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.
  • Lacan presents in German “Die Bedeutung des Phallus” (“The signification of the phallus” in E/S, pp. 281–91) at the Max-Planck-Institut in Munich.

  • The SFP again renews its request for IPA affiliation. This time the IPA sets up a committee to evaluate the SFP's application.
  • The first issue of La Psychanalyse from 1956 is entirely devoted to Lacan: it includes the Rome report and discourse with the discussions that followed with Lacan's response, the commentaries from Seminar I on Hyppolite's analysis of denegation and Lacan'S translation of Heidegger's Logos. In a following issue Hesnard will comment on Wo es war, soll Ich werden that according to Lacan the "I" must come to the place where the "id" was: "là où était le 'ça' 'je' dois advenir." This opposes the S.P.P.'s translation: "the ego must drive out the id."
  • Le séminaire, Livre VI: Le désir et son interpretation, unpublished.
  • July the SFP renews its request for affiliation to the IPA.
  • Nomination of a committee of enquiry.
  • July The SFP renews its request for affiliation to the International Psycho-Analytical Association, which nominates a committee to investigate the issue.

  • In his Ethics Lacan defines the true ethical foundations of psychoanalysis and constructs an ethics for our time, an ethics that would prove to be equal to the tragedy of modern man and to the "discontent of civilization" (Freud). At the roots of the ethics is desire: analysis' only promise is not so much for happiness, but for the entrance-into-the-I, l'entrée-en-Je. "I must come to the place where the id was," where the analysand discovers, in its absolute nakedness, the truth of his desire. The end of psychoanalysis entails the affirmation of desire, though not necessarily a blind submission to it in every case. This text functions throughout the years as the background of Lacan's work.
  • Le séminaire, Livre VII: L'éthique de la psychanalyse, Paris: Seuil, 1986. The Seminar, Book VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60, New York: Norton, 1992.
  • 15 October Death of Lacan’s father.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Le séminaire, Livre XIII: L'objet de la psychanalyse, unpublished.
  • 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’.
  • November publication of Ecrits. Lacan sends a copy to Heidegger.
  • December marriage of Judith Lacan and Jacques-Alain Miller.
  • January First issue of the Cahiers pour l'analyse, a review produced by younger epistemologists of the Ecole normale supérieure who publish serious articles on Lacan's concepts.
  • February–March Lacan gives a series of lectures at six North American universities, including Columbia, Harvard, and MIT.
  • 18–21 October Lacan attends an international symposium entitled “The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man” at Johns Hopkins University. He participates actively in the debate on Structuralism and presents his paper “Of structure as an inmixing of an Otherness prerequisite to any subject whatever.” In a text as dense as its title, Lacan quotes Frege and Russell, explaining that his motto that the unconscious is “structured as a language” is in fact a tautology, since “structured” and “as a language” are synonymous. He states memorably: “The best image to sum up the unconscious is Baltimore in the early morning.”
  • November Publication of Ecrits. Surprisingly, the thick (924 pages) book sells very well. December Marriage of Judith Lacan and Jacques-Alain Miller.
  • Écrits by Jacques Lacan published (France)

  • 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.
  • Lacan states in the Acte de Fondation that he shall undertake the direction of the école during the four years, "a direction about which nothing at present prevents me from answering." In fact Lacan remains its director until the dissolution in 1980. He divides the école into three sections: the section of pure psychoanalysis (training and elaboration of the theory, where members who have been analyzed but haven't become analysts can participate); the section for applied psychoanalysis (therapeutic and clinical, physicians who have neither completed nor started analysis are welcome); the section for taking inventory of the Freudian field (it concerns the critique of psychoanalytic literature and the analysis of the theoretical relations with related or affiliated sciences). To join the école, the candidate has to apply to an organized work-group: the cartel.
  • Proposition du 9 octobre 1967 sur le psychanalyste à l'Ecole," Scilicet 1.
  • Le séminaire, Livre XIV: La logique du fantasme, unpublished
  • 9 October Lacan proposes the procedure of the pass as a means to verify the end of analysis and to recruit new ‘analysts of the school’.
  • 9 October Lacan launches the new procedure of the “pass” (la passe) as a final examination allowing one to become a training analyst in his school.
  • October 9 - Jacques Lacan proposes under the name "la passe" an enabling process adapted to the Freudian School of Paris (France)

  • Student uprising in Paris, the 'May events'. The publication of the first issue of the official journal of the Freudian School, Scilicet.
  • The novelty of the proposition of 1967 lies in the modification of access to the title of Analyst of the Ecole (A.E.), a rank superior to that of Member Analyst of the Ecole (A.M.E.). The analysts appointed as A.E. are those who have volunteered for the passe and have come victorious out of the trial. The passe consists of testifying, in front of two passeurs, to one's experience as an analysand and especially to the crucial moment of passage from the position of analysand to that of analyst. The passeurs are chosen by their analysts (generally analysts of the école) and should be at the same stage in their analytic experience as the passant. They listen to him and then, in turn, they testify to what thay have heard in front of a committee for approval composed of the director, Lacan, and of some A.E. This committee's function is to select the analysts of the école and to elaborate, after the selecting process, a "work of doctrine."
  • Le séminaire, Livre XV: L'acte psychanalytique, unpublished.
  • Autumn publication of the first issue of the journal Scilicet.
  • December opening of the Department of Psychoanalysis at the Centre Experimental Universitaire de Vincennes. Serge Leclaire is appointed director of the department.
  • 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 (later Paris VIII) with Serge Leclaire as its director.

  • The issue of the passe keeps invading the E.F.P.'s life. "Le quatrième groupe" is formed around those who resign from the E.F.P. disputing over Lacan's methods for the analysts' training and accreditation. Lacan takes a stand in the crisis of the university that follows May 1968: "If psychoanalysis cannot be articulated as a knowledge and taught as such, it has no place in the university, where it is only a matter of knowledge." The E.N.S. director, Flacelière, finds an excuse to tell Lacan that he is no longer welcome at the E.N.S. at the beginning of the academic year. Moreover, Cahiers pour l'Analyse has to stop its publication, but Vincennes appears as an alternative. Michel Foucault asks Lacan to create and direct at Vincennes the Department of Psychoanalysis. Lacan suggests that S. Leclaire, rather than himself, should undertake the project. Classes start in January. Thanks to Lévi-Strauss Lacan moves his seminars to the law school at the Panthéon.
  • Le séminaire, Livre XVI: D'un Autre à l'autre, unpublished. In there Lacan argues that "the Name-of-the-Father is a rift that remains wide open in my discourse, it is only known through an act of faith: there is no incarnation in the place of the Other."
  • January 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.

  • In his seminar L'envers de la psychanalyse Lacan establishes the four discourses: Master's, university's, hysteric's and the analyst's discourse. He discusses the Father of Totem and Taboo who is all love (or jouissance) and whose murder generates the love of the dead Father, a figure to whom he opposes both the Father presiding over the first idealization and the Father who enters the discourse of the Master and who is castrated from the origin. "The death of the father is the key to supreme jouissance, later identified with the mother as the aim to incest." Yet psychoanalysis is not constructed on the proposition'to sleep with the mother' but on the death of the father as primal jouissance. The real father is not the biological one but he who upholds "the Real as impossible." In "Radiophonie," Scilicet2/3, Lacan argues that "if language is the condition of the unconscious, the unconscious is the condition of linguistics." Freud anticipated Saussure and the Prague Circle by sticking to the letter of the patient's word, to jokes, to slips, by bringing into light the importance of condensation and displacement in the production of dreams. The unconscious states that "the subject is not the one who knows what he says." Whoever articulates the unconscious must say that it is either that or nothing.
  • Le séminaire, Livre XVII: L'envers de la psychanalyse, Paris: Seuil, 1991.
  • September Leclaire resigns as director of the Department of Psychoanalysis, and is succeeded by Jean Clavreul.
  • September Leclaire resigns as head of the department of psychoanalysis of Paris VIII and Jean Clavreul replaces him.

  • One novelty in Lacan's teaching is his return to the hysteric with Dora and la Belle Bouche erre (the Beautiful Mouth wanders and an allusion to the beautiful butcher's wife analyzed by Freud and carried on in La direction de la cure Three questions: the relation betwen jouissance and the desire for unfulfilled desire; the hysteric who 'makes the man' (or the Master) insofar as she constructs him as "a man prompted by the desire to know;" a new conception of the analytic treatment as a "hysterization of discourse."
  • Le séminaire, Livre XVIII: D'un discours qui ne serait pas du semblant, unpublished.

  • As to Lacan "in psychoanalysis (as well as in the unconscious) man knows nothing of woman, and woman nothing of man. The pahallus epitomizes the point in myth where the sexual becomes the passion of the signifier." For him the structure is the body of the symbolic: "there is no sexual rapport, implies no sexual rapport that can be formulated in the structure." There is "no appropiate signifier to give substance to a formula of sexual rapport."
  • "L'étourdit" Scilicet 4.
  • Le séminaire, Livre XIX: ... ou pire, unpublished.
  • 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."
  • Le séminaire, Livre XX: Encore, Paris: Seuil, 1975. The Seminar, Book XX: On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits of Love and Knowledge: Encore, New York: Norton, 1998.
  • Publication of Seminar XI, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis in French, transcribed and edited by Jacques-Alain Miller.
  • 30 May death of Caroline Lacan-Roger.
  • Publication of Seminar XI, the first of a series edited by Jacques-Alain Miller, at Editions du Seuil.
  • March 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.
  • 30 May Death of Caroline Lacan-Roger in a road accident.

  • 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.
  • The Vincennes Department of Psychoanalysis is renamed "Le Champ freudien;" Lacan, director, and Jacques-Alain Miller, president. In Télévision, Paris: Seuil, (the text is based on a broadcast on the ORTF produced by Benoît Jacquot) Lacan makes is famous statement: "I always speak the truth. Not the whole truth, because there's no way to say it all. Saying it all is materially impossible: words fail. Yet it is through this very impossibility that the truth holds to the real." Television, New York: Norton, 1990.
  • Le séminaire, Livre XXI: Les non-dupes errent, unpublished.
  • The Department of Psychoanalysis at Vincennes is reorganized and Jacques-Alain Miller becomes its new director.
  • The department of psychoanalysis is reorganized with Jacques-Alain Miller as its director.

  • Lacan travels to the United States where he lectures at Columbia University (Auditorium, School of International Affairs), general discussion at Yale University (Kanzer Seminar and Law School Auditorium) followed by another general discussion at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Le séminaire, Livre XXII: R.S.I. in Ornicar? 2.
  • First issue of the journal Ornicar?.
  • 16 June Lacan opens the 5th International James Joyce Symposium in Paris.
  • November-December lecture tour in the US (Yale University 24-25 November; Columbia University 1 December; MIT 2 December 1975).
  • 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 Paris International James Joyce Symposium. He proposes the idea of “Joyce le sinthome.” November–December Second lecture tour in the United States. Lacan goes to Yale, Columbia, and MIT, where he has discussions with Quine and Chomsky.

  • Lacan posits that the notion of structure does not allow to create a common field uniting linguistics, ethnology and psychoanalysis. Linguistics has no hold over the unconscious because "it leaves as a blank that which produces effects in the unconscious: the objet a, the very focus of the analytical act, and of any act. "Only the discourse that is defined in the terms of psychoanalysis manifests the subject as other giving him the key to his division, whereas science, by making the subject a master, conceals him to the extent the the desire that gives way to him bars him from me without remedy." There is only one myth in Lacan's discourse: the Freudian Oedipus complex.
  • Le séminaire, Livre XXIII: Le sinthome, in Ornicar? 6.

  • Publication in English of Ecrits - A Selection.
  • Le séminaire, Livre XXIV: L'insu que sait de l'une bévue s'aile à mourre, in Ornicar? 12/13.
  • Publication of Ecrits: A Selection and Seminar XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis both translated by Alan Sheridan. Lacan writes a new preface for the English translation of Seminar XI.

  • Lacan unilaterally announces the dissolution of the Ecole Freudienne de Paris. The foundation of La Cause freduienne.
  • Le séminaire, Livre XXV: Le moment de conclure. One session only published as "Une pratique de bavardage," Ornicar? 19.
  • 5 January Lacan dissolves the EFP.
  • 12-15 July Lacan presides the first international conference of the Fondation du Champ Freudien in Caracas.
  • October creation of the Ecole de la Cause Freudienne (ECF).
  • 10 October Lacan conducts his final case-presentation.
  • Autumn After a minor car accident, Lacan appears tired and is often silent for long periods of time even in his seminars, in which his discourse tends to be replaced by mute demonstrations of new twists on Borromean knots.

  • Le séminaire, Livre XXVI: La topologie et le temps, unpublished.
  • Creation of Fondation du Champ Freudien, directed by Judith Miller.
  • Creation of the Fondation du champ freudien, directed by Judith Miller.

  • On January 9, Lacan announces the dissolution of the EFP in a letter addressed to members and published in Le Monde. He asks those who wish to continue working with him to state their intentions in writing. He receives over one thousand letters within a week. On February 21, Lacan announces the founding of "La Cause freudienne." In July he attends an international conference in Caracas. "I have come here before launching my Cause freudienne. It is up to you to be Lacanians if you wish; I am Freudian."
  • Le séminaire, Livre XXVII: Dissolution, in Ornicar? 20/21.
  • January Lacan dissolves the Ecole freudienne de Paris by a “Letter of Dissolution” mailed to all members and dated 5 January 1980. It presents Lacan as a “père sévère” (strict father) who can “persévérer” (persevere) alone. All the members of the school are invited to write a letter directly to him if they want to follow him in the creation of a new institution. He mentions the price Freud has “had to pay for having permitted the psychoanalytic group to win over discourse, becoming a church” (T, p. 130). The Cause freudienne is created. 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.
  • Lacan dies in Paris at the age of eighty.
  • 9 September death of Lacan in Paris. Buried at Guitrancourt.
  • 9 September Death of Lacan in Paris at the age of eighty, from complications of cancer of the colon.

  • Death of Marie-Louise Blondin.
  • Twenty psychoanalytic organizations exist in France, nineteen of which have their roots in Lacan’s teachings.
  • Jacques-Alain Miller wins a legal battle over the rights to edit and publish Lacan’s seminars.
  • Jacques-Alain Miller wins a legal battle confirming his rights as editor of Lacan's Seminars and sole literary executor. Twenty years after Lacan's death, France has the highest ratio of psychoanalysts per capita in the world, with some five thousand analysts. There are more than twenty psychoanalytic associations in France, at least fifteen of which are Lacanian in their inspiration.

  • Death of Laurence Bataille.
  • Death of Sylvia Maklès-Lacan.
  • Death of Marc-François Lacan.

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 was born on 13 April 1901, one year after the publication of Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams. He was the eldest of three children. His father, Charles Marie Alfred Lacan, was the Paris sales representative for a provincial oil and soap manufacturer, and his mother, Émilie Philippine Marie Baudry, a devout Christian who assisted her husband in his work. The Lacan family lived in comfortable conditions in the Boulevard du Beaumarchais before moving to the Montparnasse area. The young Jacques attended a prestigious Jesuit school, the Collège Stanislas where he began to study philosophy, especially the work of Spinoza.

In 1919 he started his medical training in the Faculté de Médecine in Paris. From 1926 onwards he began his specialisation in psychiatry and, in the same year, he co-authored his first publication which appeared in the Revue Neurologique. Very soon he becomes interne des asiles and then, in 1932, Chef de Clinique. He worked for three years in the area of forensic medicine and, in 1932, he received his doctorate diploma in psychiatry. He published his thesis which is entitled De la psychose paranoiaque dans ses rapports avec la personnalité (On Paranoid Psychosis in its Relations to the Personality). He posted a copy of his doctoral dissertation to Freud who acknowledged receipt by sending him a postcard. In the same year, his translation of Freud’s article ‘Some Neurotic Mechanisms in Jealousy, Paranoia and Homosexuality’ was published in the Revue Française de Psychanalyse.

The 1930s marked the development of Lacan’s relation to the psychoanalytic and the surrealist movement. He started his training analysis with Rudolph Loewenstein who later, after moving to the United States, became one of the founding fathers and champions of Ego-Psychology. He joined the Société Psychanalytique de Paris (SPP), the French psychoanalytic society officially recognised by the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA), first, in 1934, as a candidate member, and then, in 1938, as a full member (Membre Titulaire). At the same time he became involved in the French surrealist movement. He developed a friendship with Breton and Dalí and published articles in a series of surrealist publications including the journal Minotaure. But his interest in intellectual matters did not end here. He met James Joyce and became well acquainted with the work of Jaspers and Heidegger and, of course, Hegel, by attending (together with Queneau, Bataille, Merleau-Ponty, Aron, Klossowski and others) the seminars on Hegel given by Alexandre Kojeve at the École Pratique des Hautes Études.

In 1936 he agreed to write, together with Kojeve, an article comparing Freud with Hegel which was planned to appear in the journal Recherches philosophiques with the approval of Koyré; this article was never published.

In 1934 he married Marie-Louise Blondin. Together they had three children; Caroline, born in 1934, Thibaut, in 1939, and Sibylle in 1940. Their marriage lasted until 1941. In 1939 Lacan began a relationship with Sylvia Bataille, an actress formerly married to George Bataille, and 1941 marked the birth of their daughter, Judith. He married Sylvia in 1953.

After the war, Lacan was recognised as one of the major theorists of the SPP and, as a member of its training committee, he introduced new statutes, making psychoanalytic training available to non-medical candidates. Eventually he was elected president of the SPP but this development produced a lot of controversy and a series of disagreements often focusing on Lacan’s technique (including his introduction of analytic sessions of variable duration). The controversy led to the formation, mainly by Lagache, of a new psychoanalytic society, the Société Française de Psychanalyse (SFP). Lacan resigned from the SPP and joined the SFP in 1953. In the same year he started his public seminar (he was conducting a private seminar from 1951) at the Sainte-Anne hospital. In 1956 the SFP launched its journal; the first issue was devoted to the work of Lacan. He translated Heidegger’s paper ‘Logos’ which was published in La Psychanalyse. The influence of his friend Claude Lévi-Strauss as well as that of structural linguistics (Saussure and Jakobson) was becoming increasingly apparent in his work.

The SFP applied for recognition by the International Psychoanalytic Association but the IPA asked for the termination of Lacan’s training programme. In 1963 the SFP gave in to the demands of the IPA. Lacan was effectively forced to resign from the SFP and to stop his seminar at Saint-Anne. He was invited by Fernand Braudel to continue his seminar at the École Pratique, and, with the encouragement of Louis Althusser, he resumed his seminar in January 1964 at the École Normale Supérieure. Meanwhile, he acknowledged the importance of Foucault’s book on Madness and Civilization. He founded the École Freudienne de Paris (EFP). A 900-page collection of his essays was published under the title Écrits, boosting his reputation both in France and internationally. While in his thesis he acknowledged the importance of Claude, Pinchon and others of his teachers in psychiatry for his development, now he considered Gaetan Gatian de Clerambault as his sole master in psychiatry, pointing out that he owed to him his encounter with the Freudian corpus. He was invited, in 1966, to visit the United States where he addressed the conference on ‘The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man’ organised at the Johns Hopkins University. In 1969 a Lacanian department of Psychoanalysis was founded at the new and controversial Université de Paris VIII at Vincennes (later to be transferred to Saint-Denis).

Although Lacan was very critical of revolutionary action he was held by some as partly responsible for the events of May 1968 and was asked to leave the École Normale Supérieure. In fact, direct engagement in politics was always a problematic area in his personal life; he could be described as rather apolitical and sceptical in terms of his personal commitment to political action, although he was intrigued by political issues. This sceptical attitude brings to mind Freud’s scepticism illustrated in his ‘half-conversion’ to Bolshevism: when he was told that communism would bring at first some hard years and then harmony and happiness, he answered that he believed in the first half of this programme. 12 During that period, though, Lacan for the first time added his signature to a petition asking for the liberation of Regis Debray, who was imprisoned in Bolivia, and on 9 May 1968 he signed a manifesto supporting the student movement. On 2 December 1969, however, speaking to hundreds of students he offered them the following statement: ‘Revolutionary aspirations have only one possibility: always to end up in the discourse of the master. Experience has proven this. What you aspire to as revolutionaries is a master. You will have one!’ (Lacan in Julien, 1994:64). He moved his seminar to the Faculté de Droit at the Pantheon. In 1973, his first published seminar appeared, edited by Jacques-Alain Miller; it is his seminar of 1964, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis.

In 1974, Lacan reorganised the Department of Psychoanalysis at Vincennes and authorised Jacques-Alain Miller to be its chairman. A two-part interview with Lacan was broadcast by French television and, in 1975, he travelled again to the United States, where he gave lectures at Yale, Columbia University and MIT. Five years later his son-in-law was elected to the board of directors of the EFP amid a lot of controversy and accusations of nepotism. As the protest mounted, Lacan decided to dissolve unilaterally the EFP (the dissolution is ratified by the EFP on 27 September 1980). He founded the École de la Cause Freudienne and travelled to Venezuela to open the first international congress of the Fondation du Champ Freudien, which had been founded by himself and his daughter, Judith Miller, in 1979. He died in 1981.

  1. An ambitious student, he excelled in religious studies and Latin.