Introducing Lacan
in Literature and psychoanalysis
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This chapter engages with Jacques Lacan's influential 'return to Freud', and that requires engaging with some Freud Sigmund texts: The Interpretation of Dreams, Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, 'Instincts and Their Vicissitudes' and Beyond the Pleasure Principle. In 1934, Lacan joined the Société psychanalytique de Paris (SPP), which was part of the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA). Lacan's essay is fascinated by how the self formed in the mirror stage relates to the other. The 'symbolic order', a phrase from Lévi-Strauss, means language taken as a system, or structure of signs which the subject is brought into, under the authority of the father. Lacan discusses it in 'The Function and Field of Speech and Language'. Shoshana Felman emphasises that Lacan returns to Freud as to a master who knows that there is a blank in knowledge, which is the unconscious, and which Lacan images in the purloined letter.

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