Jacques Lacan (1901-1981)

1. Télévision (1973, directed by Benoît Jacquot) | 152 mb (.MOV)

The psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan answers to questions submitted by his son-in-law Jacques-Alain Miller. The ORTF (french public TV) broadcast this programme called « psychanalyse ». Then, this intervention was re-written and published in 1974 under the name Télévision. This programme and the text which stemmed from it became famous because this is the only real televisual practise by Lacan. The way he (hardly) tries to adapt himself to TV's prosody provides us a video-object just as strange as singular.

Tackled themes here are far from being completely new for a regular Séminaire's listener (no crucial question is missing for the ones who have attended the Séminaire for 10 years), but the TV spectator can't make head or tail of Lacan's style (such a different style than he has during his Séminaire) and of the too-quickly-declaimed Lacanian's aphorisms. Though this TV show appears obscure, we can't deny its extreme preciseness, even if it causes some uneasiness on both sides of the screen. Nevertheless, this archive has a rare intensity.

2. Petit discours à l'ORTF (2 décembre 1966)

Broadcast by French Public Radio ORTF. Lacan speaks about his writings (Ecrits) that were just published in 1966. He underlines the direct affiliation of his works with Freud's discovery and shows how he tries to refresh and to carry on Freud's works.

Text in French:

3. Lewis Carroll (31 décembre 1966)

Lacan's tribute to Lewis Carroll and Alice, broadcast by french radio France Culture.

A perfect recording of this old and rare archive.

4. Premier impromptu de Vincennes (03 décembre 1969)

Between 1969-1970, Jacques Lacan planned to give 4 conferences in the experimental-popular university of Vincennes (Paris), 4 "impromptus" about his formalisation of the 4 discourses (Discourse of the Hysteric, of the Master, of the University, of the Analyst). The "Premier impromptu de Vincennes" (first impromptu in Vincennes) was finally the first and the last one (the audience was probably still too critical because of May 1968 to receive Lacan's discourse in university). He wanted here to talk about the « Discourse of the Master » but there were too many non-pertinent interventions from the audience. This conference is not really a part of Lacan's Séminaire, but it was published as an annexe (under the name "Analyticon") in the official version of this year's Séminaire ("Séminaire XVII - L'envers de la psychanalyse"). We can sometimes hear Lacan's dog called Justine because of Sade's heroin.

Text in French:

5. Les après-midis de France Culture (1970)

Interview broadcast on French Public Radio France Culture. Lacan starts talking about his exclusion from the 28th International Psychoanalysis Congress.

Radiophonie (juin 1970)

Answers to seven questions submitted by Robert Georgin. First radio broadcast in June 1970 by RTB (Belgium) and ORTF (France). The text "Radiophonie" was published in Lacan's Journal Scilicet 2/3, 1970.

Text in French:

Radiophonie: Question 1

About Freud and Saussure. According to Lacan, Freud's discovery anticipates linguistics.

Radiophonie: Question 2

About the concept of structure and its similar use in linguistics, ethnology and psychoanalysis.

Radiophonie: Question 3

About the use of metaphor and metonymy in linguistics and psychoanalysis.

Radiophonie: Question 4

About Freud's discovery of the unconscious considered as a second Copernician revolution

Radiophonie: Question 5

About the results of such a revolution on science, on philosophy or even on Communism and Marxism.

Radiophonie: Question 6

About the incompatibility of truth and knowledge.

Radiophonie: Question 7

About the impossible, the Real and the Real as impossible.

7. La troisième. Roma, Italy (1er novembre 1974)

Extract from a conference during Lacan's School (l'École Freudienne de Paris) 7th congress in Roma.

Text in French:


8. Le Séminaire de Caracas (12 juillet 1980)

The last known recorded intervention of Lacan in Caracas, Venezuela, just after the dissolution of his Ecole Freudienne de Paris. Lacan opens a 4-days meeting with his South American pupils. He declares his famous « It is up to you to be Lacanians if you wish ; I am Freudian. »

Text in French:

9. Séminaire XVII (1969-1970) "L'envers de la psychanalyse" (18 mars 1970)

This Séminaire about the reverse of psychoanalysis is a kind of turning point in Lacan's teaching. First, that's the period where he formalizes his famous 4 discourses, writing and describing in that way 4 modes of social link. Then, the next 3 Séminaires are centered on developping the ideas of jouissance and non-existence of a sexual rapport with the help of formal logic.

In this session, Lacan talks about the father's death as a condition of the jouissance for the subject ; that's what Oedipus myth or Freud's Totem and Taboo do illustrate. The real father is a structural operator and is the agent of the castration.

10. Séminaire XVII (1969-1970) "L'envers de la psychanalyse" (8 avril 1970)

An original session in the Séminaire : Lacan introduces and reads to his audience 3 answers he wrote to a belgian journalist (who had originally asked 7 questions). Later, he recorded for the radio the whole 7 answers, what will become Radiophonie.

11. Séminaire XIX (1971-1972) "... Ou pire" (12 janvier 1972)

A pseudo revolutionary man disturbs the beginning of this session.

Lacan develops here some logical formulas that prove the non-existence of a sexual rapport (« there is no sexual rapport », i.e. between men and women, there is no rapport that can be formulated in the structure because an appropriate signifier is missing). This will be achieved the year after (Encore) in the sexuation formulas table.

12. Séminaire XX (1972-1973) "Encore" (21 novembre 1972)

First session. « About jouissance ».

Published in french as early as in 1975, Encore may be the most emblematic Lacan's Séminaire. First, plenty of ideas developped in it are significant and will renew psychoanlytic theory for years; then, Lacan's style reaches its highest point in the countless ways he distorts language and plays with it. During Encore, the final formalization of the non-existence of the sexual rapport (with the sexuation formulas table) and the full completion of jouissance's theory will progressively give way to what will become the topologic period of Lacan's teaching. In the end of Encore, he introduces his famous booromean knot on which he'll work during his last 8 years. The US edition is called The Seminar, Book XX : On feminine sexuality, the limits of love and knowledge : Encore.

In this first session, Lacan speaks about love and jouissance.

extract : "Et pourquoi ne pas interpréter une face de l'Autre, la face de Dieu, comme supportée par la jouissance féminine" (something like : "And why not interpreting a face of the Other, the face of God, like supported by feminine jouissance")

note : you can download the "Lacan fonts" for strange things like the "La-crossed" here

13. Séminaire XX (1972-1973) "Encore" (20 février 1973)

A central (and really beautiful) session in this central Séminaire. Lacan speaks about the specificity of the feminine jouissance and the mystical jouissance. In the published version, the chapter is called "Dieu et la jouissance de La Femme" ("God and the jouissance of The Woman »).

extract : "And why not interpreting a face of the Other, the face of God, like supported by feminine jouissance".

14. Séminaire XXI (1973-1974) "Les non-dupes errent" (13 novembre 1973)

First session.

The title of this Séminaire is a pun on the title of his Séminaire in 1963 (« Les Noms-du-Père ») which was stopped after a single session because Lacan had been banned from the IPA.

In this session, Lacan explains the title and displays his borromean knot as the way to knot the 3 category registers of human reality : Real, Symbolic, Imaginary.

Text in French

15. Séminaire XXI (1973-1974) "Les non-dupes errent" (20 novembre 1973)

Lacan reads (sometimes in german) and comments on Freud’s text about the occult.

16. Séminaire XXIV (1976-1977) "L'insu que sait de l'une-bévue s'aile à mourre" (14 décembre 1976)

First session

Text in French:

17. Séminaire XXIV (1976-1977): "L'insu que sait de l'une-bévue s'aile à mourre" (11 janvier 1977)

First session

Text in French:


From 1953 to 1980, the Séminaire of the french psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan (1901-1981) is the laboratory, the work-in-progress for his « Return to Freud » project. A return to the real meaning of Freud's discovery, including the recent contributions made by linguistics (Saussure, Jakobson) and structural anthropology (Lévi-Strauss), and then through formal logic and topology.

Lacan's Séminaire was a singular place and moment, almost weekly, every year from november to june. Without any connection with university, it was public and open to everyone. In the beginning, Lacan reads through again and comments on the works of Freud for a limited audience made of psychiatrists and psychoanalysts in training. Later, as Lacan's thought goes more and more original and as his exuberant personnality - His Style - makes him known beyond the strictly psychoanalytical circles, the Séminaire becomes a kind of place in vogue where you sometimes wanted to be seen. You could see lacanian analysts, some patients of these analysts, students, artists or intellectuals (for example, Philippe Sollers is known for frequenting the Séminaire in the 70's). At this time, Lacan often complains about the growing size of his audience.

Initially started at the Hôpital Sainte-Anne (Paris, 1953-1963), the Séminaire continues at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure (Paris, 1964-1969) with the help of Louis Althusser and Claude Lévi-Strauss when Lacan is banned from the International Psychoanalytic Association in 1963 (his Séminaire becomes unwelcome at Sainte-Anne). Finally, the last Séminaires take place in the Faculté de Droit Panthéon (Paris, 1969-1980).

Every year, during the first session, Lacan announces a title, a theme. The early Séminaires are mostly centered on commenting the main classical psychoanalysis concepts (the Ego, the transference, the indentification, etc.). Later, themes and titles became more strictly lacanian (sometimes based on homophonies and puns) as the concepts and their models (logic or topologic) become really specific and personal.

Very few sessions were previously written up by Lacan, so a stenographer had to transcribe the whole sessions ( However, at the present time, only 12 Séminaires out of 27 have been published. The composition of a text from the stenographies (or even from the audio material) has always seemed to come up against the fundamentally oral nature of Lacan's teaching and his totally improvising style. The first official publications of the Séminaire started in the early 70's, but in such a slowly rate that many unofficial versions of unpublished Séminaires have immediatly spread into the psychoanalysts circles.

The first known private audio recordings of the Séminaire seems to date from 1969. Curiously, despite Lacan's famous verve or grandiloquence and his matchless improvising oral style, none of the 500 sessions has been cleanly and officially recorded (neither audio nor video).

-- Guillaume Patin, Editor / Curator

Jacques Lacan in UbuWeb Film

UbuWeb Sound | UbuWeb

PennSound | CENTRO | EPC | WFMU