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Lacan to the Letter

Reading Ecrits Closely

2004
Author:

Bruce Fink

Lacan to the Letter

An analysis of Lacan’s thought by way of a close, authoritative reading of his Écrits

To read Lacan closely is to take him literally. And this is precisely what Bruce Fink does in this analysis of Lacan’s work on language and psychoanalytic treatment conducted on the basis of a reading of texts in his Écrits: A Selection. A work of unmatched subtlety, depth, and detail, providing a new perspective on one of the twentieth century’s most important thinkers.

Bruce Fink not only understands Lacan, he writes in a clear style, rendering the thought in an understandable way without sacrificing the complexity.

Slavoj Zizek

To read Lacan closely is to follow him to the letter, to take him literally, making the wager that he comes right out and says what he means in many cases, though much of his argument must be reconstructed through a line-by-line examination. And this is precisely what Bruce Fink does in this ambitious book, a fine analysis of Lacan’s work on language and psychoanalytic treatment conducted on the basis of a very close reading of texts in his Écrits: A Selection.

As a translator and renowned proponent of Lacan’s works, Fink is an especially adept and congenial guide through the complexities of Lacanian literature and concepts. He devotes considerable space to notions that have been particularly prone to misunderstanding, notions such as “the sliding of the signified under the signifier,” or that have gone seemingly unnoticed, such as “the ego is the metonymy of desire.” Fink also pays special attention to psychoanalytic concepts, like affect, that Lacan is sometimes thought to neglect, and to controversial concepts, like the phallus.

From a parsing of Lacan’s claim that “commenting on a text is like doing an analysis,” to sustained readings of “The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious,” “The Direction of the Treatment,” and “Subversion of the Subject” (with particular attention given to the Graph of Desire), Fink’s book is a work of unmatched subtlety, depth, and detail, providing a valuable new perspective on one of the twentieth century’s most important thinkers.

Lacan to the Letter

Bruce Fink is a practicing Lacanian psychoanalyst, analytic supervisor, and professor of psychology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He is the author of A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis (1997) and The Lacanian Subject (1995). He has coedited three volumes on Lacan’s seminars and is the translator of Lacan’s Seminar XX, On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits of Love and Knowledge (1998); Écrits: A Selection (2002); and Écrits: The Complete Text (forthcoming).

Lacan to the Letter

Bruce Fink not only understands Lacan, he writes in a clear style, rendering the thought in an understandable way without sacrificing the complexity.

Slavoj Zizek

Lacan to the Letter is a splendid attempt to clarify much of the confusion that surrounds Lacan’s obscure psychoanalytic writings. In a nutshell, this is a highly accessible and successful attempt to expatiate many of Lacan’s key technical writings. A must read for anyone interested in grasping Lacanian thought. Fink is arguably the leading expositor of Lacan in the English speaking world today.

Psychologist-Psychoanalyst