Lacan’s Doctoral Thesis: Tturbulent Preface or Founding Legend?

This paper presents a close reading of Lacan’s doctoral thesis with a view to disentangling the reality of Lacan’s thought in 1932 from the glosses of retrospection imposed on it by its republication in 1975. At this time Lacan was at the height of his fame as the most innovative psychoanalyst of the twentieth century and the complexities and rough edges of this work were smoothed by many commentators to create the impression of a simple developmental curve. It is hoped that this close reading will allow the reader to assess both Lacan’s neophyte status at the time and the early indications of what were to become lifelong preoccupations in his later psychoanalytic work.

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