Cormac Gallagher – Jacques Lacan’s Summary of the Seminar of 1966-1967 (Year Book of the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes

THE LETTER 15 (Spring 1999) pages 90-96

The seminar on The Logic of Phantasy was held during the academic year following the publication of Lacan’s Ecrits. It has not been published in French and to the best of my knowledge the only English version available is the privately circulated translation produced and worked through by a group in St Vincent’s Hospital in 1997-1998.

Students seeking guidance in the reading of the seminar will find some in Jacques Nassifs Pour une Logicque du Phantasme which appeared in 1970 in issue 2/3 of Scilicet. An earlier version of this article had been presented at the seminar on the psychoanalytic act and had been warmly praised by Lacan.

However, Lacan’s own summary of the seminar, written for the yearbook of the institution under whose auspices it was held, must have a special place in its correct interpretation. This is an extremely condensed and labyrinthine piece of work that like many of Lacan’s scripta makes no concessions to the reader. The translation has attempted to follow Lacan’s text as closely as possible and for that reason may appear to be equally impenetrable.

When it was presented at the Congress the summary was accompanied by a rather detailed commentary which made it somewhat more palatable. We decided to offer it here unadorned in order to allow readers an uncluttered opportunity of seeing what they can make of the only published version of this very significant element of Lacan’s work


My return to Freud brings each of you up against the void central to the field that he, and no less those who work in it, sets up. …

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