Cormac Gallagher – Where was Jacques Lacan in 1971-72 – …ou pire and The Knowledge of the Psychoanalyst

THE LETTER 30 Spring 2004, pages 1-18


In a recent review of an exhaustive study on The Smiths – a 1970’s band – the writer remarks: “This is not a book for anoraks – it’s a book for anoraks with furry trims”.

Something similar might be said about the texts I am going to discuss in this paper – the seminar with the curious title of …ou -pire, and the series of talks called The knowledge of the psychoanalyst. Many Lacanians have gone to their graves, and many more will, without ever having opened them. They have not been officially edited or published in French and so one has to search around to find unattributed pirate editions or those that have been put together for private use by different associations.

Our group at St Vincent’s spent the academic year 2002-2003 translating and reading them following out a long-term project of making available at least a basic version of the Lacan seminars that have not been officially translated into English – so far our tally stands at thirteen.

…ou pire – the three dots at the beginning are important and they are followed by a conjunction and an adverb ‘or worse’ – is the 19th in Lacan’s series of annual seminars and he will eventually make it to number twenty six. He talks more and more of the fact that he is reaching the end of his teaching career if not of his life and this is what pushes him all the more towards what Roudinesco calls ‘the search for the absolute’. This seminar follows Semblance and anticipates Encore – which is…


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