Paul Verhaeghe – Subject and Body – Lacan’s Struggle with the Real

THE LETTER 17 (Autumn 1999) pages 79-119

It is not to his conscience that the subject is condemned, it is to his body


Study of Lacan’s  work  may start  from  two different points of view. Either   one  considers that  everything is there,  right  from the  start, thus considering the  rest  of his work  as one  long  elaboration.  The  standard example of  this  approach lies  with  the  Freud  scholars who  include the whole of his  theory in his early  Project for a Scientific  Psychology. Or  one considers his  theory and  teaching as a ‘work  in  progress’ marked by  an evolution  which  contains drastic   changes.      Both   approaches  can   be defended.  I have  opted for the second  one, which  does  not  mean  that  we will not be confronted with the first option …

From  this point  of view, Lacan’s  theory  concerning the relationship between body   and   subject  can  be  divided in  three   periods, each   one demonstrating a certain evolution in his work as such. …

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