Sarah McCauley – Book Review – Lacan For Beginners by D. Leader and J. Groves

THE LETTER 13 (Summer 1998) pages 128-129

In Lacan for Beginners, Darian Leader has made a Trojan attempt to condense the mighty corpus of Lacan’s life’s work into a entertaining concoction suitable for general consumption. This is the formula of the excellent Icon books series, their wide appeal being the ability to wed distilled knowledge to a cartoon-like format, without pretending to be other than what they really are – an aperitif.

In fact, the imaginative illustrations by Judy Groves uncannily portray Lacan as he really was, a larger than life character reminiscent of the heroes and villains of D.C. comics fame.

Opening with a brief biographical sketch, Leader firmly situates Lacan’s influences in the intellectual milieu of Pre-war Paris, but acknowledges his grounding in the French Psychiatric tradition. The core of the book is revealed in its cover illustration, in Lacan’s fascination with how the human infant comes into being as a desiring subject. The genesis of the ego is outlined as a central theoretical preoccupation of both Freud and Lacan, the disjointed images of the fragmented body silently cautioning us of the concept’s own theoretical primitiveness. …


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