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July 05 , 2009

Jacques Lacan

A Critical Introduction


The wide-ranging and brilliant ideas of the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan have had a major influence on twentieth and twenty-first century thought. His ‘followers’ are loyal and legion. Yet his ideas are complex and were conveyed in a dense and abstract form. Lacan’s detractors have accused him of obscurantism, pretentiousness and even incoherence. His psychoanalytic practice and his personal life were complicated too. He was famous and contentious in equal measure.

Martin Murray provides a lucid account of Lacan’s key concepts, tracing their origins in his diverse interests: art, psychiatry, philosophy, anthropology, linguistics and (of course) psychoanalysis. Murray also investigates Lacan’s professional life, personal life and institutional influence in an attempt to understand the charismatic and controversial person he became. The investigation uncovers a uniquely ‘split’ and contradictory figure whose life and work is best understood ‘in easy pieces’.

The book offers a critical, biographical and historical introduction to Lacan that is accessible, incisive and rigorous. It encourages an appreciation of both Lacan’s life and his thought and will be a welcome addition to the existing literature.
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