Why Was Lacan Not An 'Author'?


Why Was Lacan Not An 'Author'?

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In “What is an Author?” Michel Foucault expanded his concept of “author” when coining the concept of “inventors of discursivity,” among whom Freud and Marx figure preeminently.

A “return” to their texts transforms the discursive practices governing their fields; if founders of discursivity cannot be accused of error, their texts and theories demand constant reactivation. According to this definition, Freud was the only author in the field of psychoanalysis, and Lacan seems to agree with this view: his role would be that of a reader or a translator doubling as a critical commentator. Lacan’s “return to Freud” never entailed respectful imitation, for it combined literalist re-readings with creative rewritings.

Jean- Michel will start from the presentation of Scilicet, a journal launched by Lacan in which he was the only one to sign anything in order to probe further the distinction between the concepts of “author,” “discourse,” and “signature.” Jean- Michel will also allude to authors discussed by Lacan such as Marguerite Duras, James Joyce and André Gide to explore how Lacan aimed at producing a writing that would be capable of knotting a sinthome, and how writing became one of the most important concepts of his later seminars.


  • Professor Jean- Michel Rabaté
    Professor Jean- Michel Rabaté, Professor of English and Comparative Literature