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Writings on Psychoanalysis: Freud and Lacan

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Overview

A prominent member of the French structuralist movement, Louis Althusser was influential for reinvigorating Marxist thought in France in the 196Os with celebrated works such as For Marx and Reading Capital. Yet many readers are not as familiar with the profound impact of psychoanalysis on Althusser's life and work. Writings on Psychoanalysis gathers, for the first time, Althusser's major essays on psychoanalytic thought. The volume begins with Freud and Lacan, which lays the groundwork for comprehending Althusser's entry into psychoanalysis. Letters to D. was the result of Althusser's fervent reading of Rene Diatkine's paper "Aggressiveness and Fantasies of Aggression," years before Diatkine was his psychoanalyst. Invited by Leon Chertok to participate in the "International Symposium on the Unconscious," at the Tbilisi colloquium, the chapter The Tbilisi Affair presents Althusser's essay "The Discovery of Dr. Freud." The chapter In the Name of the Analysands... reprints Althusser's "Open Letter to Analysands and Analysts in Solidarity with Jacques Lacan," written the day after the famous meeting on the dissolution of the Ecole Freudienne de Paris. Characterizing Lacan as a "magnificent and pitiful Harlequin," the 'open letter' relates Althusser's untimely outburst at that assembly and the "spectacular and violent intervention he subsequently made in the presence of Lacan." The volume closes with the correspondence between Althusser and Lacan, detailing their first and last meetings with each other and the launching of one of the central alliances of contemporary French thought.
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Editorial Reviews

European Journal of Social Theory

... tackles topics and problems which are not at all over and done with in the human sciences, namely the relation between philosphy (theory) and (the human) science(s), a theory of historical, non-linear temporality and a theory of the 'decentred' subject... the theses and thoughts unfolded... testify to an exceedingly fertile appropriation of Freud, the long-term effect of which has yet to be assessed.

Boston Book Review

Splendidly brought together and presented.... a fascinating group of historical documents.... Revealing.

Perry Meisel
Althusser's writings on psychoanalysis have now been collected in a single volume in English. . . Includes his legendary 1964 essay, 'Freud and Lacan, ' as well as two additional essays, some speeches and a selection of his correspondence with Lacan.
Boston Book Review
Splendidly brought together and presented . . . . a fascinating group of historical documents. . . . Revealing.
European Journal of Social Theory
. . . tackles topics and problems which are not at all over and done with in the human sciences, namely the relation between philosphy (theory and (the human science(s, a theory of historical, non-linear temporality and a theory of the 'decentred' subject. . . the theses and thoughts unfolded. . . testify to an exceedingly fertile appropriation of Freud, the long-term effect of which has yet to be assessed.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Louis Althusser (1918-1990) is the author of For Marx, Reading Capital (with Etienne Balibar), Essays in Self Criticism, and other works.

Columbia University Press

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