In this Modern Master on Jacques Lacan (1901-81), Malcolm Bowie presents a clear, coherent introduction to the work of one of the most influential and forbidding thinkers of our century. A practising psychoanalyst for almost 50 years, Lacan first achieved notoriety with his pioneering article on Freud in the 1930s. After the Second World War, he emerged as the most original and controversial figure in French psychoanalysis, and because a guiding light in the Parisian intellectual resurgence of the 1950s, Lacan initiated and subsequently steered the crusade to reinterpret Freud's work in the light of the new structuralist theories of linguistics, evolving an elaborate, dense, systematic analysis of the relations between language and desire, focusing on the human subject as he or she is defined by linguistic and social pressures. His lectures and articles were collected and published as Ecrits in 1966, a text whose influence has been immense and persists to this day. Knowledge of Lacan's revolutionary ideas, which underpin those of his successors across the disciplines, is useful to an understanding of the work of many modern thinkers - literary theoriest, linguists, psychoanalysts, anthropologists. Malcolm Bowie's accessible critical introduction provides the perfect starting point for any exploration of the work of this formidable thinker.
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This is an astonishing feat of exposition, clear, judicious and economical in argument, and written with an elegance one would not have believed possible on so intractable a subject. Having read Bowie, one can revisit Lacan buoyed up by the conviction that he is a psychoanalytical thinker absolutely worth tangling with, a genuine enlarger of the mind and not a fly-by-night showman. Lacan is here thoroughly elucidated without being made simple, the elucidator having invested his intellectual all in being equally fair to the tortuosities of his subject and the needs of his readers. -- John Sturrock "London Review of Books"About the Author:
Malcolm Bowie is Master of Christ's College, Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature, an Honorary Member of the Modern Language Association of America, and an Officier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques. His books include Mallarme and the Art of Being Difficult; Freud, Proust and Lacan: Theory as Fiction; Lacan; and Proust among the Stars, which was a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 1999 and won the 2001 Truman Capote Prize for Literary Criticism.
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