Seminar IV : The Object Relation & Freudian Structures 1956-1957 : begins 21st November 1956 : Jacques Lacan

by Julia Evans on November 21, 1956


In English : a translation is in process from unedited tapes – see below

In French : Livre IV, La Relation d’Objet, , 1956 to 1957 : Jacques Lacan : edited by Jacques-Alain Miller : Éditions du Seuil, Mars 1994

Jacques Lacan & Psychoanalytical Institutions – some context

Information at the end of this post and in notes : See ECp4 & ECp7 of here

Session dates with page numbers in the French edition [Fp] & availability in English translation [ECp]

Translation, a work in progress, by the Earl’s Court Collective : Alma Buholzer, Greg Hynds
,  Jesse Cohn, 
Julia Evans (

Seminar IV : Sessions 1 to 4 : Date May 2018 : Available here

  1. Seminar IV : 21st November 1956 – Fp11

Translation by Earl’s Court Collective : May 2018 : Available here


Notes & References for Jacques Lacan’s Seminar IV : 21st November 1956 by Julia Evans on 28th February, 2017 or here

Tracing Stages linked to Libido in Freud by Julia Evans on 24th October 2017 or here

Introduction to ‘The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess 1887-1904′ : 1950 : Ernst Kris or here


Clinical analysis : 1956 : Maurice Bouvet : See here

A Short Study of the Development of the Libido, Viewed in the Light of Mental Disorders : 1924 : Karl Abraham : See here

  1. Seminar IV : 28th November 1956 – Fp25

Translation by Earl’s Court Collective : May 2018 : Available here


Notes & references for Jacques Lacan’s Seminar IV : 28th November 1956 by Julia Evans on 2nd July 2017 or here

Some comments on ‘reality’ are included in the following post : Psychical reality in action (See here) by Julia Evans  on 18th September 2014

  1. Seminar IV : 5th December 1956 – Fp41

Translated by Earl’s Court Collective : May 2018 : Available here


Observation of a Phobia : December 1946 (London) : Anneliese Schnurmann or here

The early development of female sexuality : 1st September 1927 (Innsbruck) : Ernest Jones or here

Early Female Sexuality : 24th April 1935 : Ernest Jones or here

The Theory of Symbolism : 1916 : Ernest Jones or here

  1. Seminar IV : 12th December 1956 – Fp59

Translated by Earl’s Court Collective : May 2018 : Available here

Paragraph 14 : Love for the Mother and Mother Love : 1939 : Alice Balint or here

Jacques Lacan’s comment ‘Mr and Mrs Balint of love in which egotism and gift are perfectly reconcilable,’ refers to Preface to ‘Primary Love and Psycho-analytic Technique’ : April 1952 : Michael Balint : See here

Paragraph 17 & 47 : The Reality of the Object and Economic Point of View : 25th July 1955 (Geneva) : Francis Pasche & Michel Renard or here

Paragraph 43 : The case study which is examined : Observation of a Phobia : December 1946 (London) : Anneliese Schnurmann or here

Very probably The Theory of Symbolism : 1916 : Ernest Jones or here : near the end of this session.

  1. Seminar IV : 19th December 1956 – Fp77

Paragraph 2 : Clinical analysis : 1956 : Maurice Bouvet : See here

Paragraph 3 : Importance du rôle de la motricité : 13th November 1954 (Paris) : Pierre Marty & Michel Fain or here

Paragraph 21 : ‘written in Freud’s name on the distinction between the anaclitic relation and the narcissistic relation’ : On Narcissism – an Introduction : March 1914 : Sigmund Freud or here

Paragraph 34 : ‘someone such as Phyllis Greenacre, who seriously attempted to deal with the foundation of the fetishist relation in depth’ : Certain Relationships Between Fetishism and Faulty Development of the Body Image : 1953 : Phyllis Greenacre or here

Paragraph 37 : Here, there is the report from a session, written in 1933 or 1934, with all of the patient’s movements during the session, directed inasmuch as it manifests something which is the more or less manifest urge at more or less of a distance from the analyst, who is there behind her back.

See Perversion sexuelle transitoire au cours d’un traitement psychoanalytique (French only) : July 1955 (Geneva) : Ruth Lebovici or here  for notes and availability.

Paragraph 39 : There is nonetheless something rather striking here, even though this text was published since I wrote my Rome Report, and this proves that I forced nothing in saying that the practice of analysis, in a certain conception, was being reduced to this aim and to these psychological consequences.

See The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis (Rome) : 26th September 1953 : Jacques Lacan  or here. Note : There are two published items from the Rome Congress held at the Istituto di Psicologia della Università di Roma
on 26thand 27th September 1953. The first is the Rome Report, which is published in the Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan, see here,  and secondly, Discours de Rome et réponses aux interventions (Rome) : 26th September 1953 : Jacques Lacan: Information & availability in French here which is published in Autres Écrits: 2001 : Jacques Lacan or here.

Paragraph 39 : : It is clear that all that we know about the practice of courtly love, and the entire sphere in which it was localised in the Middle Ages, involves this sort of very rigorous technical elaboration of seduction, :

Recommended text : The Allegory of Love : Chapter 1 – Courtly Love : 1936 : C. S. Lewis or here

About EC p11 : There is precisely something of a turning point at this moment. It is this moment that produces the progressive reversal of the fantasy of observation, from being observed to being the one observing.

Probably a reference to A Child is Being Beaten : 1919 : S. Freud : trans. J. Strachey, SE: XVII, PFL Vol 10. : Published with English & German shown at Richard G. Klein’s site  & available here

  1. Seminar IV : 9th January 1957 – Fp95

Related Texts

Feminine Positions of Being : 1993 : Éric Laurent or here

For background reading of the debates on sexuality of the 1920s and 1930s, see Introduction – I to ‘Jacques Lacan & the École Freudienne: Feminine Sexuality’: 1982 : Juliet Mitchell or here


Introduction – II to ‘Jacques Lacan & the École Freudienne: Feminine Sexuality’: 1982: Jacqueline Rose or here


Paragraph 4 : The infantile genital organization: An interpolation into the theory of sexuality : 1923e : Sigmund Freud

Paragraph 7 : Probably The First Pregenital Stage of the Libido : 1916 : Karl Abraham or here

Paragraph 10 & 12 : The early development of female sexuality : 1st September 1927 (Innsbruck) : Ernest Jones or here

Paragraph 12 : On the Genesis of the Castration Complex in Women : September 1922 (Berlin) : Karen Horney or  here

Paragraph 18 : psychotherapeutic interventions like, for example, the one I quickly mentioned to you regarding the little girl who was in the hands of a student of Anna Freud’s, : See Observation of a Phobia : December 1946 (London) : Anneliese Schnurmann or here 

Paragraph 26 : See The Psychogenesis of a Case of Homosexuality in a Woman: 1920: Sigmund Freud or here 

Paragraph 34 : Sigmund Freud: Fragment of an analysis of a case of hysteria (‘Dora’): 1901 [1905] : SE VII p7-114 : Available from Richard G. Klein’s website or here

  1. Seminar IV : 16th January 1957 – Fp111
  2. Seminar IV : 23rd January 1957 – Fp131
  3. Seminar IV : 30th January 1957- Fp151

Manifestations of the Female Castration Complex : 1920 : Karl Abrahams : See here

Probably The Concept of Dread (Anxiety) : 1844: Søren Kierkegaard : See here : Originally published as : THE CONCEPT OF DREAD: A simple psychological deliberation oriented in the direction of the dogmatic problem of original sin By Vigilius Haufniensis

  1. Seminar IV : 6th February 1957 – Fp165
  2. Seminar IV : 27th February 1957 – Fp179

Fp193 reference 8 of Shame, an old-fashioned affect? : (Paris) November 2009 : Jean-Luc Monnier or here

  1. Seminar IV : 6th March 1957 – Fp199
  2. Seminar IV : 13th March 1957 – Fp215
  3. Seminar IV : 20th March 1957 – Fp231
  4. Seminar IV : 27th March 1957 – Fp249
  5. Seminar IV : 3rd April 1957 – Fp269
  6. Seminar IV : 10th April 1957 – Fp285
  7. Seminar IV : 8th May 1957 – Fp303
  8. Seminar IV : 15th May 1957 – Fp319
  9. Seminar IV : 22nd May 1957 – Fp337
  10. Seminar IV : 5th June 1957 – Fp353
  11. Seminar IV : 19th June 1957 – Fp371
  12. Seminar IV : 26th June 1957 – Fp381
  13. Seminar IV : 3rd July 1957 – Fp411-435

End Note – some context

Jacques Lacan & Psychoanalytical Institutions

Object Relations theory (from here) : The initial line of thought emerged in 1917 with Sandor Ferenczi and, later in the 1920s, Otto Rank, coiner of the term “pre-Oedipal,”. British psychologists Melanie Klein, Donald Winnicott, Harry Guntrip, Scott Stuart, and others extended object relations theory during the 1940s and 1950s. Ronald Fairbairn in 1952 independently formulated his theory of object relations.

Within the London psychoanalytic community, a conflict of loyalties took place between Klein and object relations theory (sometimes referred to as “id psychology”), and Anna Freud and ego psychology. In America, Anna Freud heavily influenced American psychoanalysis in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. American ego psychology was furthered in the works of Hartmann, Kris, Loewenstein, Rapaport, Erikson, Jacobson, and Mahler. In London, those who refused to choose sides were termed the “middle school,” whose members included Michael Balint and D.W. Winnicott.

1932 to 1938 : Dr Rudolph Loewenstein was Jacques Lacan’s training analyst. Born in Poland, Loewenstein would emigrate to New York during the War, where he would be a principal proponent of ego psychology.

1934 : Joined the Société Psychoanalytique de Paris

1936 : Presented paper on the ‘mirror stage’ to the International Psychoanalytic Congress in Marienbad (Information here )

Until 1952 : Distinguished member of the French psychoanalytic establishment

1953 :

From Wikipedia : Société Française de Psychanalyse : Despite wishing himself to avoid a split, Lacan was drawn into the dissident movement led by Daniel Lagache, as a result of his own separate dispute with the president Sacha Nacht over his practice of “short sessions”.

8th July 1953 : Conference Report, SIR : Inaugural meeting of SFP, Paris : 8th July 1953 : Jacques Lacan or here This was the first so-called scientific presentation of the new Societé Française de Psychanalyse (French Psychoanalytic Society), which had just resulted from the split that occurred in the French psychoanalytic movement.

14th July 1953 : Letter to Rudolf Loewenstein : 14th July 1953 : Jacques Lacan or here Rudolf Loewenstein was also the analyst of the two other principles referred to in this letter, Sacha Nacht and Daniel Lagache. Daniel Lagache, a psychoanalyst and Sorbonne professor, was a proponent of integrating psychoanalysis into a general theory of psychology. He saw in the University the institutional ethos best suited for guiding the organization of the practice of psychoanalysis

21st July 1953 : Letter to Heinz Hartmann : 21st July 1953 : Jacques Lacan or here

30th July 1953 : Minutes of the meeting of the International Psychoanalytical Association : 30th July 1953 : Dr Heinz Hartmann (IPA President & Chairman of the Meeting) . An analysis of the emergent themes here Many of those critiqued in Seminars I & II, were present & active at this meeting. Dr Rudolph Loewenstein, tried to find a way through supported by Dr Paula Heimann & others. Miss Anna Freud & Dr Sacha Nacht, supported by Dr Ernest Jones & Princess Marie Bonaparte seem to lead the attack.

26th September 1953 : Following the lecture in July 1953, Lacan set about writing the report that he was to present in Rome two months later at the first congress of the new society and which was epoch-making (Rome Report (Autres Écrits) : Also known as ‘The function and field of speech in psychoanalysis’ :  September 1953 (Écrits) : see here for information & availability.

18th November 1953 : Seminar I begins

17th November 1954 : Seminar II begins.

1955 René Spitz’s text The Primal Cavity : a contribution to the genesis of perception and its role for psychoanalytic theory : 1955 : René Spitz is published. Jacques Lacan refers to this on ECp4 of 21st November 1956 (See here) & ECp5 of 28th November 1956 (See here)

1955 to 1956 : There seems to be reference in 28th November 1956 to Wilhelm Reich.

1956 Fetishism: The Symbolic, the Imaginary and the Real : 1956 : Lacan Jacques and Wladimir Granoff : See here] is published. Wladimir Granoff asked a question at Conference Report, SIR : Inaugural meeting of SFP, Paris : 8th July 1953 : Jacques Lacan : See here

I hope to update this note.

21st November 1956 : Seminar IV begins.

In the first session, La psychanalyse d’aujourd’hui : 1956 : a collection under the direction of Sacha Nacht is criticised by Jacques Lacan [See here for further information.] The whole seminar is returning ‘object relations’ from the certainties emerging with the ego psychologists to the structures as proposed by Sigmund Freud. Jacques Lacan also comments on Sigmund Freud’s fifth case study ‘Little Hans’

Julia Evans

Further posts:

Some Lacanian history : here

Of the clinic : here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud : here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

Jacques Lacan in English or here

Translation Working Group here

Use of power here

By Greg Hynds : here

By Julia Evans : here