Seminar V : The Formations of the Unconscious : 1957-1958 : begins 6th November 1957 : Jacques Lacan

by Julia Evans on November 6, 1957

(i) Translated by Cormac Gallagher – Referred to as (CG)

Published on

Available here

(ii) Edited by Jacques-Alain Miller, Translated by Russell Grigg – Referred to as (RG)

Title : Formations of the Unconscious, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book V

Published by Polity Press, 2017

Please Note :

Was the Dream of the Butcher’s Wife examined on 9th April or 30th April 1958?

In Russell Grigg’s translation, edited by Jacques-Alain Miller, (Polity Press 2017) Chapter 20, from p355, is titled ‘The Dream by the Butcher’s Beautiful Wife’. There is no session dated the 9th April. The beginning of sessions 23rd April 1958 & 16th April 1958 are clearly translations of the same material, though the beginning of Cormac Gallagher’s translation of 16th April 1958 has a diagram which is omitted from the Russell Grigg translation. Cormac Gallagher’s 9th April 1958 originates from the same material as Russell Grigg’s 30th April 1958. JE will try and ascertain which order is historically correct. Later : As Easter Sunday was on Sunday 6th April, it would appear that the date in the Russell Grigg translation is probably correct


Development of ‘The Graph of Desire’

Dates of Sessions & page numbers in both translations with notes/references


Further texts

Development of ‘The Graph of Desire’

Jacques-Alain Miller in the published edition of Seminar V, translated by Russell Grigg, gives the origin of the graph of desire and an explanation of these schemas. From p517 of this translation : Editor’s note : The schema constructed over the course of this Seminar (‘the graph of desire’) acquired its definitive form in ‘Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire’, written in 1962(?). See The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire (Royaumont): 19th to 23rd September 1960: Jacques Lacan or here or Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan or here

For the first part of Seminar V, Lacan refers to ‘The Instance of the Letter’, a text from May 1957. See The Agency (Insistence or Instance) of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason since Freud (Sorbonne, Paris) : 9th May 1957 : Jacques Lacan or here  : Published in Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan : Information here

Following the first seven chapters of this Seminar (From session 8th January 1958, p101 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation), over December and January, Lacan wrote, ‘On a Question Prior to any Possible Question of Psychosis’. See On a question preliminary to any possible treatment of psychosis : 1958 : Jacques Lacan or here : Published in Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan : Information here

Lacan wrote ‘The Youth of Gide’ (See Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan : Information here) over the February vacation and it was published in April. (The Youth of Gide, or the Letter and Desire. Time-line : This article was published in Critique CXXXI (1958): p291-315) One finds an echo of it in session of 5th March 1958 (p181 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation).

From 5th March 1958 to 23rd April 1958 (inclusive), as well as the session of 7th May 1958, are influenced by the prospect of the public lecture that Lacan was to give in Munich on 9th May called ‘The Signification of the Phallus’. See The Meaning (or Signification) of the Phallus (Munich): 9th May 1958 : Jacques Lacan or here : Published in Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan : Information here.

Finally, the last part coincides with ‘The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power’, a paper presented at Royaumont in July. See The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power:10th-13th July 1958 : Jacques Lacan or here : Published in Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan : Information here.

Further references:

Jacques-Alain Miller : Commentaries on the graphs & Classified index of the major concepts : 1966 : Information here

Published in Écrits, a selection (Jacques Lacan) : 1977 : Alan Sheridan : Information here

Note : Lacan develops the graph, in the later section of this Seminar, on

p288 of Seminar V : 14th May 1958, Cormac Gallagher’s translation &

p301 of Seminar V : 21st May 1958, Cormac Gallagher’s translation &

p311 of Seminar V : 4th June 1958, Cormac Gallagher’s translation &

p324 of Seminar V : 11th June 1958, Cormac Gallagher’s translation &

p325 of Seminar V : 11th June 1958, Cormac Gallagher’s translation &

p341 of Seminar V : 18th June 1958, Cormac Gallagher’s translation &

p356 & 357 & 358 of Seminar V : 25th June 1958, Cormac Gallagher’s translation

Date of Sessions

It is intended to add references & commentaries as available

(RG/J-AM) The Freudian Structure of Wit

  1. Seminar V : 6th November 1957 : p1 (CG)
  2. The Famillionaire : p3 (RG/J-AM)
  3. Seminar V : 13th November 1957 : p15 (CG)
  4. The Fat-millionaire : p20 (RG/J-AM)
  5. Seminar V : 20th November 1957 : p30 (CG)

III. The Miglionaire : p39 (RG/J-AM)

  1. Seminar V : 27th November 1957 : p45 (CG)
  2. The Golden Calf : p57 (RG/J-AM)
  3. Seminar V : 4th December 1957 : p59 (CG)
  4. A Bit-of Sense and the Step-of-Sense : p74 (RG/J-AM)
  5. Seminar V : 11th December 1957 : p72 (CG)
  6. Whoah, Neddy! : p91 (RG/J-AM)
  7. Seminar V : 18th December 1957 : p86 (CG)

VII. Une Femme de Non-Recevoir, or: A Flat Refusal : p109 (RG/J-AM)

(RG/J-AM) The Logic of Castration

  1. Seminar V : 8th January 1958 : p101 (CG)

VIII. Foreclosure of the Name-of-the-Father : p129 (RG/J-AM)

  1. Seminar V : 15th January 1958 : p114 (CG)
  2. The Paternal Metaphor : P145 (RG/J-AM)
  3. Seminar V : 22nd January 1958 : p128 (CG)
  4. The Three Moments of the Oedipus Complex (I) : p163 (RG/J-AM)
  5. Seminar V : 29th January 1958 : p141 (CG)
  6. The Three Moments of the Oedipus Complex (II) : p181 (RG/J-AM)
  7. Seminar V : 5th February 1958 : p153 (CG)

XII. From Image to Signifier – in Pleasure and in Reality : p197 (RG/J-AM)

  1. Seminar V : 12th February 1958 : p167 (CG)

XIII. Fantasy, Beyond the Pleasure Principle : p216 (RG/J-AM)


The Phallic Phase : given in Wiesbaden on 4th September 1932 [1933] : Ernest Jones : Information & availability here

Otto Rank “Perversions and Neuroses”, Papers on Psychoanalysis, Vol 4, part III.

p167 (CG) A Child is Being Beaten : 1919 : S. Freud : trans. J. Strachey, SE: XVII, PFL Vol 10.

Published with both English & German shown at & available here . No longer available, but copies, in English, exist on the internet.

(RG/J-AM) The Significance of the Phallus

  1. Seminar V : 5th March 1958 : p181 (CG)

XIV. Desire and Jouissance : p235 (RG/J-AM)

  1. Seminar V : 12th March 1958 : p195 (CG)
  2. The Girl and the Phallus : p253 (RG/J-AM)
  3. Seminar V : 19th March 1958 : p209 (CG)

XVI. Insignias of the Ideal : p270 (RG/J-AM)

  1. Seminar V : 26th March 1958 : p221 (CG)

XVII. The Formulas of Desire : p285 (RG/J-AM)

  1. Seminar V : 9th April 1958 : p233 (CG)

As Easter Sunday was on 6th April 1958, it is more likely that this session was on 30th April as given in Russell Grigg’s translation. See Seminar V : 30th April below for notes and references.

  1. Seminar V : 16th April 1958 : p246 (CG)

XVIII. Symptoms and Their Masks : p300 (RG/J-AM)

CGp246 Analysis Terminable & Interminable: 1937c : Sigmund Freud

CGp255  : Probably The Primal Cavity : a contribution to the genesis of perception and its role for psychoanalytic theory : 1955 : René Spitz : See here for availability

  1. Seminar V : 23rd April 1958 : p258 (CG)

XIX. Signifier, Bar and Phallus : p315 (RG/J-AM)

(RG/J-AM) The Dialectic of desire and Demand in the Clinical Study and Treatment of the Neuroses


Seminar V : 30th April 1958 : p233 (CG) – see 9th April above

  1. The Dream by the Butcher’s Beautiful Wife : p333 (RG/J-AM)

p238 : The Dream of the Butcher’s Wife from Interpretation of Dreams…. See The Interpretation of Dreams: 1st November 1899 (published as 1900): Sigmund Freud or here

P241 : Group Psychology …. Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego : 1921 : Sigmund Freud : SEXVIII p69-143


  1. Seminar V : 7th May 1958 : p271 (CG)

XXI. The ‘Still Waters Run Deep’ Dreams : p350 (RG/J-AM)

  1. Seminar V : 14th May 1958 : p284 (CG)

XXII. The Other’s Deasire : p366 (RG/J-AM)

  1. Seminar V : 21st May 1958 : p298 (CG)

XXIII. The Obsessional and His Desire : p383 (RG/J-AM)

  1. Seminar V : 4th June 1958 : p311 (CG)

XXIV. Transference and Suggestion : p400 (RG/J-AM)

  1. Seminar V : 11th June 1958 : p324 (CG)

XXV. The Signification of the Phallus in the Treatment : p415 (RG/J-AM)

  1. Seminar V : 18th June 1958 : p339 (CG)

XXVI. The Circuits of Desire : p432 (RG/J-AM)


P339 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : The therapeutic effect of inexact interpretation : a contribution to the theory of suggestion : October 1931 : Edward Glover : Availability here

  1. Seminar V : 25th June 1948 : p352 (CG)

XXVII. Exiting via the Symptom : p448 (RG/J-AM)

  1. Seminar V : 2nd July 1958 : p367 (CG)

XXVIII. You are the One You Hate p465 (RG/J-AM)


Seminar V : 16th April 1958

* This passage is published on p255 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation:

In Seminar 5, on April 16th 1958, Lacan evoked the form of communication that occurs during this very early childhood. The first true form of communication that takes place between the child and his mother is laughter. Anyone who has observed a child in its first few months will agree, said Lacan, children laugh way before they can speak. And this laughter has to do with what lies beyond the mere presence of the mother standing before the child insofar as the child knows that the presence can bring satisfaction. This familiar presence that the child knows is capable of satisfying his needs is “called upon, perceived, recognized” before the child can speak, in the very special code made up of his first bouts of laughter”[3].  in Le Séminaire livre V, Les formations de l’inconscient, Paris, Seuil, 1998, Fp. 331. : quoted in There is no Clowning about it : by France Jaigu : January 7th, 2018 : LRO : or here


Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst, Earl’s Court, London


Further posts:

Of the clinic here

Case studies here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here