Intervention on the Transference (Paris): Seminar on ‘Dora’ – 1950-1951: October 16th 1951: Jacques Lacan

by Julia Evans on October 16, 1951

Intervention on the Transference (Paris): October 16th, 1951

Presented, by Jacques Lacan, to the Congress of Romance-language psychoanalysts: Paris: on 16th October 1951.


Lacan’s main ambition during the 1950s consisted in the recovery of the roots of psychoanalysis, in order to tailor its contemporary practice to the sphere of the subject. This ambition was initially realized through a detailed re-reading of Freud’s case-studies and his papers on technique (See Seminar I: Freud’s papers on technique: 1953-1954 : begins on 18th November 1953 : Jacques Lacan or here)

Between 1950 and 1953, Lacan conducted seminars on Freud’s case-studies of Dora (Freud : 1901). The Wolf Man (Freud :1914) and the Rat Man (Freud :  1909) at his house in Paris, the text of which remains unpublished except for a small excerpt from the Wolf Man seminar originally published in Italian (Lacan 1951- 1952 : Seminario su “L’uomo dei lupi” : translated by Alberto Turolla : La psicoanalisi : Vol 6 : 1989 : p9 – 12 : Available here : Published by Lacan’s seminar on Dora did provide the backdrop for his 1951 paper ‘Intervention on Transference’ (For availability see below), and his seminar on the Rat Man informed his 1953 text ‘The Neurotic’s Individual Myth’. (See The Neurotic’s Individual Myth : 1953 : Jacques Lacan or here)

(Adapted from p1 & 5 of Jacques Lacan and the Freudian Practice of Psychoanalysis : 2000 : by Dany Nobus : Routledge)

Reference to Dora:

Sigmund Freud: Fragment of an analysis of a case of hysteria (‘Dora’): 1901: SE vol VII: p1-122 or Penguin Freud Library: Vol 8 – Case Histories I: 1990: p31-166

Congress of Romance-Language Psychoanalysts

For a history of this conference, I recommend the notes titled: Congrès des Psychanalystes de Langue Française des Pays Romans: published by and available here

Published in English

1)  p61 – 73  of ‘Jacques Lacan & the École Freudienne: Feminine Sexuality': Eds Juliet Mitchell & Jacqueline Rose : 1982: Macmillan

Translated by Jacqueline Rose and available here

Further Information : Editor’s Preface, Bibliography  Availability of Bibliography, Editor’s Preface, etc : Commentaries & Information from ‘Jacques Lacan & the École Freudienne: Feminine Sexuality’ : 1982 : Juliet Mitchell and Jacqueline Rose or here

2) Reprinted in Charles Bernheimer and Claire Kahane (eds): 1985: In Doras’s case, Freud-Hysteria-Feminism: Columbia University Press, New York

Introduction: Intervention on the Transference: from Mitchell & Rose (Eds):

Presented to the Congress of Romance-language psychoanalysts in 1951, ‘Intervention on Transference’ emerged out of Lacan’s seminar on Freud’s first full-length case-study of an hysterical patient (“Dora’, Freud, VII, 1905), which he conducted when he was a member of the Société psychanalytique de Paris. It was published in the Revue française de psychanalyse, the journal of the Society, in 1952.The article is a perfect example of that return to, and critical re-reading of, Freud’s works which is characteristic of Lacan’s work as a whole. It also represents a decisive moment in French psychoanalytic history, in that it was Lacan’s insistence that such critical investigation should have a central place in analytic training, separate from the administrative section of the Society, which was one of the precipitating factors behind the split in the Society in 1953. Lacan, together with a number of analysts, resigned in that year, and founded the Société française de psychanalyse under the presidency of Daniel Lagache.

Lacan engages here, therefore, with the institution of psychoanalysis – criticcally, and at a number of different levels. Fristly, in his development of the concept of the ego, of both analyst and patient, which he identifies as the point of resistance to the analytic treatment, against those theories which see the integration of the ego as the objective of the psychoanalytic process. And secondly, in his re-opening of a case, in which the demands of the analyst (here, Freud himself) c an be seen to block the treatment at the crucial point of its encounter with the problem of sexual identity.

The article is important for our purposes in that it immediately raises the problem of femininity as an issue which goes beyond the normative expectations of the analyst. It also calls into question that psychoanalysis is instituted by revealing the irreducible difficulty, or impasse, of the intersubjective dialogue within which its clinical practice operates.

3) Translation by Bruce Fink

Published: ‘Écrits: the first complete edition in English’, W.W. Norton & Company, 2006 : Availability given  Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan or here

Title: Presentation on Transference

Introduction: 1966: Jacques Lacan:p177 of Écrits: the first complete edition in English

Given at the 1951 Congress of “Romance Language-Speaking Psychoanalysts”

My goal here again was to accustom people’s ears to the term “subject” .  The person who provided me with this opportunity shall remain anonymous, which will spare me the task of mentioning all the passages in which I refer to him in what follow.

Were the question of the part Freud played in the case of Dora to be considered here, it would be the net profit of my efforts to reinitiate the study of transference when Daniel Lagache’s paper by that name came out, his originality being to account for it by means of the Zeigarnik effect. (endnote [i]) It was an idea that was designed to please at a time when psychoanalysis seemed to be running out of alibis.

When our colleague, who shall remain nameless, discretely retorted to Lagache that one could equally well find evidence of transference in this effect, I considered the time ripe to speak of psychoanalysis.

I have had to temper my expectations, since I also suggested a good deal here that I articulated later on the subject of transference. (1966)

4)  Published in French: Intervention sur le transfer

a) Revue française de psychanalyse: 1952

b)  p215-226 of Lacan: Écrits: Paris Seuil: 1966

[i] In short, this consists of the psychological effect produced by an unfinished task when it leaves a Gestalt in abeyance – for instance, that of the generally felt need to resolve a musical phrase.

Further information

Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan or here

Autres Écrits: 2001 : Jacques Lacan or here

Posts for the “Lacan Jacques” category : Available here

Posts for the “Freud Sigmund”category : Available here

Posts for the “Dreams” category : Available here

Posts for the “Topology and the Lacanian clinic” category : Available here

Posts for the ‘Lacanian Transmission’ category are available here