Seminar XIX: The Psychoanalyst’s Knowledge – Seven Talks at St Anne’s Hospital : 1971-1972: Jacques Lacan

by Julia Evans on November 4, 1971


History of publication & availability

Dates, Page number & Notes and References

Quotes from this text

Further texts

History of publication & availability

Also known as ‘Seminar XIXa : The Savoir of the Psychoanalyst’

Jacques-Alain Miller, 2011 : notes : Having been invited to deliver a series of monthly seminars for junior psychiatrists at the Sainte-Anne Hospital in Paris, Lacan chose the title The Psychoanalyst’s Knowledge. Some of his pupils, perhaps inspired by reading Bataille, had at the time been waving the banner of ‘non-knowledge’.

While the first three of these ‘entretiens’, as Lacan called them, corresponded roughly to his initial idea, the next four revolved around questions that were being discussed in his main seminar held in the Law Faculty on the Place du Panthéon under the title …or Worse (…ou Pire).

I have respected this caesura by inserting these four sessions in their chronological position in Book XIX of the Seminar, where they would have beena conspicuous omission had they not been included. The first three talks, on the other hand, would be distracting there, and so I have grouped them together in this short book.

They were delivered in the hospital chapel on 4th November 1971, 2nd December 1971 and 6th January 1972. : pvii to viii of Talking to Brick Walls, A Series of Presentations in the Chapel at Sainte-Anne Hospital : Jacques Lacan : Translated by Adrian Price (AP/J-AM) : Polity Press 2017 : Originally published as Je parle aux murs, Entretiens de la chapelle de Sainte-Anne : Éditions du Seuil, 2011

Published & Availability

Seminar XIX: session of 3rd March 1972

Title: 3 March 1972, The Knowledge of the Psychoanalyst,

Translated by Denise Green

Published in Semiotext 10, vol. 4, 1, 1981.

If anyone has a copy of this translation, Julia Evans would be most interested to read it. Thank you.

- Seminar XIX: session of 4th June 1972

Title: The Savoir of the Psychoanalyst, Seminar of 4/6/72

[JE notes: I think this date should be the 1st June, as Thursday seems to be the day when these entretiens happened and the 4th June 1972 was a Monday]

Translated by Jack W. Stone from Jacques Siboni’s transcription.

Published by M.I.T.: University of Missouri: here

Available here

& also here

- Book 19a: The Knowledge of the Psychoanalyst, Seven Talks at Sainte-Anne: 1971-1972

Translated by Cormac Gallagher (CG)

This comprises 7 talks given by Jacques Lacan at Sainte-Anne Hospital.

Date of sessions: 4th November 1971; 2nd December 1971; 6th January 1972; 3rd February 1972; 3rd March 1972; 4th May 1972; 1st June 1972; (Jack Stone gives this date as 4th June 1972. It appears to be translated from the same source.)

Published at Lacan in Ireland here

Available here

- In French : Jacques Lacan : Je parle aux murs, : Paris : Seuil, 2011. This book comprises the sessions Jacques Lacan gave at St Anne Hospital on 4th November 1971, 2nd December 1971 & 6th January 1972.

The 4th November 1971 session is probably available to download in French at

- In English : Talking to Brick Walls, A Series of Presentations in the Chapel at Sainte-Anne Hospital : Jacques Lacan : Translated by Adrian Price (AP/J-AM) : Polity Press 2017

Dates, Page number & Notes and References

Seminar XIX : 4th November 1971 : (CG) pI 1

(AP/J-AM) p1 : Knowledge, Ignorance, Truth and Jouissance


Seminar XIX : 2nd December 1971 : (CG) pII 1

(AP/J-AM) p35 : On Incomprehension and Other Themes


Seminar XIX : 6th January 1972 : (CG) pIII 1

(AP/J-AM) p71 : I’ve Been Talking to Brick Walls

Note: This session has Lacan’s neologism amur which combines mur and amour [see p103-104 of the Seuil edition where it is indicated that it should be written: (a)mur]

In Cormac Gallagher’s translation the use of a(mur) follows from Seminar XIXa : 6th January 1972 : pIII 6.   The sentence ‘It is obvious that the walls make me enjoy!’ is at the bottom of pIII 7. : See quotes below.

There are two references to Aimée in this session. (CG) pIII 9 & 11 : See below.


Seminar XIX : 3rd February 1972 : (CG) pIV 1


Seminar XIX : 3rd March 1972 : (CG) pV 1


Seminar XIX : 4th May 1972 : (CG) pVI 1


Seminar XIX : 1st June 1972 : (CG) pVII 1

Translated by Jack W. Stone from Jacques Siboni’s transcription.

Published by M.I.T.: University of Missouri: here

Available here [The Savoir of the Psychoanalyst, Seminar of June 4, 1972.]

Now available here


Quotes from this Text

Seminar XIXa : 4thNovember 1971

– pI 6 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation :

The unconscious, I have said, is structured like a language. Which one? And why did I say a language? Because as regard language, we are getting to know a little bit. Peope talk about object-language in logic, whether it is mathematical or not. People talk about metalanguage. People are even speaking about language, for some time, at the level of biology. People talk about language without rhyme or reason. To begin with, if I say that I am talking about language, it is because what is at stake are common features that can be encountered in lalangue. Lalanguebeing itself is subject to a very great variety but there are nevertheless constants. The language that is at stake, as I took the time, the care, the pain and the patience to articulate, is the language where one can distinguish the code from the message, among other things.

– pI 8 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation :

Fourth point: where does enjoyment lie? What does it need? A body. To enjoy, a body is necessary. Even those who promise us eternal beatitude can only do so by supposing that the body is conveyed there :glorious or not, it has to be there.  You need a body. Why? Because the dimension of enjoyment for the body, is the dimension of the descent towards death. It is moreover very precisely how the pleasure principle in Freud announces that he knew well from that moment on what he was saying. Because if you read him with care, you will see there that the pleasure principle has nothing to do with hedonism, even if it is bequeathed to us by the most ancient tradition, it is in truth the unpleasure principle. It is the unpleasure principle, to the degree that by stating it at every moment, Freud goes off the rails. In what does pleasure consist he tells us: it is to lower tension. As if it were not the very principle of everything that is called enjoyment, something to enjoy, that it produces a tension. This indeed is why, when Freud is on the path of Jenseits des Lustprinzips,[Beyond the Pleasure Principe: 1920]of the beyond of the pleasure principle, what does he state to us in Civilisation and its discontents, [1929, published 1930]if not that very probably well beyond the repression described as social, there ought to be – he writes it textually -an organic repression.

It is curious, it is a pity that one has to take so much trouble for things that are said so obviously, and get the following to be noticed: that the dimension by which the speaking being is distinguished from the animal, is assuredly that there is in him this gap through which he would be lost, through which he is permitted on the body or the bodies, whether it is his own or that of his fellows, or that of animals who surround him, to give rise in them, for their or his own gain, to what is properly speaking called enjoyment.

Seminar XIXa : 6th January 1972 : pIII 17

Love, the love that this communicates, that it flows that it fuses, that it is love! Love, the good that the mother wants for her son, l’amur, it is enough to put in the (a) to rediscover what we put our finger on every day, it is that even between the mother mother and the son, the relationship that the mother has with castration, counts for something!

Perhaps, to have a healthy idea of what is involved in love, we should perhaps start from that which, when it is played out, seriously, between a mana and a woman, it is always castration at stake. This is what is castrating. And what passess by this defile of castration, is something that we will try to approach along paths that are a bit rigorous: they can only be logical, and even topological.

Here I am talking to the wall, indeed to (a)murs, and to (a)murs-sements. Elsewhere I am trying to account for it. And whatever may be the use of walls for keeping the voice in good shape, it is clear that the walls, no more than the rest, can have this intuitive support, even if we have all the resources of the art of architecture.

Seminar XIX : 6th January 1972 :

– pIII 9 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : 2nd paragraph: a reference to Aimée.

In a word, and to pay tribute to her for something that she is not at all personally responsible for, it is as everyone knows, around this patient that I pinpointed by the name of Aimée – which was not her’s, of course – that I was drawn towards psychoanalysis.

– pIII 11 : 2nd reference to Aimée

What I can say, is that it is from a certain angle which is that of a logic that I was able in a journeying which, to start from my patient Aimée, culminated at my second last year of seminar, to state under the title of four discourses towards which there converge the target of a certain actuality, that I was able, along this path to do what?


Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst, Earl’s Court, London


Further posts:

Some Lacanian history : here

Lacanian Transmission : here

Of the clinic : here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud : here

Or by Jacques Lacan : here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

Information about  Julia Evans (See here)