Seminar on ‘The Purloined Letter’ : 26th April 1955 : Jacques Lacan

by Julia Evans on April 26, 1955

Lacan chose his “Seminar on “The Purloined Letter” to introduce the collection of his Écrits (1966), whose essays otherwise appear in chronological order. The essay was written out in its present form ) between mid-May and mid-August 1956 (and dated as having been completed in Guitrancourt and San Casciano), but its content had been presented a year earlier (26th April 1955) as part of his weekly seminar (1954 to 1955) Seminar II: The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis: 1954-1955: begins 17th November 1954 : Jacques Lacan (See here for details). In fact, the whole seminar was a year-long commentary on Freud’s ‘Beyond the Pleasure Principle”: 1920.

This essay shows how transference acts and works in the clinic like that intriguing object described in Edgar Allan Poe’s tale “The Purloined Letter”

(From Lacan’s Seminar on “The Purloined Letter” Overview : p55 of John P. Muller and William J. Richardson (eds) The Purloined Poe: Lacan, Derrida and Psychoanalytic Reading : 1988 : Information and availability : The Purloined Poe: Lacan, Derrida and Psychoanalytic Reading : 1988 : John P. Muller and William J. Richardson (Editors & Authors) or here)

Translated by Jeffrey Mehlman :

Seminar on ‘The Purloined Letter’ : 26th April 1955

Note : This translation does not include Lacan’s three appendices to the text ‘Le séminaire sur “La Lettre volée”’: as published in Écrits : Paris, du Seuil: 1966 : p11-61 : See below.

Published

i) Yale French Studies : 48 : p38-72 : 1972

Available here

ii) p28-54 of The Purloined Poe: Lacan, Derrida and Psychoanalytic Reading : 1988 : John P. Muller and William J. Richardson (Editors & Authors) : See here

iii) Also reprinted in Morris Philipson and Paul J. Goodall (eds) : 1980 : Aesthetics Today : Readings selected, edited and introduced by Morris Philipson and Paul J. Goodall, New York NY : New American Library, p383-412

iv) Also reprinted in Robert Con Davis and Ronald Schleifer (eds) : 1989 : Contemporary Literary Criticism, Literary and Cultural Studies : 2nd edition : New York NY : Longman : p300-320

v) Also reprinted in Emanuel E. Berman (ed) : 1993 : Essential Papers on Literature and Psychoanalysis : New York NY : New York University Press : p270-299

Translated by Bruce Fink

Published

In Jacques Lacan, Écrits, the first complete edition in English : 2002 : W W Norton & co : p6 – 50 : See Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan or here for details

The 3 appendices 1966 : p30-46 of Bruce Fink’s translation :

Appendix 1: Presentation of the Suite (probably 1957) : p30-32 of Bruce Fink’s:

Appendix 2 : Introduction (probably 1957) : p33-4 of Bruce Fink’s translation of the Écrits :

Appendix 3 : p41-46 of Bruce Fink’s translation of the Écrits : Parenthesis of Parentheses (Added in 1966)

Also see Jacques Lacan’s notes : probably 1966 : p46 to 48 of Bruce Fink’s translation

Available (p30-48 of Bruce Fink’s translation) here

Comment on the three appendices is on p67 to 75 of The ‘Purloined Letter’ an overview : 1986 : John P. Muller and William J. Richardson which includes reference to topology.

First presented:

Seminar II : 26th April 1955 : Seminar II: The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis: 1954-1955: begins 17th November 1954 : Jacques Lacan or here : p191 of Sylvana Tomaselli’s translation

Related text

The Purloined Letter : 1845 : Edgar Allen Poe with notes by Thomas Ollive Mabberley, p3-27 of Muller & Richardson 1988 : Available on request from je.Lacanian@icloud.net

Commentaries

Preface to ‘The Purloined Poe : Lacan, Derrida & Psychoanalytic Reading’ : 1988 : John P. Muller & William J Richardson (Editors) : Available here

Published in French:

La Psychanalyse II (1957) : p1-44

‘Le séminaire sur “La Lettre volée”’: Écrits : Paris, du Seuil: 1966 : p11-61 : Information Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan or here

Commentaries

The Purloined Poe: Lacan, Derrida and Psychoanalytic Reading : 1988 : John P. Muller and William J. Richardson (Editors & Authors) or here

Lacan’s Seminar on “The Purloined Letter” : Overview : 1988 : John P. Muller and William J. Richardson or here

Lacan’s Seminar on “The Purloined Letter” : Map of the Text : 1988 : John P. Muller and William J. Richardson or here

Lacan’s Seminar on “The Purloined Letter” : Notes to the Text : 1988 : John P. Muller and William J. Richardson or here

References

Footnote 1 in Bruce Fink : Logical Time and the Assertion of Anticipated Certainty: A New Sophism : March 1945 : Jacques Lacan : See here

The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis (Rome) : 26th September 1953 : Jacques Lacan  : See here

The Antithetical Meaning of Primal Words : 1910d : Sigmund Freud : SEXXIV p155-161

The Project for a Scientific Psychology: 23rd & 25th September & 5th October 1895: Sigmund Freud : See here

Seminar II : 22nd June 1955 : Psychoanalysis and cybernetics, or on the nature of language : See p294 of Sylvana Tomaselli’s translation : Seminar II: The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis: 1954-1955: begins 17th November 1954 : Jacques Lacan : Availability here

Quoted in:

The Other without Other : Sunday 19th May 2013: in Athens : Jacques-Alain Miller or here

Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan or here

Autres Écrits: 2001 : Jacques Lacan or here

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December 2018 : To request a copy of any text whose weblink does not work, contact Julia Evans: je.lacanian@icloud.com : For fuller details, see Notice : Availability of texts from LacanianWorks by Julia Evans on 7th December 2018 or here

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Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst in Earl’s Court, London

 

Further Texts

By John P. Muller here

By William J. Richardson here

By Jacques Lacan here

Topology and the Lacanian clinic here

Case studies : characters from fiction here

Case studies : characters from plays (and the plays) here