Psychosis, or Radical Belief in the Symptom : 17th June 2012 : Éric Laurent : given in Tel Aviv, Israel

by Julia Evans on June 17, 2012

This text is translated from a transcription of the “Presentation of the Theme for the Eleventh Congress of the NLS, Athens 2012”, delivered in French at the NLS Congress in Tel Aviv, 17 June 2012.

Translated by Adrian Price


1) p243-251 of Hurly-Burly, Issue 8, October 2012

2)  Published: New Lacanian School’s : nls-messager, No. 556.en/ Psychosis, or Radical Belief in the Symptom, By Eric Laurent : Date:  7 November 2012

3) Published on the New Lacanian School, NLS, web-site:  and available here


1)  Seminar XVII: Psychoanalysis upside down/The reverse side of psychoanalysis/The Other Side of Psychoanalysis: 1969-1970 : starts on 10th December 1969 : Jacques Lacan : Available here or Seminar XVII: Psychoanalysis upside down/The reverse side of psychoanalysis: 1969-1970 Jacques Lacan

2)  J. Lacan : De la psychose paranoïaque dans ses rapports avec la personnalité . A partial translation of this is available here:  or  ‘The Case of Aimée, or Self-punitive Paranoia’: Jacques Lacan: 1932

3)  The Mechanism of Paranoia: Sigmund Freud.  This is Part III of  ‘Psycho-Analytic Notes on an Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia (Dementia Paranoides) : 16th December 1910, published 1911 : Sigmund Freud.  Versions with the original footnotes or in word are available to download from  Case history of Schreber: 1910: Sigmund Freud or here

4)   J. Lacan : Proposition on 9th October 1967 on the Psychoanalyst of the School. Details of its availability : here or ‘Proposal of 9th October 1967 
on the psychoanalyst of the School’: Jacques Lacan

5)  On my antecedents: 1966? : Jacques Lacan

p51-57 of Écrits, The first complete edition in English: translated by Bruce Fink: Norton & Co: 2002:

p52 is quoted “the symptom’s formal envelope” : Quote from p51-52:

It stems from the work of Gatian de Clérambault, my only master in psychiatry.

His notion of “mental automatism,” with its metaphorical, mechanistic ideology, which is assuredly open to ciriticism, seems to me, in its attempt to come to grips with the [patient’s] subjective text, closer to what can be constructed on the basis of a structural analysis than any other clinical approach in French psychiatry.

I was sensitive to the hint of a promise that I perceived in it due to the contrast between it and the decline that could be seen in a semiology that was ever more bogged down in assumptions related to rationality.

Clérambault achieved, through the quality of his gaze and the biases of his thought, a sort of recurrence of what has recently been described for us in a figure that dates back to the birth of the clinic. [See Michel Foucault’s ‘Naissance de la clinique’: Paris: PUF: 1963 or The birth of the clinic : New York, Pantheon: 1973]

Clérambault was very familiar with the French tradition, but it was Kraepelin, whose clinical genius was of a higher caliber, who trained him.

Oddly enough, but necessarily, I believe, I was thereby led to Freud.

For faithfulness to the symptom’s formal envelope, which is the true clinical trace for which I acquired a taste, led me to the limit at which it swings back in creative effects. In the case included in my dissertation (the case of Aimée), there were literary effects – of high enough quality to have been collected, under the (reverent) heading of involuntary poetry, by Éluard.

The function of ideals presented itself to me here in a series of reduplications that led me to the notion of a structure, which was more instructive than the account the clinicians in Toulouse would have provided, for they would have lowered its price by situating it in the register of passion.

Moreover, the sort of gust effect that, in my subject, blew down the screen known as a delusion as soon as her hand touched, in a serious act of aggression, one of the images in her theatre – who was doubly fictitious for her since she was also a star in reality – redoubled the conjugation of her poetic space with a gulf-like scansion.

This brought me closer to the stage machinery of acting out [passage à l’acte] and, if only by confining myself to the all-purpose word “self-punishment” that Berlin-style criminology offered through the mouthpieces of Alexander and Staub, I was led to Freud.

The way in which a knowledge [connaisance] is specified on the basis of its stereotypy, and also of its discharges, providing evidence of another function, [seemed to me to] lead to an enrichment which no academicism, even that of the avant-garde, could have turned away.

Perhaps it will be understood that by crossing the doorstep of psychoanalysis, I immediately recognized in its practice knowledge-related biases that are far more interesting, since they are those that must be eliminated in its fundamental listening.

End of quote.

Further information on Clérambault and Kraepelin available as follows:

Psychoses of passion : 1921 : Gaétan Gatian de Clérambault or here

Dementia Praecox : 1896 : Emil Kraepelin or here

6.  On a question prior to any possible treatment of psychosis : Jacques Lacan : Available : On a question preliminary to any possible treatment of psychosis : 1958 : Jacques Lacan or here

8. Subversion of the subject and the dialectic of desire : Jacques Lacan :

Available :  here or The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire (Royaumont): 19th to 23rd September 1960: Jacques Lacan

9. Extimité : Jacques-Alain Miller

Available: Extimité or Extimacy : February 1985 : Jacques-Alain Miller or here

15.  There are four discourses… : Jacques Lacan :

I suspect this is a retranslation of a session from Seminar XVII: Psychoanalysis upside down/The reverse side of psychoanalysis/The Other side of Psychoanalysis’: 1969-1970 where Lacan introduces the four discourses. The seminar, as translated by Russell Grigg, has many omissions. Cormac Gallagher has translated it from tape-recordings. His text is therefore unedited and includes many more of the interventions, including those published as Radiophonie, than the edited version. Further information: here or at Seminar XVII: Psychoanalysis upside down/The reverse side of psychoanalysis: 1969-1970 Jacques Lacan

16. Le séminaire livre XIX, ..ou pire : Jacques Lacan :

Available: Seminar XIX: 1971-72: …Ou pire …Or worse : from 8th December 1971 : Jacques Lacan or here

Further posts by Éric Laurent

An up-to-date list of posts for the LacanianWorks’ “Laurent Éric” category : available here

Lost in Cognition: Psychoanalysis and the Cognitive Sciences : 2014 : Éric Laurent

Racism 2.0 : 26th January 2014 : Éric Laurent

On the real in a psychoanalysis : 17th October 2013 : Éric Laurent

Psychosis, or Radical Belief in the Symptom : 17th June 2012 : Éric Laurent : given in Tel Aviv, Israel

Psychoanalysis & Our Time (video): 30th September 2011: New York : Éric Laurent

Against Neuro-metaphors (video): 30th September 2011 : New York : Éric Laurent

Lacan as Analysand (video): 30th September 2011 : New York : Éric Laurent

The Symbolic Order in the XXI Century: Consequences for the Treatment: July 2010: Éric Laurent

Guiding Principles for Any Psychoanalytic Act: 16th July 2006 : Rome : Éric Laurent

How to recompose the Name-of-the Father : 2004 : Éric Laurent

The Real and the Group : 2000 : Éric Laurent