“Jacques Marie Émile Lacan (/ləˈkɑːn/; French: [ʒak lakɑ̃]; 13 April 1901 – 9 September 1981) was a French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist who has been called “the most controversial psycho-analyst since Freud”. Giving yearly seminars in Paris from 1953 to 1981, Lacan influenced many leading French intellectuals in the 1960s and the 1970s, especially those associated with post-structuralism. His ideas had a significant impact on post-structuralism, critical theory, linguistics, 20th-century French philosophy, film theory, and clinical psychoanalysis.
During the early 1920s, Lacan actively engaged with the Parisian literary and artistic avant-garde. Having met James Joyce, he was present at the Parisian bookshop where the first readings of passages from Ulysses in French and English took place, shortly before it was published in 1922.
Lacan was involved with the Parisian surrealist movement of the 1930s associating with André Breton, Georges Bataille, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso. For a time, he served as Picasso’s personal therapist. Lacan’s interest in surrealism predated his interest in psychoanalysis,” former Lacanian analyst and biographer Dylan Evans explains…Translator and historian David Macey writes that “the importance of surrealism can hardly be over-stated… to the young Lacan… [who] also shared the surrealists’ taste for scandal and provocation, and viewed provocation as an important element in psycho-analysis itself”.
In 1931, after a second year at the Sainte-Anne Hospital, Lacan was awarded his Diplôme de médecin légiste (a medical examiner’s qualification) and became a licensed forensic psychiatrist. The following year he was awarded his Diplôme d’État de docteur en médecine [fr] (roughly equivalent to an M.D. degree) for his thesis “On Paranoiac Psychosis in its Relations to the Personality” (“De la Psychose paranoïaque dans ses rapports avec la personnalité”). Its publication had little immediate impact on French psychoanalysis but it did meet with acclaim amongst Lacan’s circle of surrealist writers and artists. In their only recorded instance of direct communication, Lacan sent a copy of his thesis to Sigmund Freud who acknowledged its receipt with a postcard.
In 1945 Lacan visited England for a five-week study trip, where he met the British analysts Ernest Jones, Wilfred Bion and John Rickman. Bion’s analytic work with groups influenced Lacan, contributing to his own subsequent emphasis on study groups as a structure within which to advance theoretical work in psychoanalysis. He published a report of his visit as ‘La Psychiatrique anglaise et la guerre’ (Evolution psychiatrique 1, 1947, pp. 293–318)…
…in November 1963, Lacan had effectively been stripped of the right to conduct training analyses and thus was constrained to form his own institution in order to accommodate the many candidates who desired to continue their analyses with him. This he did, on 21 June 1964, in the “Founding Act” of what became known as the École Freudienne de Paris (EFP), taking “many representatives of the third generation with him: among them were Maud and Octave Mannoni, Serge Leclaire … and Jean Clavreul”.
…Lacan’s failing health made it difficult for him to meet the demands of the year-long Seminars he had been delivering since the fifties, but his teaching continued into the first year of the eighties. After dissolving his School, the EFP, in January 1980, Lacan travelled to Caracas to found the Freudian Field Institute on 12 July.
The Overture to the Caracas Encounter was to be Lacan’s final public address. His last texts from the spring of 1981 are brief institutional documents pertaining to the newly formed Freudian Field Institute.
Lacan died on 9 September 1981.”