The Mirror Stage

(394 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 12: Global Voices, Global Histories: World Literatures and Cultures.

A Lacanian psychoanalytic concept developed in various essays, notably “The Mirror Stage in the Formative Function of the I” in 1936. Lacan argues that in very early infancy the child lives in “the Real”, a stage characterised by imaginary identity with the mother, and by lack of motor co-ordination and bodily coherence in the infant’s own body. At this stage, it is literally riven with the chaotic intensity of its own drives. The infant sense of self that precedes the Mirror Stage is characterised by identification with the image of its counterpart (in French, semblable), a fictional and unified self that is complete, satisfied and stable and usually based on its perception of the mother. The child takes this …

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Clark, Robert. "The Mirror Stage". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 March 2004
[, accessed 08 July 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Psychoanalysis