Lacanian Psychoanalytic Theory

(1810 words)
  • Scott Sprenger (Brigham Young University )

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Jacques Lacan is widely considered to be the most influential psychoanalytic theorist of the latter half of the 20th century (especially for literary study). He is credited with “modernizing” psychoanalysis by bringing it into harmony with the insights of Saussurian differential linguistics, Claude Lévi-Strauss’s structuralist anthropology, and Alexander Kojève’s interpretation of the Hegelian master / slave dialectic. Lacan was drawn to Saussure because he believed that his dualistic theory of the linguistic sign (i.e. that the sign is constituted by an arbitrary relation between “signifier” and “signified”) explained from a scientific perspective Freud’s dualistic (e.g. conscious/unconscious) theory of the psyche. L…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Sprenger, Scott. "Lacanian Psychoanalytic Theory". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 September 2007
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Psychoanalysis