Lacanian Psychoanalytic Theory (1810 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • Scott Sprenger (Brigham Young University )


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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…

Sprenger, Scott. "Lacanian Psychoanalytic Theory". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 September 2007
[, accessed 25 October 2016.]

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  1. Psychoanalysis