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© 2020

Lacan the Charlatan

Book

Part of the The Palgrave Lacan Series book series (PALS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Peter D. Mathews
    Pages 1-32
  3. Peter D. Mathews
    Pages 33-68
  4. Peter D. Mathews
    Pages 69-101
  5. Peter D. Mathews
    Pages 103-131
  6. Peter D. Mathews
    Pages 133-162
  7. Peter D. Mathews
    Pages 163-188
  8. Peter D. Mathews
    Pages 189-214
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 215-228

About this book

Introduction

“What authorizes an analyst to analyze? Lacan the Charlatan makes a significant contribution to this important question and is a must-read for anyone interested in the future of our praxis.”

- Russell Grigg, World Association of Psychoanalysis

“Lacan the Charlatan is much more than a highly engaging study of Lacan’s various critics, detractors, and would-be debunkers. It focuses in on one of the essential problems of his psychoanalytic theory: the nature of authority under conditions of modernity. Clown, guru, master, imposter, insurgent, analyst: Mathews shows how Lacan both incarnated and exposed the impasses of authority, and how his theoretical framework is crucial for understanding the charade of power and mastery we are living in today.”

- Aaron Schuster, author of The Trouble with Pleasure: Deleuze and Psychoanalysis

“Mathews is that rarest of scholars in psychoanalytic studies: someone brave enough to consult works he disagrees with, and then able to produce smart, judicious, and fair-minded commentary and critique. Likewise, his interventions into the work and legacies of the best critics of Lacan, such as Roustang and Borch-Jacobsen, is not just overdue; it is often revelatory. Lacan the Charlatan is a major contribution to the literature – one of interest to scholars of literature, philosophy, and sociology – that will still be worth reading in twenty years.”

- Todd Dufresne, Professor of Philosophy, Lakehead University, USA


This book sets out to determine the validity of an accusation made against Jacques Lacan by Noam Chomsky in an interview in 1989. He stated that Lacan was a “charlatan” – not that his ideas were flawed or wrong, but that his entire discourse was fraudulent, an accusation that has since been repeated by many other critics. Examining the arguments of key anti-Lacanian critics, Mathews weighs and contextualizes the legitimacy of Lacan’s engagements with structural linguistics, mathematical formalization, science, ethics, Hegelian dialectics, and psychoanalysis. The guiding thread is Lacan’s own recurrent interrogation of authority, which inhabits an ambiguous zone between mastery and charlatanry. This book offers a novel contribution to the field for students and scholars of psychoanalysis, philosophy, sociology, critical and literary theory.


Peter D. Mathews is Professor of English Literature at Hanyang University, South Korea.

Keywords

Lacanian psychoanalysis psychoanalytic theory Sigmund Freud authority ethics Raymond Tallis Dylan Evans Stuart Schneiderman Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen François Roustang anti-Lacanian critics Noam Chomsky structural linguistics mathematical formalization Hegelian dialectics The Freud Wars

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English Language and LiteratureHanyang UniversitySeoulKorea (Republic of)

About the authors

Peter D. Mathews is Professor of English Literature at Hanyang University, South Korea.

Bibliographic information

Reviews

"What authorises an analyst to analyse? Lacan the Charlatan makes a significant contribution to this important question and is a must read for anyone interested in the future of our praxis."

(Russell Grigg, World Association of Psychoanalysis)

“Lacan the Charlatan is much more than a highly engaging study of Lacan’s various critics, detractors, and would-be debunkers. It focuses in on one of the essential problems of his psychoanalytic theory: the nature of authority under conditions of modernity. Clown, guru, master, imposter, insurgent, analyst: Mathews shows how Lacan both incarnated and exposed the impasses of authority, and how his theoretical framework is crucial for understanding the charade of power and mastery we are living in today.”

(Aaron Schuster, author of The Trouble with Pleasure: Deleuze and Psychoanalysis)


“Mathews is that rarest of scholar in psychoanalytic studies: someone brave enough to consult works he disagrees with, and then able to produce smart, judicious, and fair-minded commentary and critique. Likewise, his interventions into the work and legacies of the best critics of Lacan, such as Roustang and Borch-Jacobsen, is not just overdue; it is often revelatory. Lacan the Charlatan is a major contribution to the literature – one of interest to scholars of literature, philosophy, and sociology – that will still be worth reading in twenty years.” 

(Todd Dufresne, Professor of Philosophy, Lakehead University, USA)