The SinthomeThe Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XXIII
The Sinthome
The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XXIII

"Ten times, an elderly grey-haired man gets up on the stage. Ten times puffing and sighing. Ten times slowly tracing out strange multi-coloured arabesques that interweave, curling with the meanders of his speech, by turns fluid and uneasy. A whole crowd looks on, transfixed by this enigma-made-man, absorbing the ipse dixit and anticipating some illumination that is taking its time to appear.
Non lucet. It’s shady in here, and the Théodores go hunting for their matches. Still, they say, cuicumque in sua arte perito credendum est, whosoever is expert in his art is to be lent credence. At what point is a person mad? The master himself poses the question.
That was back in the day. Those were the mysteries of Paris forty years hence.
A Dante clasping Virgil’s hand to be led through the circles of the Inferno, Lacan took the hand of James Joyce, the unreadable Irishman, and, in the wake of this slender Commander of the Faithless, made with heavy and faltering step onto the incandescent zone where symptomatic women and ravaging men burn and writhe.
An equivocal troupe was in the struggling audience: his son-in-law; a dishevelled writer, young and just as unreadable back then; two dialoguing mathematicians; and a professor from Lyon vouching for the seriousness of the whole affair. A discreet Pasiphaë was being put to work backstage.
Smirk then, my good fellows! Be my guest. Make fun of it all! That’s what our comic illusion is for. That way, you shall know nothing of what is happening right before your very eyes: the most carefully considered, the most lucid, and the most intrepid calling into question of the art that Freud invented, better known under its pseudonym: psychoanalysis."
Jacques-Alain Miller

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  • October 2016 (hb)
    October 2018 (pb)
  • 224 pages
  • 153 x 229 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9781509510009
  • Paperback $19.95
  • 9781509510016
Table of Contents

I. On the logical use of the sinthome, or Freud with Joyce

II. On what makes a hole in the real

III. On the knot as the subject’s support


IV. Joyce and the fox riddle

V. Was Joyce mad?

VI. Joyce and imposed words


VII. On a fallace that vouches for the real

VIII. On sens, sex and the real

IX. From the unconscious to the real


X. The writing of the Ego



Joyce the Symptom, by Jacques Lacan

Presentation at Lacan’s Seminar, by Jacques Aubert

Reading notes, by Jacques Aubert

A note threaded stitch by stitch, by Jacques-Alain Miller

Translator’s endnotes


About the Author

Jacques Lacan (1901-1981) was one of the twentieth-century's most influential thinkers. His many works include Écrits, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis and the many other volumes of The Seminar.

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