Jerome, or Death in the Life of the Obsessional : May 28th 1956 : Serge Leclaire

by Julia Evans on May 28, 1956

This paper was first read by Serge Leclaire before the Société Française de Psychanalyse on May 28th 1956.


1) ‘La Mort dans la vie de l’obsédé’ : La Psychanalyse: Vol 2: 1956: p111-140

2) Republished as ‘Jérôme, ou la mort dans la vie de l’obsédé’

in Serge Leclaire: ‘Démasquer le réel’ : Paris, Éditions du Seuil : 1971: p 121-146

3) Translated by Stuart Schneiderman:

Jerome, or Death in the Life of the Obsessional :

p94-113 of  ‘Returning to Freud: Clinical Psychoanalysis in the School of Lacan’ :1980 : Stuart Schneiderman (ed) : Yale University Press

Available to download at /Authors a-z

Relation of Jacques Lacan to Serge Leclaire

– Extract from

Serge Leclaire (1924–1994)

One of the first disciples of Jacques Lacan, Serge Leclaire was a prominent French psychoanalyst who played a special role in the production of the Cahiers pour l’Analyse by allowing his seminar to be published there and providing a critical perspective on the exploration of psychoanalysis underway in the journal. Born in Strasbourg with the surname ‘Liebschutz’ to an agnostic Jewish family, his father obtained false papers with the name ‘Leclaire’ during the Second World War. During his studies of psychiatry, Leclaire met a Hindu monk who introduced him to the writings of the psychoanalyst Françoise Dolto. Shortly thereafter Leclaire entered into analysis with Lacan at the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris. Leclaire was Lacan’s close ally through the many ruptures within the French psychoanalytic movement, and would eventually serve as the founder of the Department of Psychoanalysis at the experimental University of Paris-VIII at Vincennes in 1969.


– Extract from

…….manuscripts of Seminar XII, Crucial Problems for Psychoanalysis, which list Leclaire’s presentation as occurring in the 20th session of the seminar (26 May 1965). The published version differs in some respects to the text to be found in Seminar XII. In his introduction to the seminar of 26 May, Lacan says that Leclaire had suggested that Miller’s ‘Suture’ deserved a ‘public’ and ‘properly analytical’ response. Lacan announces he will put aside the first half of the session, which is to be devoted to the continuation of his reading of Plato’s Sophist to Leclaire’s text and a response from Miller. Miller chooses not to respond immediately, but gives his reply to Leclaire in the subsequent session.

See for a translation of Serge Leclaire’s intervention, Seminar XII : 26th May 1965 or Seminar XII : Crucial Problems for Psychoanalysis : 1964-1965 : from 2nd December 1964 : Jacques Lacan or here

– Further exchanges can be found The Dream with the Unicorn – Pôor(d)j’e-li : 30th October 1960 (Bonneval Hospital) [published 1966/68] : Serge Leclaire  or here

References to Jacques Lacan:

P112: Our technical rules can often be formulated in pictures like this. Under the pretext of talking about technique, I would remind you also of the fantasy of the crocodile that I mentioned above. This permits me to say that practically, and in the concrete experience of the session, if the obsessional wants to be dead, the analyst, as Lacan recalls in his discourse at Vienna (“The Freudian Thing”: 7th November 1955), must himself play dead. In so doing and in knowing what he is doing, he uses the correct technique with the obsessional. This technique permits the patient to raise the cover of his tomb ever so slightly and ‘to risk an eye before risking a word.’

References to Sigmund Freud:

Note : Most of the following have been published at  

1)  P97: Totem and Taboo: 1912-1913 (published 1913):

SE vol 13: p72 or Penguin Freud Library pfl: Volume 13, The Origins of Religion: somewhere between p43 and p224

2)  P98: Mourning and Melancholy: 1915 (published 1917) :

SE vol 14: p243-258 or pfl: Volume 11, On Metapsychology: somewhere in p245-268

3)  P108: Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety: 1926 :

SE20 : p9 or pfl: Volume 10, On Psychopathology:

4)  P109: An Outline of Psychoanalysis : 1938 (published 1940) :

SE 23 p148-149 or pfl: Volume 15, Historical and Expository Works on Psychoanalysis:

5)  P109: The Ego and the Id : 1923:

SE 19 p42 or pfl: Volume 11, On Metapsychology: from p339


Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst,  London


An increasing number of the texts whose links do not now work, are available on , if you still cannot find a text contact Julia Evans


Further texts

Of the clinic here

Lacanian Transmission here

Some Lacanian History here

Topology here

From LW working groups here

By Serge Leclaire  here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

By Julia Evans here