Seminar XIX: 1971-72: …Ou pire …Or worse : from 8th December 1971 : Jacques Lacan

by Julia Evans on December 8, 1971


1) Published in English

2) Published in French

3) Content & page numbers – of Cormac Gallagher’s translation – of Adrian Price’s translation, including the book cover

4)  References

1) Published in English

-Translated by Cormac Gallagher from unedited French manuscripts

Published at

Available here

– Translated by Adrian Price

as : …or Worse: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XIX : byJacques Lacan : Edited by Jacques-Alain Miller : August 2018 : Polity

Related texts :

Seminar XIX : The Psychoanalyst’s Knowledge – Seven Talks at St Anne’s Hospital : 1971-1972: begins on 4th November 1971: Jacques Lacan or here

Seminar XIX: 1971-72: …Ou pire …Or worse : from 8th December 1971 : Jacques Lacan or here

Account (Summary) of Seminar XIX -… Or worse : July 1973 : Jacques Lacan or here

2) Published in French

Le séminaire livre XIX, …ou pire: Jacques Lacan : Published Seuil, Paris, 2011

3) Contents

NOTE : the reason for the discrepancy in the number of chapters is that four of Jacques Lacan’s talks at St Anne’s Hospital have been included – see Seminar XIX : The Psychoanalyst’s Knowledge – Seven Talks at St Anne’s Hospital : 1971-1972: begins on 4th November 1971: Jacques Lacan or here 

– From Cormac Gallagher’s translation

Wednesday 8th December 1971 : Session 1

Wednesday 15th December 1971 : Session 2

Wednesday 12th January 1972 : Session 3

Wednesday 19th January 1972 : Session 4

Wednesday 9th February 1972 : Session 5

Wednesday 8th March 1972 : Session 6

Wednesday 15th March 1972 : Session 7

Wednesday 19th April 1972 : Session 8

Wednesday 10th May 1972 : Session 9

Wednesday 17th May 1972 : Session 10

Wednesday 14th June 1972 : Session 11

François Recanati’s intervention is reported pXI 7 to XI 22 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation.

François Recanati also intervenes into Seminar XX : 12th December 1972 : Availability Intervention by François Recanati into Seminar XX : 12th December 1972 : François Recanati & Jacques Lacan or here

Wednesday 21st June 1972 : Session 12

– From the translation by Adrian Price

…or Worse: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book byJacques Lacan : Edited by Jacques-Alain Miller : August 2018 : Polity

The book cover

‘A chance meeting of a sewing machine and an umbrella. The impossible face-off between a whale and a polar bear. One was devised by Lautréamont; the other punctuated by Freud. Both are memorable. Why so? They certainly tickle something in us. Lacan says what it is. It’s about man and woman.
There is neither accord nor harmony between man and woman. There’s no programme, nothing has been predetermined: every move is a shot in the dark, which in modal logic is called contingency. There’s no way out of it. Why is it so inexorable, that is, so necessary? It really has to be reckoned that this stems from an impossibility. Hence the theorem: “There is no sexual relation.” The formula has become famous.
In the place of what thereby punctures a hole in the real, there is a plethora of luring and enchanting images, and there are discourses that prescribe what this relation must be. These discourses are mere semblance, the artifice of which psychoanalysis has made apparent to all. In the twenty-first century, this is beyond dispute. Who still believes that marriage has a natural foundation? Since it’s a fact of culture, one devotes oneself to inventing. One cobbles together different constructions from whatever one can. It may be better … or worse.
“There is Oneness.” At the heart of the present Seminar, this aphorism, which hitherto went unnoticed, complements the “there is no” of sexual relation, stating what there is. It should be heard as One-all-alone. Alone in jouissance (which is fundamentally auto-erotic) and alone in significance (outside any semantics). Here begins Lacan’s late teaching. Everything he has already taught you is here, and yet everything is new, overhauled, topsy-turvy.
Lacan had taught the primacy of the Other in the order of truth and the order of desire. Here he teaches the primacy of the One in its real dimension. He rejects the Two of sexual relation and that of signifying articulation. He rejects the Big Other, the fulcrum of the dialectic of the subject, disputing its existence, which he consigns to fiction. He depreciates desire and promotes jouissance. He rejects Being, which is mere semblance. Henology, the doctrine of the One, here outclasses ontology, the theory of Being. What about the symbolic order? Nothing more than the reiteration of the One in the real. Hence the abandoning of graphs and topological surfaces in favour of knots made of rings of string, each of which is an unlinked One.
Recall that Seminar XVIII sighed for a discourse that would not be semblance. Well, with Seminar XIX, we have an attempt at a discourse that would take its point of departure in the real. The radical thought of modern Uni-dividualism.’
Jacques-Alain Miller

Table of Contents

[with subheadings, date of session, & page numbers in this edition & link to available translation]

The session’s titles have been given by the editor Jacques-Alain Miller

These have been grouped according to availability of English translation. Therefore, the Chapters are not in numerical order….

a)  See Seminar XIX: 1971-72: …Ou pire …Or worse : from 8th December 1971 : Jacques Lacan or here


I. The small difference – 8th December 1971 – p3-14 – See here

The empty place | Prosdiorismoi | Nature and discourse | Let them muddle through! | Modality and negation

II. The function  [?]x – 15th December 1971 – p15-26 – see here

The written: the return of the repressed | A matheme verging on doltishness | Aristotle, Being, and the One | Castration, and existence | The not-all

III. From anecdote to logic – 12thJanuary 1972 – p27-36 – see here

Favouring the real of logic | A disturbed relation to the body | Function and argument | The not-alland the at least one| The possible and the contingent

IV. From necessity to inexistence – 19th January 1972 – p37-48 – see here

The symptom, between truth and jouissance | Phallic jouissance | The emergence of the number 1 | Leibniz, Frege, Pascal | The two Ones


VI. I ask you to refuse me my offering – 9th February 1972 – p65-77 – see here

. . . because: this isn’t it | Linguistic analysis | Schematizing speech | Grammar and signification | The Borromean rings

VIII. What is involved in the Other – 8th March 1972 – p95-104 – See here

Your fantasies derive jouissance from you | The queueof thoughts | Ontology is a dishonour | There is no transgression of the impossible | Woman between centre and absence


IX. In the field of the Unian – 15th March 1972 – p107-117 – See here

Parmenides, the One speaking | Yad’lun| Association is not free | Plato, Lacanian and feeble-minded | Existence in Aristotle

X. Yad’lun – 19th April 1972 – p118-127 – See here

From Plato to Cantor | Set and element | Impossible to denumerate | The empty set | The nadand the One of lack

XII. Knowledge about truth – 10th May 1972 – p146-157 – See here

Wisdom is knowledge of jouissance | They peel away and go astray | The analyst does not affect a semblance | The poverty of the phenomenology of love | The inaccessible cardinals

XIII. The founding of sexual difference – 17th May 1972 – p158-168 – See here

The geniality of strike action | The ancillary position of truth and meaning | Wavering in the sharing-out of the sexes | Theory of hunting | Difference and attribute


XV. The desire to sleep – 14th June 1972 – p189-196 – See here

Creating the verb unigate| Dreams according to Freud | The body’s access to jouissance | Pollution represented in existence | The objection against argumentum ad absurdum

XVI. Bodies captured by discourse – 21st June 1972 – p197-211 : See here

The affable Umberto Eco | Self-cognizance is hygiene | The bodily support in analysis | Jurisprudence and fine sentiments | Racism and fraternity

b) See Seminar XIX : The Psychoanalyst’s Knowledge (Savoir) – Seven Talks at St Anne’s Hospital : 1971-1972: begins on 4th November 1971: Jacques Lacan or here


V. Topology of speech (a talk at Sainte-Anne) – 3rd February 1972 – p51-64 – see here

Where does meaning come from? | Speech between semblance and jouissance | Analysis started with the norm | Science behind the wall . . . | . . . and discourse in front of it

VII. The vanished partner (a talk at Sainte-Anne) – 3rd March 1972 – p78-94 – See here

The illusion of sexual relation | the Hunand the Hautre| Alland not-all| The duality of woman’s jouissance | The exorbitant emergence of the One

XI. An issue of Ones (a talk at Sainte-Anne) – 4th May 1972 – p128-145 – See here

The twain, the structure of real sex | The One, an effect of lack | Disputing the non-denumerable | Equivalence between the element and the empty set | The two levels of the One


XIV. Theory of the four formulae (a talk at Sainte-Anne) – 1st June 1972 – p169-186 – See here

The analyst’s relation to knowledge | Freethinkers in the Vatican | Thinking only by means of the One | The modalities of the formulae | The family wowed by the father is a thing of the past

c) See Account (Summary) of Seminar XIX -… Or worse : July 1973 : Jacques Lacan see here


Report on Seminar XIX, by Jacques Lacan– July 1973 – p216-220 – see here

Library of Seminar XIX, by Jacques-Alain Miller

Translator’s Notes  Published at,  Available here


4) References

Seminar XIX : 9th February 1972

Quoted from:  The Borromean Knot before the Sinthome [En-Fr]  By Ruzanna Hakobyan : Posted on April 30, 2013 at : [nls-messager] 739.en/ NLS Congress 2013: The Blog (XII)

Available here

On the other hand, at the moment when Lacan introduces the idea of the borromean knot (Seminar XIX …or worse, chapter VI, p. 91, lesson of 9 February 1972), the knot is not presented as the model of the structure where each round of the knot corresponds to one of the three registers: the Imaginary, the Symbolic and the Real. At this time, with the borromean knot he explains the functioning of the structure of language. He speaks of signifiers that are enchained in the borromean logic.

Starting from the sentence “I ask you to refuse me what I offer to you”, Lacan articulates the three knots in showing that if one removes any one of the three verbs: “to ask”, “to refuse”, “to offer”, or one of the three phrases: “I ask you”, “to refuse me”, “what I offer to you”, where to each verb or phrase there corresponds a knot, the sense disappears. Starting from this example, Lacan gives the definition of the borromean knot in the following lesson: “It is in as much as these three terms are three that we see that from the presence of the third a relation is established between the two others. It is this that the borromean knot means.”[1]  LACAN J., Le séminaire livre XIX … ou pire, Paris, Seuil, 2011, p. 94.  


Note : If links to any required text do not work, check If a particular text or book remains absent, contact Julia Evans


Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst, London



Related texts

Account (Summary) of Seminar XIX -… Or worse : July 1973 : Jacques Lacan  see here

Seminar XIX: 1971-72: …Ou pire …Or worse : from 8th December 1971 : Jacques Lacan or here

Seminar XIX : The Psychoanalyst’s Knowledge – Seven Talks at St Anne’s Hospital : 1971-1972: begins on 4th November 1971: Jacques Lacan or here

Further posts:

Lacanian Transmission here

Some Lacanian history here

Of the clinic here

Topology here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

Translation Working Group here

Use of power here

By Julia Evans  here