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

by Julia Evans on July 1, 1973

Published in French

Compte rendu du Séminaire 1971-1972

– Paru dans l’Annuaire de l’École pratique des Hautes Études (Section sciences économiques et sociales), 1972-1973, pp. 287-291.

– Also p547-552 of Autres Écrits: 2001 : Jacques Lacan or here

– at École de psychanalyse – pas tout Lacan, here, available Résumé du séminaire : “ ou pire ”(4 p.) or here :July 1973

In English translation

Account of the 1971-1972 Seminar

– at Richard G. Klein’s website,, available  bilingual & translated by  Anthony Chadwick & Adrian R. Price   here .

– Translated by Adrian Price

Published as ‘Report on Seminar XIX’, by Jacques Lacan : in one of the Appendices of

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

First published in French as Le Séminaire, Livre XIX . . . . ou pire (1971-1972), Éditions du Seuil, 2011

The following gives Jacques-Alain Miller’s titles & subheadings, chapter dates & link to translation availability.

From 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

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  see here

Autres Écrits: 2001 : Jacques Lacan or here


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, Sandwich in Kent & London


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

Jacques Lacan in English or here

Translation Working Group here

Use of power here

By Julia Evans  here