The function of the anxiety : 13th July 2006 (Rome) : François Leguil

by Julia Evans on July 13, 2006

Presented on 13th July 2006 at World Association of Psychoanalysis 5th Congress : “The Name of the Father : Doing Without, Making Use of” – “The end and the beginning  of psychoanalysis.”

Translated by Thelma Sowley


– From the Vth World Association of Psychoanalysis’ Conference :

‘Scilicet of the Name of the Father’: Rome: 13th – 16th July, 2006 :

Published by

p7-8 of Scilicet : – 8 – Scilicet of the Name-of-the-Father :

Available at  /texts by request  Password on request from here

– The function of the anxiety – by itself : Available at  /authors a-z or authors by date  


In French, Angoisse constituée, angoisse constituante : Jacques-Alain Miller’s intervention : published by : here

Jacques-Alain Miller’s intervention : Anxiety Constituent and Constituted : probably presented in Rome on 16th July 2006 includes the following quote :

The anxiety which must be done without is – as François Leguil showed us in the first presentation – the development of anxiety, its Entwicklung, its half- baked muddle by which the subject is held captive and which inhibits the act. That anxiety is certainty refused, anticipation and refusal of the certainty which the act would produce.

Extract of Jacques-Alain Miller’s presentation, at the 2006 WAP Congress: Le nom-du-père, s’en passer, s’en servir [The Name-of- the-Father, doing without it, putting it to use] :

Extract translated by Kieran O’Meara :

Published SCRIOBH – the New Newsletter of the ICLO-NLS (Irish Circle of the New Lacanian School) : Issue 1 – 1st February 2017 :

Available here


– ‘At the end of his Seminar devoted to The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, Lacan reminds us that anxiety is an obstacle and not the conclusion that follows the passage. Within its grips, the horror is sterile if one does not go beyond. Unlike the symptom, which is necessary, the question for anxiety is not that of its utility, nor of its inutility.’

Probably Seminar VII : 20th January 1960 : p103 of Dennis Porter’s translation : Quote: The direction taken by Freudian thought has involved locating affect under the heading of a signal. A sufficient indication of this is that, by the end, Freud came to evaluate anxiety itself as a signal. What we are looking for, however, is beyond the organization of the Lust-Ich insofar as it is entirely linked in a phenomenal way to the greater or lesser investment of the system of the Vorstellungsrepräsentanzen, or, in other words, of the signifying elements in the psyche. This is something that is calculated to allow us to define the field of das Ding at least operationally, as we attempt to advance on the terrain of ethics. And since Freud’s thought progressed from a therapeutic starting point, we can try to define the field of the subject insofar as it is not simply the field of the intersubjective subject, the subject subjected to the mediation of the signifier, but what is behind this subject.

With this field that I call the field of das Ding, we are projected into something that is far beyond the domain of affectivity, something moving, obscure and without reference points owing to the lack of a sufficient organization of its register, something much more primitive that I have already tried to describe to you in our previous discussion this year. : Seminar VII: The ethics of psychoanalysis: 1959-1960: begins 18th November 1959 : Jacques Lacan : See here

– ‘This question proceeds from a confusion between its function as a signal, which Freud discovered, and the phenomenon itself, which must not be developed if we want the function to be merely thinkable.’ :

For texts by Freud, see or Sigmund Freud’s texts available electronically   or here

from Part VIII of Inhibitions, Symptoms & Anxiety : 1926d : Sigmund Freud : ‘We cannot find that anxiety has any function other than that of being a signal for the avoidance of a danger-situation.’

– As early as 1926, Freud indicated the direction that our contemporary medical science neglects: calm the phenomenon, die Angstentwicklung, avoid it, or even “eradicate” it, without depriving the subject of its function as a signal. :

Probably p312 to 313 of pfl Vol 10 : towards end of Inhibitions, Symptoms & Anxiety : 1926d : Sigmund Freud : For texts by Freud, see or Sigmund Freud’s texts available electronically   or here

Quote : When, in analysis, we have given the ego assistance which is able to put it in a position to lift its repressions, it recovers its power over the repressed id and can allow the instinctual impulses to run their course as though the old situations of danger no longer existed. What we can do in this way tallies with what can be achieved in other fields of medicine, …’

– ‘In his teaching on anxiety, in 1963, Jacques Lacan reminds us that the Freudian distinction is very different and so much more decisive: in fear the danger is external; in anxiety …’ : See Seminar X: The Anxiety (or Dread): 1962-1963: begins 14th November 1962: Jacques Lacan: Text in English & References or here : Probably Seminar X : 13th March 1963 : pXIV 120 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : Starting then from the distinction between anxiety and fear, I tried as I reminded you just now, at least as a first step to upset the opposition at which there came to a stop the last development of the distinction between them which is accepted by everyone today.

It is certainly not in the direction of a transition from one to the other that the movement goes. If traces of it remain in Freud, that can only be because of the error of attributing to him the idea of this reduction of one to the other, an error founded on what I reminded you there was in him precisely as a beginning of what in reality is this reversal of positions, in this sense that if he says precisely, despite the fact that at one or other detour of his sentences the term objektlos turns up, he says that anxiety is “Angst vor Etwas“, an anxiety about something, it is certainly not to reduce it to being another form of fear, because what he underlines, is the essential distinction between the provenance of what provokes the one and the other.

Therefore it is indeed on the side of the refusal of any emphasis that tends to isolate fear from the entgegenstehen, from what poses itself in front, from fear as response, entgegen precisely, that what I said in passing about fear has to be retained.

On the contrary, it is indeed to recall at first that in anxiety, the subject is, I would say held, concerned, involved in the innermost part of himself, that simply on the phenomenological plane we see already the beginnings of what I tried to articulate further in a more precise fashion. I recalled in this connection the close relationship between anxiety and the whole apparatus of what are called “defences”. And on this path I highlighted again, not without having already articulated, prepared it in all sorts of ways, that it is indeed from the side of the real, as a first approximation, that we have to seek anxiety as that which does not deceive. : Available Seminar X: The Anxiety (or Dread): 1962-1963: begins 14th November 1962: Jacques Lacan: Text in English & References or here

– ‘. As early as 1916, Freud showed that anxiety is not an abnormal or immoderate fear, because it logically precedes it.’

For texts by Freud, see or Sigmund Freud’s texts available electronically   or here

probably Lecture 25 – Anxiety : 1917 : in Part III – General Theory of the Neuroses of Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis: 1915-1917 (Published 1916-1917) : Sigmund Freud : Quotes :

Freud’s Lecture 25 – Anxiety. See footnote 2 & 3 near the beginning for the translator’s note of the difference between Angst and Anxiety.

& 3 or 4 pages in, where Freud states ‘I will only say that I think ‘Angst’ relates to the state and disregards the object’ … ‘A certain ambiguity and indefiniteness in the use of the word ‘Angst’ will not have escaped you. By ‘anxiety’ we usually understand the subjective state into which we are put by perceiving the ‘generation of anxiety’ and we call this an affect. … But I do not think that with this enumeration we have arrived at the essence of an affect. We seem to see deeper in the case of some affects and to recognise that the core which holds the combination we have described together is the repetition of some particular significant experience.’

2 pages further on ‘If we now pass over to consider neurotic anxiety, what fresh forms and situations are manifested by anxiety in neurotics?’

Published by and available here

or published by and available here

or published by and available here

– Little Hans :

Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-year-old Boy – ‘Little Hans’: 1909 : Sigmund Freud

& Part VII of Inhibitions, Symptoms & Anxiety : 1926d : Sigmund Freud

For texts by Freud, see or Sigmund Freud’s texts available electronically   or here

– his commentary on “little Hans” :

Probably Seminar X : 14th November 1962 : pI 4 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation :

& Seminar X : 5th December 1962 : pIV 36 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation

See Seminar X: The Anxiety (or Dread): 1962-1963: begins 14th November 1962: Jacques Lacan: Text in English & References or here

OR Seminar IV : The Object Relation 1956-1957 : from 21st November 1956 : Jacques Lacan : Details of forthcoming English translation here

– ‘On the last page of the July 3, 1963 lesson, Jacques Lacan’ : From Seminar X : 3rd July 1963 : pXXV 237 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : The interpretation that we give is always brought to bear on the greater or lesser dependence of desires with respect to one another. But it is not a confrontation of anxiety. There is only an overcoming of anxiety when the Other has named himself. There is no love except that for a name, as everyone knows from experience. And the moment that the name is pronounced of him or of her to whom our love is addressed, we know very well that it is a threshold which is of the greatest importance.This is only a trace, a trace of this something which goes from the existence of o to its passage into history. What makes of a psychoanalyis a unique adventure is this search for the agalma in the field of the Other. I have often questioned you about what the desire of the analyst should be in order that, there where we are trying to push things beyond the limit of anxiety, work is possible.

Undoubtedly it is fitting that the analyst should be one who has been able, however little it may be, from some angle, from some tack, to make his desire sufficiently enter into this irreducible o to offer to the question of the concept of anxiety a real guarantee.

Available Seminar X: The Anxiety (or Dread): 1962-1963: begins 14th November 1962: Jacques Lacan: Text in English & References or here

Further texts:

By François Leguil here

Of the clinic here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

Commentaries on Seminar X here

Other texts presented at the Vth Congress with notes

Autism : 13th July 2006 (Rome) : Virginio Baio or here

Knot and Name-of-the-Father: July 2006: Pierre Skriabine or here

Guiding Principles for Any Psychoanalytic Act: 16th July 2006 : Rome : Éric Laurent or here

For texts by Sigmund Freud, see or Sigmund Freud’s texts available electronically   or here

Related text

This text quoted in Some relations between Jacques Lacan and Søren Kierkegaard: Seminars II, VII, X, XVII, XX & two of the Écrits or here  by Julia Evans on December 16, 2011


 Note : If links to any 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:

Seminar X: The Anxiety (or Dread): 1962-1963: begins 14th November 1962: Jacques Lacan: Text in English & References or here 

Reading Seminar X  here 

On Lacanian History here 

Of the clinic  here 

Use of power here   

By François Leguil here 

By Sigmund Freud here 

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud  here 

Or by Jacques Lacan  here     

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here 

Jacques Lacan in English or here 

Translation Working Group here 

 By Julia Evans here