Translations of the German used by Jacques Lacan in Seminar VII : 18th & 25th November + 2nd, 9th & 16th December 1959 + 10th January 1960

by Jo Rostron on April 30, 2013

The version used is ‘Seminar VII: The Ethics of psychoanalysis: 1959-1960’ : translated by Dennis Porter : Routledge, UK, 1992 :  First session: 18th November 1959 (Dates are given at the end of each chapter.)


18 Nov 1959


-Als ob

as if        


luck, or happiness


(luck old German)


lucky in games, or chance


dream interpretation. (deutlich machen, to make clear)


25 Nov 1959



desire, a particular wish





-das Unangenehmste

unpleasantness, unacceptability.  angenehm = pleasant.  nehmen = to take, to accept


design (ich entwerfe ein Haus = I design a building)  werfen = throw (throw together?)

-Formulierungen über die zwei Prinzipen des psychischen Geschehens

formulation on the two principles of the psychic event/happening


routing, a preplanned destination (ie that a train or tram might take).   Strachey in Freud’s Project translates Bahnungen as the facilitations of sexual energy, or ‘Qn’ existing between the psy neurones that represent memory.  Memory is according to Freud generally without the qualities of perception.


thought process concerned with desire



-feindliche Objekt

hostile object


2 Dec 1959



similar meanings to English i.e. as in planting a tree, cultural origins or activities – the ‘soil’ you grow in


denial, negation, the process of denial.  Ich verneine = I deny (e.g. as used in court)


9 Dec 1959


-das Ding

Anything without a name. 

-die Sache

a thing that is specific or particular: an object.  Also court case or disputed thing.  e.g. the matter in question, the affair


an assembly or gathering of people


Made unconscious, from wissen to know.  ?The repressed. (Unbekannte = the unknown, from kennen, to know)


(re)presentation of an object

an imagining of an object

ich stelle mir vor = I imagine)


introduction of, presentation of the word

vorstellen = to introduce or to present

-die Verdrängung


drängen = to push away with force


presentation of an unnamed or undifferentiated, object or thing

-Not des Lebens

this is something drastic – an emergency or an agony of profound need encountered in life.  (Todes Not is death agony.)


realm or domain


movement (e.g. political, wave of human energy)




presentation – or imagination


presentation of the word (then applied to the perception)  Naming?

-die Einführung des Ichs

the introduction of, the entry of, to become aware of, the ego


equal engagement, occupation

-eine Gruppe von Neuronen, die konstant besetzt ist, also dem durch die sekundäre Funktion erforderten Vorratsträger entspricht

a group of neurons, that is constantly engaged (in a state of excitation), thus corresponds through the secondary function as the requisite transformer for the store (of Freud’s ‘Qn’)

(etwas auf Vorrat haben – to have something in reserve. erfordern to require, demand, call for.)


stock, supply, provision, reserve (Freud’s store of ‘Qn’ maintained to meet the demand for action in the external world)


occupation, engagement


equal occupation, engagement


recognition of, awareness of a perception


traces/signs/marks of qualities.  Qualities are conscious perceptions that originate in Freud’s hypothesized omega system of neurons.  According to his ‘Project’ in the CNS quantities of energy are transformed into qualities of perception.


awareness, consciousness






inscription, embossing, engraving






reserve or supply room, larder


transformer of the supply (of sexual energy or ‘Qn’)


the human being right next to you

(it is more impersonal and formal than ‘neighbour’)


lust, longing, pleasure. 

Ich habe Lust zum tanzen – I’d like to dance


lack of desire or lack of enjoyment/pleasure in anything

-spezifische Aktion

this refers to a ‘specific action’ in the external world that is required to meet an exigency of life, and thus draws on Qn that has been stored for this purpose (Freud’s ‘Secondary Function’).  This is in contrast to the uninhibited and spontaneous divestment of Qn to muscular tissue in reflex action (Freud’s ‘Primary Function’).


experience of satisfaction

-Mittel zur Reproduktion von Lust

a means for the reproduction of pleasure

-das ist er, der hysterische Anfall wenigstens in der Wurzel

That at least is the source (the root) of the hysterical attack

-sonst motiviert er sich vor dem Vorbewussten mit allerlet Gründen

otherwise it is motivated by the Pre-conscious for all kinds of reasons

-Versagen des Glaubens

breakdown of faith


choice of neurosis.  Freud has hypothesized that facilitations for the passage of ‘Qn’ through each neuron differ and are independent.   There may be one or several paths of connection between neurons and these determine choice.


16 Dec 1959





perception, recognition of the truth


representative of the imagination

                        of the (re)presentation




anyone’s thing


great thing

-Die Sache ist das Wort des Dinges

the object is the word of the Thing

(der Mensch wird zu Sache = man is reduced to or becomes an object)


perceptual traces, signs, tokens


to become noisy


condemnation, done away with

Urteil = judgement


dismissal (of someone’s opinion for example)

to throw away (verwerfen)






10 Jan 1960





Fanaticism, infatuation, zealotry


work of fixation, definition, specification, recording


responsibility or liability


Drive, drift, inclination




Genital primacy

-Netz der Triebe

Network, web, pathways of the drives


Emotions, movements, dictates, stirrings


Shiftability, displaceability, mobility


Fluidity, liquidity




Gratification, satisfaction