Talking to Brick Walls: A Series of Presentations in the Chapel at the Sainte-Anne Hospital

  • Chris Vanderwees


Concurrent with his delivery of Seminar XIX, …or Worse, from 8 December 1971 to 14 June 1972 at the Paris Law Faculty, Jacques Lacan also gave a series of seven talks under the title, The Psychoanalyst’s Knowledge, for an audience of junior psychiatrists in the Chapel at the Sainte-Anne Hospital.2 Talking to Brick Walls features the first three of these seven talks where Lacan provides a fleeting and whimsical tour through some of his major theoretical contributions, but while especially circling the relationship between psychoanalytic knowledge, truth, and jouissance.3 Since the last four sessions at the Sainte-Anne engage the themes of Lacan’s main seminar at the Law Faculty, Jacques-Alain Miller, editor of Lacan’s oeuvre, has decided to include these sessions chronologically within the publication of Seminar XIX. Talking to Brick Walls (Je Parle Aux Murs) and Seminar XIX, …Or Worse (…Ou Pire) were published in the original French by Éditions du Seuil (Paris) in 2011, respectively, but there have been few efforts at translating The Psychoanalyst’s Knowledge to English until this new rendition from A. R. Price.4 Thus, Price’s lucid and highly readable rendition of Talking to Brick Walls (including his forthcoming translation of Seminar XIX from Polity Press) marks the first time that The Psychoanalyst’s Knowledge has been available in English under the official editorship of Miller.