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The Chattering MindA Conceptual History of Everyday Talk$
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Samuel McCormick

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226677637

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226677804.001.0001

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The Writing on the Wall

The Writing on the Wall

(p.219) Seven The Writing on the Wall
The Chattering Mind

Samuel McCormick

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 7 recalls a dream Freud had in the summer of 1895—a dream which would eventually enter psychoanalytic lore as “the dream of Irma’s injection.” At the center of this dream-specimen, as Freud called it, is a communicative practice whose implications for analytic theory and technique would not become apparent until the early-1950s, when Jacques Lacan began lecturing and writing about “empty speech.”As a prelude to the analyses of empty speech in chapters 8 and 9 of The Chattering Mind, chapter 7 considers Freud’s self-analysis of his iconic dream alongside Lacan’s self-proclaimed “re-analysis” of both texts—the dream as well as Freud’s account of it—in his canonical second seminar on The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis (1954-55). The significance of this re-analysis for understanding Lacan’s notion of empty speech cannot be overstated. Nor can its importance for defining the analytic horizon of this ordinary communicative practice—a more truthful and transformative way of speaking Lacan fittingly dubs “full speech.”

Keywords:   Jacques Lacan, Sigmund Freud, Irma's injection, empty speech, full speech, dreams, unconscious, ego, psychoanalysis, anxiety

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