‘Lacan and Marx: The Invention of the Symptom’ by Pierre Bruno

Published by Routledge in 2019.

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Lacan and Marx: The Invention of the Symptom provides an incisive commentary on Lacan’s reading of Marx, mapping the relations between these two vastly influential thinkers.

Unlike previous books, Bruno provides a detailed history of Lacan’s reading of Marx and surveys his references to Marx in both his writings and seminars. Examining Lacan’s key argument that Marx “invented the symptom”, Bruno shows how Lacan went on to criticize Marx and contrasts Marx’s concept of surplus-value with Lacan’s surplus-enjoyment. Exploring the division between Marxist and psychoanalytic perspectives on social and psychological need and Lacan’s formalisation of the capitalist discourse, the book compares the positions of Althusser, Deleuze and Guattari, and Žižek on the relations between Lacan, Marx and capitalism, using a wide range of cultural examples, from Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to Brecht’s Joan Dark and Pierpont Mauler. Through these readings, Bruno also elaborates an extended commentary on Lacan’s central idea of the division of the subject. His focus is not only on showing how we can exit from capitalism but also, and just as importantly, on showing how we can make capitalism exit from us.

This book will be of great interest to scholars and readers of Lacan and Marx from across the fields of psychoanalysis, philosophy and political economy, and will also appeal to Lacanian psychoanalysts in clinical practice.

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