‘Enjoy Your Symptom! Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out’ by Slavoj Žižek

First published by Routledge in 1991. Download link and description updated on 8th August 2021.

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In Enjoy Your Symptom!, Žižek introduces the ideas of Jacques Lacan through the medium of Hollywood film, taking his examples from over 100 years of American cinema, from Charlie Chaplin and Alfred Hitchcock to The Matrix. He argues for the accessibility and ultimate simplicity of Lacan’s theory through a reference to popular culture which forms the background of our common experience.

The book is divided into six chapters, each elucidating some fundamental Lacanian notion or theoretical complex – letter, fantasy, woman, repetition, phallus, father and reality. Each chapter is then divided into two parts. In the first part, Lacan is in Hollywood, i.e. the notion or complex in question is explained through the medium of American film or popular culture in general. In the second division, we are outside cinema, i.e. the same notion is elaborated as it is in its inherent Lacanian context.


Slavoj Žižek is a Philosopher and psychoanalytic social theorist. He is Senior Researcher at the Department of Philosophy, University of Ljubljana; Professor at the School of Law and Director of the Institute for the Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London; Distinguished Scholar at the Kyung Hee University, Seoul; and Visiting Professor at the German Department, New York University. His field of work comprises Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, dialectical-materialist metaphysical interpretations of German Idealism and Marxian critique of ideology. His more than sixty books in English have been widely translated. His latest publications include Pandemic! & Pandemic! 2, Hegel in a Wired Brain, Sex and the Failed Absolute, Like A Thief In Broad DaylightReading MarxIncontinence of the Void, and The Day After the Revolution.

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