|Born||14 February 1944|
|Alma mater||Ecole Normale Superieure |
University of Paris VIII
|Part of a series of articles on|
Jacques-Alain Miller (French: [milɛʁ]; born 14 February 1944) is a psychoanalyst and writer. He is one of the founder members of the École de la Cause freudienne (School of the Freudian Cause) and the World Association of Psychoanalysis which he presided from 1992 to 2002. He is the sole editor of the books of The Seminars of Jacques Lacan.
Miller's career began early, interviewing Jean-Paul Sartre in 1960 when he was sixteen years old. At the time he was in khâgne at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand and studying Latin in private classes with Jean-Louis Laugier who gave him "the desire to be a Normalien".
In 1962, he entered the École Normale Supérieure where he studied with Louis Althusser. There he befriended fellow students who would also go on to leave a lasting mark on intellectual life in France: Étienne Balibar, Pierre Macherey, François Regnault, Robert Linart and Jean-Claude Milner. At the ENS he attended the seminars of Roland Barthes, the "first writer with whom I had a close friendship". At this time he also met the young Derrida who was lecturing at the Sorbonne.
In 1963, Althusser assigned Miller the task of reading "all of Lacan" and Miller carried out the task admiringly. The following year, Jacques Lacan was appointed lecturer at the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes and transferred his Seminar to the ENS. Miller's encounter with Lacan was to be a decisive one: he contributed to the Seminar first with questions, then with full texts over the following years. Over the summer break of 1964, Lacan invited Miller to his country house, La Prévôté in Guitrancourt, where Miller read the transcriptions of Lacan's early seminars. During a later stay at Guitrancourt, Miller began a relationship with Judith Lacan, Lacan's daughter, whom he married in 1966. The index of concepts and the commentary on the graphs in Lacan's 1966 Écrits were drawn up by Miller, and in that same year, he founded Cahiers pour l'Analyse, a seminal publication whose editorial board included Alain Grosrichard, Regnault, Milner and, later, Alain Badiou.
Miller's written texts from this early period are published in the Gallimard collection, Un début dans la vie (2002) which includes his interview with Sartre and the influential text presented at Lacan's Seminar (24 February 1965), "Suture: Elements of the Logic of the Signifier".
After a period of active involvement in the leftwing movements associated with May 1968, Miller was encouraged by Lacan to take "another path by which to get your privileged revolt across: mine for example". In time Miller would become instrumental in Lacan's École Freudienne de Paris, founding and editing the journal Ornicar ? which published lessons of Lacan's Seminar. When Lacan moved to the University of Vincennes—the Department of Psychoanalysis was renamed "Le Champ freudien"—Lacan became its director, and Michel Foucault appointed Jacques-Alain Miller president.
Miller's teaching from this period (1972-1978) took on the name L'Orientation lacanienne and gave rise to published texts on Bentham, Peirce and Church.
In 1973, Miller transcribed at Lacan's behest the 1964 Seminar on The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis which was to lead to a lifelong commitment to establishing the full series of Lacan's annual Parisian Seminar. Book XI was published by Seuil in 1973, with Books I & Book XX following in 1975 and Book II in 1978.
Miller also contributed in 1973 to the two-part televised programme that later became known as "Television", leading Lacan to credit Miller by saying "He who interrogates me / also knows how to read me".
Lacan's dissolution of the EFP in 1980 was followed by the creation of La cause freudienne. Soon thereafter Lacan died, leaving Miller as the sole editor of his seminars.
Miller resumed his weekly seminars in 1980, thus opening the series known as L'Orientation lacanienne II. Dedicated to expounding and elucidating Lacan's work, Miller's course was attended by many influential figures in psychoanalytic theory, notably Éric Laurent and Slavoj Zizek. The Lacanian Orientation course went under the banner of a "return to the clinic" and early themes included "From the Symptom to the Fantasy" (1982-3), "The Differential Clinic of Psychoses" (1987-8 DEA seminar), and "Traits of Perversion" (1988-9).
The 1980s were also a period of extensive travel in Europe and Latin America to consolidate the emerging communities of Lacan's students and adherents, culminating in the founding of the European School of Psychoanalysis in 1990 (now the European Federation of the Schools of the WAP) and the Argentine Escuela de la Orientación Lacaniana in 1992.
Over this decade, Miller established Book III and Book VII of Lacan's Seminar. Miller's 1980s lectures in Buenos Aires are collected in Tome I of Conferencias Porteñas (Paidos, 2010).
In the early nineties, Miller's work began to be translated into English and published in the United States through the Newsletter of the Freudian Field and the New York-based cultural journal Lacanian Ink under the editorship of Josefina Ayerza.
In 1992, Miller launched the World Association of Psychoanalysis which grouped together the École de la Cause freudienne, the European School of Psychoanalysis, and the Escuela de la Orientación Lacaniana, and soon thereafter oversaw the creation of Schools in Brazil, Spain and Italy which were likewise included in the WAP.
The end of the decade saw a "thaw" in relations with the IPA thanks to the efforts of its then President Horacio Etchegoyen. Miller was invited to attend the 1997 IPA Congress in Barcelona where his remarks from the floor were greeted with warm applause.
In 1995, Miller's weekly course moved to the Paul-Painlevé Amphitheatre at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, where it would continue until his retirement from University Paris-VIII in 2009. In 1998, his teaching entered its third phase as L'Orientation lacanienne III. The Buenos Aires lectures of the 1989-1996 period are collected in Tome II of Conferencias Porteñas (Paidos, 2009). The nineteen nineties also saw the publication of Book IV, Book V and Book XVII of Lacan's Seminar, established by Miller.
After two decades devoted exclusively to training analysts and furthering worldwide institutional links, alongside the ongoing transcription of Lacan’s Seminar, 2001 saw a return to the public stage Miller had occupied in the late sixties. In June 2001, the journal of the SPP published an article that contained false and misleading information on Miller and the École de la Cause freudienne. When his request to have a short note published, rectifying the factual elements, was refused by the journal’s editor, Miller turned to "enlightened public opinion" to state his case, publishing a first letter on 3 September 2001. Its enthusiastic reception by France’s intellectual community gave rise to five further letters which look in detail at the issues surrounding Lacan’s 1963 "excommunication" from the IPA and the history of the psychoanalytic movement over the four ensuing decades. The third letter, penned in the wake of the September 11 attacks, also offers a reflection on terrorism and political action.
In 2003, Miller founded the New Lacanian School, which groups together the societies from the UK, Belgium, Switzerland, Israel, and Greece along with affiliated groups from Ireland and Eastern Europe. In the same year he published the satirical Neveu de Lacan (Verdier) in response to the 2002 pamphlet by Daniel Lindenberg, Le Rappel à l’ordre.
In October 2003, the French government passed a bill intended to regulate, for the first time, the practice of psychotherapy in France. Voted in following a late-night parliamentary session that was preceded by little discussion with the professionals concerned, Miller alerted public opinion in another letter, published on 17 November, addressed to the UMP politician Bernard Accoyer. Over the following months, Miller spearheaded the movement dedicated to increasing both public and professional awareness of the issues at stake, prompting Bernard-Henri Lévy to write: "Sometimes history hangs on a thread. It is quite likely that in this affair the thread bears the name of this one man: Jacques-Alain Miller". The action of the Forums that assembled under Miller’s impulsion ultimately led to the revision of the Bill.
The transcription of Lacan’s Seminar continued, with Book VIII (Second Edition), Book X, Book XXIII, Book XVI and Book XVIII all appearing in this decade. In 2008, at the time of the sixth WAP Congress, Miller delivered a lecture before a 1, 700 strong audience at the Teatro Coliseo. This lecture is transcribed alongside his 1996-2001 Argentine lectures collected in Tome III of Conferencias Porteñas (Paidos, 2010). At this time, he also became a regular guest-contributor to France Culture radio and French news magazines such as Marianne and Le Point. A selection of his public articles was collected as Le secret des dieux (2005) and in 2008, he took part in the “Rally of the Impossible Professions” in London, speaking alongside Richard Gombrich and Michael Power. In 2009, he founded Hurly-Burly, the International Lacanian Journal of Psychoanalysis.
Miller's 2009-2010 course, delivered at the Théâtre Déjazet, was dedicated to Lacan's life, examining links between Lacan's psychoanalytic ethics and biographical details that Miller had not previously related in public. The course was later partially written up and published as Vie de Lacan (2011).
Miller's ongoing psychoanalytic teaching is regularly translated into English, as are his frequent articles and interviews on current events.
Book XIX of the Seminar of Jacques Lacan appeared in 2011 and Book VI in 2013.