This chapter discusses Jacques Lacan's influential ‘return to Freud’. This ‘turn to theory’ in literature and cultural studies was also a ‘linguistic turn’: a new attention to language. Part of that turn to theory included recognition of the centrality of psychoanalysis to literary criticism. The chapter considers the view that Lacan has always argued that language was Freud's concern, and that psychoanalysis has but one medium: the patient's speech. Psychoanalysis, Lacan felt, had ignored the signifier; ignored not just the point that the ‘talking cure’ works on speech, but that psychoanalysts were oblivious to what speech is.
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