Lacan decided that an analysis of the Symposium of Plato in his Seminar of 1960 - 1961
would be an illuminating detour by which to investigate the transference relation in
psychoanalysis. His intention was to raise the question about the place of the analyst, the
role of the analyst, the implication of the analyst in the analytic 'situation'. Central to this
investigation of the place of the analyst is the ethical question of where the analyst ought to position himself in order to respond to the transference and this question introduces that which powers the Seminar, namely, what is and where is the desire of the analyst.
I am not in a position to speak usefully about the desire of the analyst and will leave the path suggested by these opening words for another day. While I may not consider myself to be in a position to move towards the elaboration of a position on transference and the place of the desires of either party implicated therein, I hope I can be something of a guide to the reading of the Symposium, in the light of Lacan's commentary on that text. What follows is a far from of the Symposium, in the light of Lacan's commentary on that text. What follows is a far from exhaustive reading of the Symposium as illuminated by a reading of Lacan's Seminar. It does not aim towards any conclusion, any neat, reductive formulation of either text. If anything, it will leave things open, it will leave questions hanging, it will puzzle more than comfort. The end of this essay will be the reaching of the end of the Symposium in tandem with a point less than half way through Lacan's Seminar (his commentary on Plato's text took up twelve of his twenty-seven seminars that year.) Along the way the reading of the ancient text by Lacan's light will be interrupted by some of his observations which are strictly speaking psychoanalytic as opposed to elaborations of the Greek text. I hope, without being able to detail in what way, that the reader will benefit from what falls out of the reading.