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Colin, B. (2008). Avant d'etre celui qui parle [Before Being the Person Who Speaks] by Jean-Claude Rolland Gallimard, Paris, Connaissance de I'inconscient, Traces, 2006; 215 pp; €16.50. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 89(3):670-676.

(2008). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 89(3):670-676

Avant d'etre celui qui parle [Before Being the Person Who Speaks] by Jean-Claude Rolland Gallimard, Paris, Connaissance de I'inconscient, Traces, 2006; 215 pp; €16.50

Review by:
Bertrand Colin

Sometimes a book finds a niche by the analyst's armchair. Before Being the Person Who Speaks may be one of these, along with some other instruments with which

Jean-Claude Rolland is evidently familiar: an art book, a collection of poems, a philosophical essay or some other score to be sight-read, the practice and the enjoyment of playing. What Rolland suggests applies to a reading of Freud — providing ‘the language of analysis’, while ‘analytic or psychotherapeutic practice provides its content’ - may be equally true of his own book. There may be a pleasure in the sight-reading and the practice of Rolland's book, even though the enjoyment of playing is already firmly established. I would like to increase it by quoting from the first few lines of the final chapter, ‘The Self-Sufficiency of the Artwork’:

The work of art … derives its power from its absolute self-sufficiency. ‘Self-sufficiency’ is an ambiguous word. Many of its senses in the psychological context are pejorative when they refer to positions adopted by the human being. These attest that in a poignant reversal the threat of annihilation that this person bears inside him is being denied. Self-sufficiency is at odds with death … That is why self-sufficient people immediately inspire so much aversion … To preserve the ordinary low water-level of our narcissisms, we move away from them as from sources of contamination.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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