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Gougoulis, N. (2014). La France et Freud, Vol. 1: 1946-1953 Une pénible renaissance [A difficult rebirth] et Vol. 2: 1954-1964 D'une scission à l'autre [From one split to another] Alain de Mijolla PUF, Paris, 2012; Vol. 1, 444 pp; €35/Vol. 2, 778 pp; €42. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(5):1041-1045.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(5):1041-1045

La France et Freud, Vol. 1: 1946-1953 Une pénible renaissance [A difficult rebirth] et Vol. 2: 1954-1964 D'une scission à l'autre [From one split to another] Alain de Mijolla PUF, Paris, 2012; Vol. 1, 444 pp; €35/Vol. 2, 778 pp; €42 Language Translation

Review by:
Nicolas Gougoulis

This work in two volumes is a follow-up to the book, Freud et la France, 1885-1945, by the same author (de Mijolla, 2010). Alain de Mijolla is a psychoanalyst who writes the history of psychoanalysis without ever claiming to be a historian. Out of modesty, he describes himself as a “storyteller”, a craft that is tending to disappear, however, to the point that Walter Benjamin once pointed out that the art of telling stories was being lost.

The author uses a method of presenting events and documents which gives shape to the possibility of constructing historical facts. Such construction is contrasted with a narrative that too often generates a mythology with its heroes, its feats of war, its victories and defeats. In his oral teaching, Alain de Mijolla used to emphasize the necessity of dating when it was a case of speaking about references to systems of thought under construction like Freud's. He clearly applies the same method to himself. The construction of the works of his trilogy obeys this rule of chronological presentation year by year. For him it is the only way of keeping to a rigorous reading that contextualizes the birth of the notions and tools of thought of a theoretician. His method constitutes a line of force allowing the reader to form his own opinion. At the same time it has its limits; these are acknowledged and owned by the author who invites other researchers to take over the task of documentary reflection.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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