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Flanders, S. (2015). On Piera Aulagnier's ‘Birth of a Body, Origin of a History’. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 96(5):1403-1415.

(2015). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 96(5):1403-1415

On Piera Aulagnier's ‘Birth of a Body, Origin of a History’ Language Translation

Sara Flanders

Reading Aulagnier is not easy. She pushes the boundaries of psychoanalytic discourse in unexpected and ambitious directions. For example, by way of a preamble to her study of earliest psychic experience, she offers a discourse on the place of the body in the religious and scientific traditions, noting that psychoanalysis though part of a scientific tradition has links with a religious discourse that interprets the meaning of the experience of the body in relation to desire. Sometimes she seems to be on the brink of a religious discourse herself, reflecting her elusive subject - the origins of personal history, the imagined experience of a newborn baby.

Best known internationally for the book translated by the IPA The Violence of Interpretation, Piera Aulagnier writes from a position that is deeply embedded in the French psychoanalytical tradition. At the same time, she is original, idiosyncratic: she stands alone. She was a considerable actor in the political and theoretical upheavals which have marked the history of psychoanalysis in France (Birksted-Breen, Flanders, Gibeault 2012). Elements of that history are evident in many of the assertions she makes in this essay (although she rarely uses a footnote or quotes another author to express an affinity or contest an argument). Tradition and her position within it is taken as if understood by her French readership, for whom this paper was written. Aulagnier gets on with her own original observations, often using her own inventive language to name something newly identified.

[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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