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Mango, E.G. (2014). Jean-Bertrand Pontalis 1924-2013. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(3):573-576.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(3):573-576


Jean-Bertrand Pontalis 1924-2013

Edmundo Gómez Mango

J.-B. Pontalis died on 15 January 2013, the day of his 89th birthday. He had almost announced it for, in one of his last books, En marges des nuits (2010), he wrote: “I remember having concocted a secret: death would surprise me on my birthday. When? I did not know, but I was sure it would be on that day. It was a curious conviction that led me to confound and, so to speak, marry birth and death.” One of the greatest figures of psychoanalysis and French culture has thus passed away. The psychoanalytic world is once again in mourning, after the successive deaths during the year 2012 of André Green, Guy Rosolato and Jean Laplanche.

He was born in Paris on 15 January 1924. He knew Jean Laplanche and Didier Anzieu at the Lycée Henri IV, where they followed a preparatory course for admission to the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS). Prior to that his first philosophy teacher, Jean-Paul Sartre, had had a great influence on him and was later to become his friend and also his collaborator at the famous journal Les Temps Modernes, where he published a significant number of articles on diverse subjects that were subsequently brought together in Après Freud (1965). After obtaining his agrégation in philosophy, he taught in Egypt and France. He underwent a ‘didactic analysis’ with Jacques Lacan in 1951 and took part in his seminar for several years.

He was truly a figure who ‘stirred up’ psychoanalysis and French cultural life.

[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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