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Scarfone, D. (2019). Introduction to de M’Uzan's paper “Interpreting: For Whom and Why?”. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 100(4):732-735.

(2019). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 100(4):732-735

Key Papers

Introduction to de M’Uzan's paper “Interpreting: For Whom and Why?”

Dominique Scarfone

Michel de M’Uzan passed away in January 2018. The paper presented here is a homage to his long and fruitful career. I know of few authors as consistent as de M’Uzan in their elaboration of a praxis where metapsychology, far from being a supposedly “abstract” and speculative theoretical superstructure, is at every turn embodied in the work going on in the analytic room. Over the course of his career of 60 or more years, Michel de M’Uzan has written extensively on the analyst's practical task, on the analytic situation and the events taking place therein. Notions such as “the mouth of the unconscious,” “vacillation of identity,” “paradoxical system,” and “psychological chimera” are but a few of his original formulations of what actually takes place during the analytic session.

The paper offered here for the first time to an anglophone readership is part of a number of writings in which de M’Uzan discusses interpretation, its forms, its status, and its consequences. The present introduction is meant to give the reader some clues to the general underpinnings of de M’Uzan's thought.

Interpretation is considered as the hallmark of what psychoanalysts do. The practice of interpretation goes back a long way, but one could say that it became a discipline in itself with the interpretation of biblical texts inaugurating the hermeneutical tradition. Discovering new meanings by the systematic study of a text and its context is what hermeneutics is about.

[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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