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Baudry, F. (1984). La Plume Sur Le Divan. Psychanalyse Et Littérature En France. (The Pen on the Couch. Psychoanalysis and Literature in France.): By Pamela Tytell. Paris: Aubier Montaigne, 1982. 326 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 53:606-609.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:606-609

La Plume Sur Le Divan. Psychanalyse Et Littérature En France. (The Pen on the Couch. Psychoanalysis and Literature in France.): By Pamela Tytell. Paris: Aubier Montaigne, 1982. 326 pp.

Review by:
Francis Baudry

Pamela Tytell, a Ph.D. scholar from Columbia, now teaching the history of psychoanalysis in Paris after having graduated from one of the French psychoanalytic institutes, has written an interesting book on the relation between psychoanalysis and literature in France.

She adopts a historical perspective, dealing first with the early development of analysis in France and then moving on to the shaping influence of Lacan on analysis and literature. The novel section of her work deals with all aspects of writing by analysts—hence the title La plume sur de divan (The Pen on the Couch). She is concerned with the journals published by the various analytic societies, the ways analysts write up their cases, and the need to write as an unburdening process. She also is interested in shifts in form, such as in the new psycholiterature, which is a hybrid between a surrealist work and an attempt to convey directly, by "show" rather than "tell," the ambiguities of the unconscious mind.

Tytell is able to capture rather well the flavor of the many French analytic movements, which in contrast to their American counterparts are largely nonmedical and lean heavily on a tripod of philosophy, linguistics, and literature.

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