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I am them

Richard Wollheim, 7 October 1993

Love of Beginnings 
by J.-B. Pontalis, translated by James Greene and Marie-Christine Régius.
Free Association, 260 pp., £13.95, May 1993, 9781853431296
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... J.-B. Pontalis is a Parisian intellectual de pur sang. Born into a wealthy upper-middle-class family, he was brought up in Neuilly, and, as a child, spent long summers at a family house in Cabourg, Proust’s Balbec. He studied philosophy under Sartre, and taught it for some years. He entered psychoanalysis under the aegis of Lacan, and having weaned himself from that unfortunate affiliation, is now one of the leading figures in the French psychoanalytic world ...

Decent Insanity

Michael Ignatieff, 19 December 1985

The Freud Scenario 
by Jean-Paul Sartre, edited by J.-B. Pontalis, translated by Quintin Hoare.
Verso, 549 pp., £16.95, November 1985, 0 86091 121 7
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... Wolfgang Reinhardt, set about boiling the Sartre stew down to a three-hour version. J.-B. Pontalis’s otherwise admirable introduction misleadingly suggests that Huston jettisoned the Sartre version. Yet in his autobiography Huston insists that the Sartre script remained the bedrock of the version which was actually shot in 1961. By this ...

On Getting the Life You Want

Adam Phillips, 20 June 2024

... back to some beginnings.If Freud’s discovery had to be summed up in a single word, Laplanche and Pontalis write in The Language of Psychoanalysis, ‘that word without doubt would have to be “unconscious”’. Freud didn’t ‘discover’ the unconscious, which had been a staple of 19th-century German philosophy and European Romanticism (the term was ...

Assault on Freud

Arnold Davidson, 5 July 1984

Freud: The Assault on Truth 
by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson.
Faber, 308 pp., £9.95, May 1984, 0 571 13240 5
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... in Freud’s work should start with the difficult but important article by Jean Laplanche and J.B. Pontalis, ‘Fantasy and the Origins of Sexuality’.2 I have not yet said anything about Masson’s larger historical claims, and turning to them one is confronted by historical reconstructions no better than his textual interpretations. Furthermore, Masson ...

On Being Left Out

Adam Phillips: On FOMO, 20 May 2021

... out of, and that can make him feel jealous, envious and vengeful. The primal scene, Laplanche and Pontalis write in The Language of Psychoanalysis, refers to ‘the scene of sexual intercourse between the parents which the child observes, or infers, on the basis of certain indications and fantasies. It is generally interpreted by the child as an act of ...

Against Self-Criticism

Adam Phillips, 5 March 2015

... the provider and guardian of what Freud calls our ‘ego-ideals’. The ego-ideal, Laplanche and Pontalis write in The Language of Psychoanalysis, ‘constitutes a model to which the subject attempts to conform’. Once again, Freud prefers the multiple view: ‘Each individual,’ he writes, ‘is a component part of numerous groups, he is bound by ties of ...

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