Review Essay in Contemporary Psychoanalysis

In a Review Essay in Contemporary Psychoanalysis, the Journal of the William Alanson White Institute, Pascal Sauvayre addresses the question “Is Laplanche's Thought Relational?” 

I am proud both of the praise and of the intelligent critique Pascal brings to the translations, but most important is his thoughtful discussion of his topic.  I hope that excerpting a couple of paragraphs will serve as a seduction to read his thoughtful article. He begins by highlighting “why it is important for ‘us’, particularly us American relationalists, to read Laplanche… some of the most important reasons [include]:

“The first is to be found in his unique "return to Freud" (very different from Lacan's). In contrast to our own tradition, where the not uncommon attitude is that Freud has either been disposed of or left behind, Laplanche's return to Freud is a literal return through careful re-readings of Freud's texts in order to "work" (and rework) them by engaging the challenges of translation. This close study of his texts lead him to revisit some of ''our own" cherished aspects of Freud's thought …

“Reconsidering such concepts as the unconscious, analytic neutrality, analytic and/versus therapeutic action, sexuality, and seduction from the perspective of a Laplanchian "idiolect" (a term he uses to mean an intellectual dialect) will provide us with a fresh perspective on our own relational English. There is nothing like learning a foreign language to better appreciate one's mother tongue.

Translations of two more volumes of Laplanche’s work have been published since those covered in Pascal’s essay:  New Foundations for Psychoanalysis and Après-coup.   

New Foundations (1987) is rightly understood as Laplanche’s central text.  In discussing the order in which he wanted me to publish the translations, Laplanche called it “the hinge of my work.”

Après-coup appeared in 2006 when he lightly edited his lectures from 1989-1990.  It is, to my mind, a magnificent and accessible work of scholarship, or perhaps I should say, an opportunity to see the mind of a magnificent scholar at work.

In celebration of this review essay by Pascal Sauvayre, The Unconscious in Translation is offering a 20% discount on everything purchased from now until Labor Day by using the coupon code FREUD (all caps).