Laplanche: An Introduction

Laplanche: An Introduction

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In 1997, the Presses Universitaires de France commissioned Dominique
Scarfone for another book for their series Psychanalystes d’aujourd’hui. The
result was Jean Laplanche, now available in Dorothée Bonnigal-Katz’s
brilliantly clear English translation as “Laplanche: an introduction.” More than
an overview of Laplanche’s career, Scarfone’s text presents an unparalleled
insight into the mechanisms, provocations, and spectacular theoretical
achievements of Laplanche’s work, which has been increasingly recognized
as integral to Francophone—and more recently, Anglophone—psychoanalytic
practice and theory.

This volume brings together Scarfone’s book with two representative works
of Laplanche’s writing: his introduction to the French translation of Freud’s
Beyond the Pleasure Principle, perhaps the last major work completed before
his death in 2012; and Fantasme Originaire, Fantasmes des Origines, Origines
du Fantasme
, the classic 1964 essay written in collaboration with J.-B.
Pontalis, in a new translation by Jonathan House. Finally, this volume includes
a complete bibliography of Laplanche’s work, in English and in French.

Jean Laplanche was described by Radical Philosophy as “the most original
and philosophically informed psychoanalytic theorist of his day.” Studying
philosophy under Hyppolite, Bachelard, and Merleau-Ponty, he became an
active member of the French Resistance under the Vichy regime. Under the
influence (and treatment) of Jacques Lacan, Laplanche came to earn a
doctorate in medicine and was certified as a psychoanalyst. He eventually
broke ties with Lacan and began regularly publishing influential contributions
to psychoanalytic theory, his first volume appearing in 1961. In 1967 he
published, with his colleague J.-B. Pontalis, the celebrated encyclopaedia The
Language of Psychoanalysis
. Member of the International Psychoanalytic
Association, co-founder of the Association Psychanalytique de France,
emeritus professor and founder of the Center for Psychoanalytic Research at
the Université de Paris VII, and assistant professor at the Sorbonne, he also
oversaw, as scientific director, the translation of Freud’s complete oeuvre into
French for the Presses Universitaires de France.

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