Roudinesco, Elisabeth 1944-
ROUDINESCO, Elisabeth 1944-
PERSONAL: Born October 9, 1944, in Paris, France; daughter of Alexandre Roudinesco (a doctor) and Jenny Weiss (a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst); married Michel Favart, 1966 (divorced, 1969). Education: Sorbonne, University of Paris, Licence de Lettres Modernes, 1968; Universite de Paris VIII, Doctorat de Lettres, 1975; psychoanalytic training at Ecole Freudienne de Paris; Universite de Paris VII, These d'Etat en Histoire, 1991. Hobbies and other interests: Cinema, television, newspapers, history of feminism, history of communism, history of Freudianism.
ADDRESSES: Home—89 ave. Denfert-Rochereau, 75014 Paris, France. Agent—Olivier Betourne, Artheme Fayard, 75 rue des Saints-Peres, 75006 Paris, France.
CAREER: Writer; psychoanalyst. Member of Ecole Freudienne de Paris, 1969-80; Universite de Paris VII, Paris, France, director of research of history department, 1992—; L'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, minister of conferences, 1992—; Maison des Ecrivains, committee member.
MEMBER: Society of the History of Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis (vice president).
Un discours au réel: Théorie de l'inconscient et politique de la psychanalyse, Mame (Tours, France), 1973.
L'inconscient et ses lettres, Mame (Tours, France), 1975.
Pour une politique de la psychanalyse, F. Maspero (Paris, France), 1977.
(With Henri Deluy) La psychanalyse mère et chienne, Union générale d'éditions, 1979.
La bataille de cent ans: Histoire de la psychanalyse en France, two volumes, Editions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1982, translation by Jeffrey Mehlman published as Jacques Lacan & Co.: A History of Psychoanalysis in France, 1925-1985, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1990.
Theroigne de Mericourt, une femme melancolique sous la revolution, Editions du Seuil (Paris, France) 1989, translation published as Theroigne de Mericourt: A Melancholic Woman during the French Revolution, Verso (New York, NY), 1991.
Madness and Revolution: The Lives and Legends of Theroigne de Mericourt, Verson (New York, NY), 1992.
Jacques Lacan: Esquisse d'une vie, histoire d'un systeme de pensee, Editions Artheme Fayard (Paris, France), 1993, translation published as Jacques Lacan: His Life and Work, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1997.
Généalogies, Fayard (Paris, France), 1994.
Pourquoi la psychanalyse?, Fayard (Paris, France), 1999, translation by Rachel Bowlby published as Why Psychoanalysis?, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2001.
(Editor, with Michel Plon) Dictionnaire de la psychanalyse, Fayard (Paris, France), 1997, new edition, 2000.
Also author of Initiation à la linguistique générale. Contributor to Penser la folie: Essais sur Michel Foucault, Galilée (Paris, France), 1992. Contributor to Action Poetique, 1969-79, and Liberation, 1986—.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Studies in the history of Freudianism.
SIDELIGHTS: Elisabeth Roudinesco has given readers several in-depth studies of psychoanalysis and its practitioners. In her biography Jacques Lacan: His Life and Work, she details the life and work of Jacques Marie Emile Lacan, the most famous follower of Sigmund Freud to come from France. Lacan's reputation was established in the late 1960s, when at the age of sixty-five he published a collection of papers on psychoanalysis, describing himself as Freud's true heir. In fact, his work was also strongly influenced by Claude Levi-Strauss and many others, and it was "frequently opaque to the point of incomprehensibility," commented Richard Webster in New Statesman. Lacan was also known for his short, intense therapy sessions, some lasting as little as a few moments. Lacan's detractors described him as an intellectual terrorist. Roudinesco's biography reveals his powerful personality and is "a welcome aid to keeping him in perspective," advised Perry Meisel in the New York Times Book Review. Booklist contributor Kathleen Hughes also recommended the book, stating, "This absorbing study is both fascinating and highly readable."
In Why Psychoanalysis?, Roudinesco challenges the modern practice of using medication to alleviate symptoms of mental illness, rather than trying to get to the root of the problem and cure it. By trying to remove symptoms deemed undesirable, rather than probe individual psyches, the psychiatric establishment is undermining the qualities that make humanity valuable and unique, contends Roudinesco. Her book is an "eloquent defense of psychoanalysis," reported Mary Carroll in Booklist, one that offers "valuable insights" into the profession. Carroll contended that Roudinesco's greatest achievement in Why Psychoanalysis? is her "insistence that the human subjectivity at the heart of psychoanalysis is ignored and defeated by the scientific approaches dominant today."
Roudinesco once told CA: "After studying arts and linguistics at the Sorbonne, I attended Gilles Deleuze's seminars at the University of Paris VIII from 1969 to 1971. I was also a pupil of Michel de Certeau, who introduced me to the study of history. I also attended Michel Foucault's courses and was close to Louis Althusser. From 1969 to 1979 I collaborated on the journal Action Poetique and wrote numerous articles devoted to works of literature (including the works of Raymond Roussel, Antonin Artaud, and Louis Ferdinand Celine), Freudian Marxism, and psychoanalysis. I received my psychoanalytical training under the auspices of the Ecole Freudienne de Paris and since 1979 I have specialized in psychoanalysis and its history, Freudianism, and madness."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
America, November 29, 1997, review of Jacques Lacan: His Life and Work, p. 35.
Booklist, March 15, 1997, Kathleen Hughes, review of Jacques Lacan: His Life and Work, p. 1206; December 15, 2001, Mary Carroll, review of Why Psychoanalysis?, p. 685.
Canadian Literature, autumn, 1995, review of Jacques Lacan & Co.: A History of Psychoanalysis in France, 1925-1985, p. 111.
Choice, September, 1997, review of Jacques Lacan: His Life and Work, p. 144.
Dissent, summer, 1998, review of Jacques Lacan: His Life and Work, p. 118.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 1997, review of Jacques Lacan: His Life and Work, p. 284.
Library Journal, April 15, 1997, review of Jacques Lacan: His Life and Work, p. 102; January, 2002, E. James Lieberman, p. 131.
New Statesman, July 11, 1997, Richard Webster, review of Jacques Lacan: His Life and Work, p. 44.
New York Times Book Review, April 13, 1997, Perry Meisel, review of Jacques Lacan: His Life and Work, p. 12.
Publishers Weekly, March 3, 1997, review of Jacques Lacan: His Life and Work, p. 56.
Reference & Research Book News, August, 1997, review of Jacques Lacan: His Life and Work, p. 5.
Society, November, 1994, review of Jacques Lacan & Co.: A History of Psychoanalysis in France, 1925-1985, p. 92.
Times Literary Supplement, January 28, 1994, review of Jacques Lacan: Esquisse d'une vie, histoire d'un systeme de pensee, p. 23; October 17, 1997, review of Jacques Lacan: His Life and Work, p. 15.
Translation Review Supplement, July, 1997, review of Jacques Lacan: His Life and Work, p. 18.
Village Voice Literary Supplement, summer, 1997, review of Jacques Lacan: His Life and Work, p. 8.*