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Colloque Sur L'inconscient


The Colloque sur l'inconscient, organized by Henri Ey and devoted to the problems associated with the concept of the unconscious, took place at the end of October 1960, at the Bonneval Psychiatric Hospital, Bonneval, France. The proceedings, published in an octavo volume of more than four hundred pages in 1966, remains one of the most important works on psychopathology of the second half of the twentieth century. Previous colloquia at Bonneval include "Neurologie et Psychiatrie" in 1943, organized by Julian de Ajuriaguerra and Henri Hécaen, and "La Psychogenèse des Névroses et des Psychoses" in 1946, organized by Lucien Bonnafé, Sven Follin, Jacques Lacan, and Julien Rouart.

The first part of the book discusses the associations between the unconscious and the drives, and includes papers by Serge Lebovici and René Diatkine and by François Perrier. Part 2 covers the unconscious and language, and contains papers by Jean Laplanche and Serge Leclaire and by Conrad Stein. In the discussion Maurice Merleau-Ponty introduced his books The Visible and the Invisible and The Prose of the World, and Jacques Lacan, who has an article in the book. Just seven years after the Rome Congress (1953), he positively and polemically laid out his ideas on the central role of language in the formation of the subject (self) and the structuring of the unconscious. Part 3 includes articles on interrelations between our understanding of neuro-biology and the question of the unconscious, with a paper by Claude Blanc and another by Catherine G. Lairy. There follows discussion by Paul Guiraud, René Angelergues, Maurice Dongier, Eugène Minkowski, Jean Hyppolite, and André Green. Part 4 covers the role of the unconscious in psychiatric problems and includes articles by Henri Ey, S. Follin, and André Green, followed by discussion by Jean Hyppolite, Eugène Minkowski, and Jean Laplanche. Part 5, on the unconscious and sociology, contains papers by Henri Lefèbvre and by Conrad Stein. The last part of the book concerns the relations between the unconscious and philosophical thought, and includes articles by Alphonse d'Waelhens, Georges Lantéri-Laura, and Paul Ricoeur.

According to the participants, the published texts accurately reflect the content of the actual proceedings. The event provided an opportunity to compare two different concepts of psychoanalysis and to discuss connections among mental pathology, the unconscious, the role of society, brain activity, and some epistemological issues. Although dated, none of the articles in the collection have lost any of their relevance.

GEorges LantÉri-Laura

See also: Ey, Henri; France; Lacan, Jacques-MarieÉmile.


Ey, Henri (Ed.). (1966). L 'Inconscient, 6e Colloque de Bonneval, 1960. Paris: Desclée de Brouwer.

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