Granoff, Wladimir Alexandre (1924-2000)

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Wladimir Alexandre Granoff, a French psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, was born September 7, 1924, in Strasbourg, and died in Neuilly-sur-Seine on February 2, 2000.

His family, part of the Russian intelligentsia, had moved to Alsace after emigrating from Russia. Young Granoff attended secondary school in Strasbourg. During the war, as a refugee in Nîmes, he discovered Freud's work in the local library. He began studying medicine and psychiatry in Lyon and continued his education in Paris.

With the Société Psychanalytique de Paris (Paris Psychoanalytic Society) he began a training analysis with Marc Schlumberger; Maurice Bouvet and then Jacques Lacan directed his group control analysis, and Francis Pasche his individual control analysis. In 1953 he began organizing the student rebellion at the Institut de Psychanalyse with Serge Leclaire and François Perrier, whom he followed during the June 1953 split. The three men were later referred to as the "Troika." After their secession they participated actively in the Société Française de Psychanalyse (SFP) (French Society for Psychoanalysis), founded in 1953, leading seminars on clinical psychoanalysis together and working to ensure the organization's admission into the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA). During a colloquium on female sexuality organized by the SFP in September 1960 in Amsterdam, Granoff and François Perrier presented a report on "Le problème de la perversion chez la femme et les idéaux féminins," which reopened the question of female sexuality (La Psychanalyse, 1964).

He played an important role in negotiations with the IPA (Pierre Turquet, Max Gitelson) because of his multilingualism (he spoke Russian, German, English, and French). In 1963, together with his friend Victor Smirnoff, he prepared a "Histoire de la psychanalyse en France," in order to convey to the Anglo-American psychoanalytic community the originality and specificity of psychoanalysis in France. The article was mimeographed and translated into English, but remains unpublished at this time. Despite these efforts, Granoff sensed that their request would be rejected and that Lacan would never be admitted to the IPA. He also felt he himself had been betrayed by Lacan. So, in 1964, he helped found the Association Psychanalytique de France (French Psychoanalytic Association) and abandoned any further involvement in institutional politics, refusing even to attend IPA congresses.

After years of absence from public life, he presented a paper in 1973-1974, "Filiations, l'avenir du complexe d'OEdipe," a psychoanalytic interpretation of the history of psychoanalysis, characterized by a return to Freud's writings. In 1974-1975 he gave another talk on "La pensée et le féminin." These presentations were contemporaneous with those given by François Perrier and it was at this time that the two men renewed their former friendship.

He was one of the first to introduce Sándor Ferenczi in France and held a conference in 1958 entitled "Ferenczi: faux problème ou vrai malentendu" (published in La Psychanalyse, 1961). In 1983 he published, together with philosopher Jean-Michel Rey, L 'Occulte, objet de la pensée freudienne, in which he investigated Freud's interest in telepathy.

His withdrawal from organizational work did not mean retirement from active life, and Granoff always maintained relations with French Lacanians and foreign colleagues. Because of his broad exposure to European culture and his Slavic background, he was perhaps the most cosmopolitan, the most international French psychoanalyst of his generation. His workin large part appearing in individual articlesfocused on Freudian practice as well as the problems of translating and transmitting psychoanalysis.

Jacques SÉdat

See also: Association psychanalytique de France; Femininity; France; Psychoanalytic filiations; Société française de psychanalyse; Telepathy.


Granoff, Wladimir. (1975). Filiations. L'avenir du complexe d'Œdipe. Paris: Minuit.

. (1976). La penséeetleféminin. Paris: Minuit.

Granoff, Wladimir, and Perrier, François. (1964). Le problème de la perversion chez la femme et les idéaux féminins. Psychanalyse, 7, 141-199.

. (1979). Le désir et le féminin. Paris: Aubier.

Granoff, Wladimir, and Rey, Jean-Michel. (1983). L'Occulte, objet de la pensée freudienne. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.