Nouvelle Revue de Psychanalyse

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The Nouvelle revue de psychanalyse (New review of psychoanalysis), founded and headed by Jean-Bertrand Pontalis, was published in Paris byÉditions Gallimard from Spring 1970 to Autumn 1994. By 2004, over fifty collectively-authored volumes were published at the rate of two per year.

Despite the discreet indication found under the title, "published with the collaboration of the Association psychanalytique de France (APF; French Psychoanalytical Association)," the journal was not the official organ of any analytical institution and was not reserved, as a closed field, to analysts alone. The pluralistic composition of the editorial board explicitly manifests this: it was made up of Didier Anzieu, Guy Rosolato, and Victor Smirnoff, all analysts from the APF; André Green, an analyst from the Société psychanalytique de Paris (SPP; Paris Psychoanalytic Society); Masud Khan, a London-based analyst; Jean Pouillon, a scholar of philosophy and ethnology; and Jean Starobinski, a literary critic and scholar of intellectual history.

In the first issue (Incidences de la psychanalyse [Incidences of psychoanalysis]), Pontalis's opening article, "La question de la psychanalyse" (The question of psychoanalysis), announced the journal's guiding principles: Psychoanalysis, as a question, asks questions and allows questions to be asked of it; it questions itself, not within the closed "inside" circle of analysts, but in an open terrain of exchanges and confrontations with the other scientific disciplines. The journal did not erect uncrossable borders between analysts and nonanalysts: By being open to others, it opened up first to itself, to explore its own confines and limits (Aux limites de l'analysable [At the limits of the analyzable] was the title of the tenth issue).

Each issue focused on a theme, but these themes effected a kind of displacement in relation to the established repertory of psychoanalytic notions: for example, The L'Espace du rêve (The dream space) rather than "Le rêve" (Dreams), or L'Amour de la haine (The love of hate) rather than "Amour et haine" (Love and hate) or "Ambivalence." Each theme proposed an idea and its inherent instability, eliciting both reflection and perturbations in thinking. L'Attente (Expectation), Dire (Say), Excitations, La Plainte (Complaint), Liens (Connections) are commonplace words or expressions that, within the space of a collectively written volume, become an open questioning of both theory and practice, on the part of both analysts and the "guests" from outside the field of analytic treatment proper who participated in producing almost all of the issues.

The NRP, as it came to be commonly known, always sought to remain open to the "strange" or foreign, not only by welcoming the work of authors who were foreign by virtue of their country, discipline, or institutional affiliation, but also by its resolve, in each issue, to effect the "test of strangeness," an approximation of the alien dimension that inhabits the very thing of analysis as much as it does the desire of the subject who comes face to face with it. L'Intime et l'Étranger (The intimate and the strange), the title of one issue, refers to the horizons of its writing: what is proper to the psychoanalytic experience, in terms of both treatment and thinking, always being that which dispossesses us and transfers us to what does not belong to us. The choice of this theme was an occasion for confrontation and exchanges, a time to bring forth or invent perspectives that were new and disconcerting for the thinking of everyone, hosts and guests alike, all of them becoming hosts to the strangeness of the unconscious. The NRP was attentive to the international psychoanalytic scene, especially in English-speaking countries, as attested by its publication of the work of Masud Khan, Harold Searles, Robert Stoller, and Donald Woods Winnicott.

For many young analysts or analysts in training, this journal was a sort of workshop, a laboratory for psychoanalytic writing and thinking. The "argument," elaborated by the editorial team made of up François Gantheret, Michel Gribinksi, and Laurence Kahn (with Michel Schneider also a member from 1981 to 1988), was circulated among a group of authors, to provide an opening point for questioning and a stimulating deployment of the proposed theme. From 1983, the Varia or miscellany section, collected and edited by Gribinski, provided an open forum for ideas that were coming or waning, light or occasional piecesin the manner of a log book for the working analyst indulging in reverie.

The success of this publication was broad-based and sustained, both in France and abroad, throughout its run. The NRP was able to claim and maintain an eminent place in the French psychoanalytic landscape, by means of the quality and depth of its theoretical and clinical reflection, and by the independence and originality of its thinking. In his preface to the "Catalogue 1970-1994," Pontalis wrote: "Free of any institutional or university affilitation, and of allegiance to the word of any Master, the Nouvelle revue de psychanalyse has obeyed only one exigency: to make sensible, without erasing it, the life of the unconscious, to make its work intelligible without pretending to master it. It would like its past and future readers to be able to recognize in the movements of its thinking a bit of the approach of the Gradiva, who, supple and decisive, moves forward between the power of dreams and the attraction of life." At the decision of its director, publication of the NRP ceased with the issue titled Inachèvement (Incompletion). The fifty volumes that constituted its written body were one of the places where the Freudian heritage was able to remain alive and, at the same time, be renewed. The NRP, with its successful creation and embodiment of a style, marked psychoanalytic thinking and practice in a decisive and lasting way.

Edmundo Gomez Mango

See also: Association psychanalytique de France; Documents et Débats ; France.


Gribinksi, Michel. (1994). Avant-propos. In Analyse ordinaire, analyse extraordinaire. Paris: Gallimard, "Les varia de la Nouvelle Revue de psychanalyse," p. 7-11.

Pontalis, Jean-Bertrand. (1970). La question de la psychanalyse. Nouvelle Revue de psychanalyse, p.5-8.

. (1984). Le moment venu. Nouvelle Revue de psychanalyse, 30, 5-12.

. (1994). Catalogue 1970-1994. Nouvelle Revue de psychanalyse.

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