Peraldi, François (1938-1993)

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François Peraldi, Canadian psychoanalyst and professor of psychoanalysis in the Department of Linguistics of the University of Montreal, was born on May 2, 1938, in Paris, and died in Montreal, on March 21, 1993. The son of Jean Peraldi and Denise Roger, Fran-çois was the second child of a family of three boys. He was proud of his father's heritage as a Corsican montagnard peasant. He attributed his close ties to his father to the double pneumonia he contracted when he was eighteen months old, which required constant care from his father for three months. When his father was mobilized in 1939, he lost the person he loved most in the world. "My first mother," he wrote, "was not my mother, but my father."

After studying medicine Peraldi turned to psychoanalysis, and underwent a teaching analysis with Simone Decobert, an analyst with the Société Psychanalytique de Paris (SPP) (Paris Psychoanalytic Society). After being rejected by the SPP, he was accepted by the École Freudienne de Paris (Freudian School of Paris), where he completed his training. During this period, Peraldi developed friendships with Françoise Dolto, Luce Irigaray, and Michèle Montrelay. Interested in child psychoanalysis, he began working as an institutional psychotherapist with young psychotics. Along with his psychoanalytic training, he completed a doctorate in linguistics with Roland Barthes.

In 1974 he emigrated to Montreal, where he practiced psychoanalysis until his death at the age of fifty-five. Peraldi claimed that what he called the "intellectual terrorism" then practiced in France had driven him from the country. His training in linguistics and psychoanalysis, which led to a teaching position in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Montreal, had made him receptive to the work of Jacques Lacan. Although Peraldi actively promoted Lacan's work, he himself refused to be labeled a Lacanian.

A gifted thinker, Peraldi introduced Lacan's clinical work into North America, where Lacan's influence had been limited to philosophy and aesthetics. To remedy this Peraldi created the Peraldi seminar, attended by intellectuals, clinical practitioners, and apprentice analysts of all persuasions and loyalties. The seminars were given for fifteen years, from 1976 to 1991, and were held every other Wednesday at the university. Attendees listened to presentations by Julien Bigras, Josette Garon, Jean Imbeault, Mireille Lafortune, Jacques Mauger, Lise Monette, Régine Robin and other local practitioners, as well as by Jacques Hassoun, Françoise Dolto, Luce Irigary, Chantal Maillet, Gérard Miller, Gérard Pommier, and Moustapha Safouan. Several of the speakers from Montreal were members of the Montreal Psychoanalytic Society and Peraldi developed close ties with some of them. His friendships with the local psychoanalytic community led to his contributions to the review Interprétation, edited by Julien Bigras. He also became a member of the editorial committee of Frayages and contributed to Filigrane, edited by Hélène Richard.

Because of his opposition to any form of institutionalization, in 1986 Peraldi established the Réseau des Cartels, an idea he had borrowed from Lacan, being careful to emphasize that he was not founding an institution. To the extent that its only function was to promote the transmission of psychoanalysis rather than become a recognized training school, the Réseau served as an alternative to the institutional framework. "This network," he noted, "is a place for exchange and analysis, without any power of recognition or control." He succeeded in obtaining, for a psychoanalytic fringe that rejected any form of institutionalization, a framework for meetings and exchanges in small groups of four"three plus one"to discuss clinical problems, the analyst's desire, and the group unconscious.

He used to joke that Lacan's ideas had helped him become an analyst and read Freud but that he was more Lacanizing than Lacanian. He was an original, if marginalized, thinker, who rejected leaders of all kinds, but he was more than an interpreter of Lacan's work, and developed his own approach to Lacanian ideas. For example, he developed a personal approach to sexuality, which he developed in his 1981 article "Polysexuality."

Because of his early death much of the work intended for his seminar remained incomplete, but the seminars themselves remained a focal point for independent psychoanalysts in Montreal. His work as a consultant to many other analysts also remained unfinished, and the Réseau des Cartels was disbanded after his death.

Jacques Vigneault

See also: Canada; Interprétation ; Lacan, Jacques.


Hazan, Marie. (1994). Transmission, filiation et institution psychanalytique. Rencontre avec François Peraldi. Filigrane, 3, 135-161.

Peraldi, François. (1981). Polysexuality. Semiotexe, 4, 1, 167-170.

. (1981-91). Séminaires sur les premières années de l'œuvre de Lacan.

. (1987. La marge psychanalytique. Frayages, 3, 127-136.

. (1991). L'expérience du silence. Texte, 10, 189-219.