Psychanalyse et les Névroses, La

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La psychanalyse et les névroses followed in the wake of Emmanuel Régis and Angélo Hesnard's important work on the psychoanalysis of the neuroses and psychoses (1914). René Laforgue and René Allendy's book offered the French public a series of writings on psychoanalysis that were replete with clinical examples. The chapters on symbolism and those written from a non-medical point of view were by Allendy.

On the title page, an epigraph from Joseph-Jules Déjerine situated the book firmly in the French medical tradition. The medical qualifications of the authors and a preface by Henri Claude, consultant to hospitals and asylums, emphasized this even further. This latter preface, however, does not mince words: "While I am happy to present Laforgue and Allendy's book on psychoanalysis and the neuroses to the medical public, I have not hidden from the authors that I intend no endorsement of their opinions thereby.... Some of their investigative methods will shock those with delicate feelings, and some of their outrageously symbolic generalizations, though they may possibly apply to those of other races, do not seem to me acceptable to Latin clinical practice." He nevertheless recommended the book because he knew, having seen the authors at work, that it was work written in good faith and based on direct experience.

After reading Claude's preface, Freud wrote to Laforgue that, although he had not yet read the book, he thought that it must be good, since Claude's reservations showed that the authors had made no compromises and had no fear of controversy.

Laforgue and Allendy indeed presented "the medical public" with the fundamental notions of psychoanalysis, the mechanism of the neuroses, and the technique of this new discipline. Clinical examples, often from their experience at Sainte-Anne Hospital, were adduced to support their arguments. Accordingly, female frigidity, homosexuality, and impotence were discussed. In the chapters on symbolism, Allendy demonstrated his eclecticism and erudition: philology, astrology, and studies of diverse civilizations and religious customs were all brought in to reinforce his argument. This book, by young French doctors who were also practicing psychoanalysts, was the first of its kind. Two years later they founded the Psychoanalytic Society of Paris.

Jean-Pierre Bourgeron

See also: Allendy, René Félix Eugène; Claude, Henri Charles Jules; France; Laforgue, René.

Source Citation

Laforgue, René, and Allendy, René. (1924). La Psychanalyse et les névroses (Psychoanalysis and the neuroses). Preface by Henri Claude. Paris: Payot, 254 p.; 2nd ed., 1950 Geneva:Éd. du Mont Blanc; corrected and revised "according to the instructions" of her husband, by Délia Laforgue, with an additional chapter and a second preface by Dr. Logre, 1964.


Régis, Emmanuel, and Hesnard, Angélo. (1914). La psychoanalyse(sic) des névroses et des psychoses. Ses applications médicales et extramédicales. Paris: Félix Alcan.