Régis, Emmanuel Jean-Baptiste Joseph (1855-1918)

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Emmanuel Régis, a French physician, was born on April 29, 1855, in Auterive (Haute-Garonne) and died on June 21, 1918, in Bordeaux. He studied medicine in Paris, where he was taught by Baillarger, Lasègue, Motet, Falret, and Ball, and became a professor at the Sainte-Anne psychiatric hospital, where he became assistant physician in 1881. In 1883 Régis was back in Bordeaux. Asked to teach a course on mental illness in 1892 by Albert Pitres, he became head of the department of medicine, then associate professor in 1905. In 1913 Régis was appointed to the new chair of mental pathology, which he held until his death.

Régis is the author of several works in the field of criminal psychology and mental illness. His approach to etiology is based on the notion of degeneration and the importance of an accidental toxic-infectious factor, ideas that were consistent with his training and oriented his important work in medical hygiene. Under the influence of Pitres, a well-known student of Charcot, he explored the study of neuroses and, like him, was forced to confront the paradoxes of hysteria. It was while studying hysteria that both men encountered the ideas of Sigmund Freud, whose nosographic conceptions they shared without accepting his hypothesis of an underlying sexual etiology.

The article "Séméiologie des obsessions et idées fixes" (Pitres and Régis, Archives de neurologie, 1897) reflects this critical rapprochement. Les Obsessions et les Impulsions (1902) followed, developing points of view that Régis would again return to in the four editions of his Précis de psychiatrie. Régis's opinion of Freudian theory is ultimately negative, but Freud continued to arouse his curiosity. Thus, in 1913, together with his assistant Angélo Hesnard and his brother, a learned German linguist, he initiated a project of reading all of Freud's works. This resulted in the article, "La doctrine de Freud et de sonécole" (Régis and Hesnard, L'Encéphale, 1913) and La Psychanalyse des névroses et des psychoses (1914).

This book, in which Régis challenges the scientific value of psychoanalysis while recognizing its heuristic usefulness, has the merit, as Ferenczi acknowledged in his 1915 polemic, of describing Freudian theory accurately, supported by an exhaustive bibliography. The book marks the official entry of psychoanalysis in France.

GÉrard Bazalgette

See also: Breton, André; Claustrophobia; France; Hesnard, Angélo Louis Marie; Phobias in children; Phobia of committing impulsive acts.


Ferenczi, Sandor. (1939). Die psychiatrische Schule von Bordeaux über die Psychoanalyse. In Sandor Ferenczi, Bausteine zur Psychoanalyse (Vol. 4; pp. 12-45). Bern: Hans Huber (Original work published 1915).

Pitres, Albert, and Régis, Emmanuel. (1902). Les Obsessions et les Impulsions. Paris: O. Doin.

Régis, Emmanuel. (1909). Précis de psychiatrie (4th ed.). Paris: Doin.

. (1913). La doctrine de Freud et de sonécole. L'Encéphale, 8, 356-378, 537-564.

Régis, Emmanuel, and Hesnard, Angélo. (1914). La Psychanalyse des névroses et des psychoses. Ses applications médicales et extra-médicales. Paris: Félix Alcan.

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Régis, Emmanuel Jean-Baptiste Joseph (1855-1918)

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