Henri Rey (1912-2000)

Henri Rey was born on Mauritius and died on the Ile de Re.

John Steiner wrote an obituary for Rey for the International Journal of Psychoanalysis in 2001, including the following words:

“Symbolic function

Rey was particularly concerned with the problem of how it is that a mental representation is transformed from the concrete to the symbolic. Like many of his contemporaries he emphasised the link to death, mourning and loss. It is only as the object is relinquished and mourned that it can be internalised in a transformed state. To illustrate this process he used to quote by heart that beautiful poem, Le Cimitière Marin by Paul Valery, which illustrates transformation so well: 

Comme le fruit se fond

            en jouissance

Comme en delice il

            change son absence

Dans une bouche où sa

            forme se meurt

(As the fruit melts in the enjoyment, transforming its absence into delight within a mouth in which its form is dying)”

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