Toiling in the vineyard

From: Press conference in Los Angeles, California (17 December 1965), as seen and heard in No Direction Home:

Reporter: How many people who labor in the same musical vineyard in which you toil – how many are protest singers? That is, people who use their music, and use the songs to protest the, uh, social state in which we live today: the matter of war, the matter of crime, or whatever it might be.

Bob Dylan: Um… how many?

Reporter: Yes. How many?

Bob Dylan: Uh, I think there’s about, uh…136.

Reporter: You say about 136, or you mean exactly 136?

Bob Dylan: Uh, it’s either 136 or 142.”

Owen Hewitson wrote at on 15.5.12:

“It was announced last week that psychoanalyst Jean Laplanche has died in Beaune, near Dijon, France, aged 87. Coincidentally he passed away on 6th May, the 156th anniversary of Freud’s birth.

This sad news nevertheless gives us occasion to revisit the work of this most brilliant of psychoanalytic thinkers, early follower of Lacan and, of course, translator of Freud’s work into French.

Laplanche is perhaps best known to the English-speaking world for his magisterial The Language of Psycho-Analysis, co-authored with J.B-. Pontalis, which was first published in French in 1967 and is now translated into over 25 languages. It remains a vital reference work for anyone interested in studying psychoanalysis. 

Laplanche was one of the very few thinkers that rival Lacan in their reading of Freud, but the clarity and precision of his teaching singles him out from the latter.

After fighting in the French Resistance during the war, Laplanche entered the Ecole normale supérieure – later the venue for many of Lacan’s Seminars – in 1944. First a physician and later trained as a psychiatrist, he then underwent a psychoanalysis with Lacan until November 1963.

Laplanche then became one of the founders, in 1964, of the Association psychanalytique de France (Psychoanalytic Association of France) along with a number of followers of Lacan’s seminar who were later also to be critical of his work (amongst them Daniel Lagache, Vladimir Granoff and Daniel Widlöcher).

In 1970 Laplanche established the Centre de recherches en psychanalyse et psychopathologie fondamentale (the Centre for Research in Psychoanalysis and Fundamental Psychopathology) at the University of Paris VII, where he later held the post of Professor Emeritus.

Laplanche also had a little-known sideline in viticulture, managing the vineyards at Château de Pommard, which he inherited from his father, from 1966-2003.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s