Case of Aimée

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The Case of Aimée concerned the Frenchwoman Marguerite Pantaine, who in 1931 attacked the celebrity actress Huguette Duflos, was hospitalised, and was treated by, and became the subject of the doctoral thesis of Jacques Lacan.[1]


By innovatively linking Aimée's actions to her life experience,[2] Lacan argued that her attack was in fact made against the (persecutory aspect of the) image of her own Ideal ego, carried out in a sort of narcissistic trance.[3] Lacan used her "case" to develop a theory of self-punishing paranoia,[4] in the process moving his thinking closer to that of psychoanalysis.[5]

It was, however, primarily in the form of ego psychology that Lacan's psychoanalytic thinking was at this point framed: "The therapeutic problem regarding psychosis seems to me to make a psychoanalysis of the ego more necessary than a psychology of the unconscious."[6]

Later identification[edit]

By coincidence, Marguerite had been discharged from hospital and was working for Lacan's father, at the time her estranged son Didier Anzieu was undergoing an analysis with him. When the two Anzieus reunited, Didier realised his mother had been the subject of Lacan's thesis the decade before.[7]

Elisabeth Roudinesco reports the mother's complaint that Lacan, instead of helping her, "had stolen her life story and turned it into a thesis... she who had been observed, ransacked, fabricated, travestied, and made into a myth for the benefit of psychiatry."[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ David Macey, Introduction, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis (Penguin 1994) p. xvi
  2. ^ J S Lee, Jacques Lacan (1992) p. 12
  3. ^ F Pacteau, Symptom of Beauty (2013) p. 193
  4. ^ E Roudinesco, Jacques Lacan (Cambridge 2005) p. 44
  5. ^ J Lacan, Écrits (London 1997) p. 184 and 222
  6. ^ Quoted in E Roudinesco, Jacques Lacan (Cambridge 2005) p. 50
  7. ^ E Roudinesco, Jacques Lacan (Cambridge 2005) p. 188-9
  8. ^ E Roudinesco, Jacques Lacan (Cambridge 2005) p. 190

Further reading[edit]

  • Jean Allouch, Marguerite; ou, L'Aimée de Lacan (Paris 1990)

External links[edit]