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Octave Mannoni (1899–1989)

Octave Mannoni was a philosopher and psychoanalyst who, along with his wife Maud Mannoni (née Van der Spoel) was one of Lacan’s main supporters through the various ruptures in the French psychoanalytic community. Born in France to Corsican parents, Octave Mannoni did his initial studies in philosophy at Strasbourg before securing a teaching post on the island of Martinique in the 1920s. Mannoni’s time in the colonies, which included almost twenty years teaching and doing ethnographic research in Madagascar before returning to France in 1944, resulted in one of the major French works on colonialism in the twentieth century: Psychologie de la colonialisation (1950). This work was later severely criticized by Frantz Fanon for its limited focus on the psychology of the colonizer and its tendency to reduce racism to a psychological, rather than an institutional or historical, phenomenon. Upon his return to France in the 1940s, Mannoni underwent analysis with Lacan and became a practicing analyst himself. At the time of the Cahiers pour l’Analyse, Mannoni was, like Serge Leclaire, one of the key figures from within psychoanalysis whose ideas had a legitimizing effect on the Cahiers itself, and all the more so since Mannoni’s work differed from Lacan’s in some significant respects (despite the former’s institutional support for the latter). His name is invoked in two key instances: in Lacan’s second contribution to the journal in volume three and Michel Tort’s reading of Freud in volume five.

In the Cahiers pour l’Analyse

Jacques Lacan, ‘Réponses à des étudiants en philosophie sur l’objet de la psychanalyse’, CpA 3.1 [HTML] [PDF] [SYN]
Michel Tort, ‘Le concept freudien de “Représentant”’, CpA 5.2 [HTML] [PDF] [SYN]

Select bibliography

  • Psychologie de la colonialisation. Paris: Seuil, 1950. Prospero and Caliban: The Psychology of Colonization, trans. Pamela Powesland. New York: Praeger, 1964.
  • Lettres personnelles à Monsieur le Directeur. Paris: Seuil, 1951.
  • Freud. Paris: Seuil, 1968.
  • Clefs pour l’imaginaire ou l’Autre Scène. Paris: Seuil, 1969.
  • Fictions freudiennes. Paris: Seuil, 1978.
  • Un Commencement qui n’en finit pas: transfert, interprétation, théorie. Paris: Seuil, 1980.