"A bunch of relics". Perec and Pontalis: from the absence of memory to the memory of absence

Author/s Ferdinando Amigoni
Publishing Year 2011 Issue 2011/3 Language Italian
Pages 22 P. 333-354 File size 292 KB
DOI 10.3280/PU2011-003002
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Georges Perec (1936-1982), great French writer, son of Polish Jews who had emigrated to France in the 1920s, from May 1971 to June 1975 is in analysis with the famous psychoanalyst Jean-Bertrand Pontalis. Deprived of parents by Nazism, Perec has reached a deadlock: if he wants to keep on writing (that is, for him, to keep on living), he has to confront with his childhood, but his memory fails; his parents seem to have left nothing behind them. Outwardly, Perec has no memory: his unconsciousness seems to be fading into a spreading white stain. Nevertheless, something ends up coming to the surface, during this psychoanalysis marked by some very strong affects. The patient becomes gradually aware that he can approach the maternal shadow, her absence, without being destroyed; the analyst becomes capable of understanding that it is advisable to respect the defensive strategies of a person hit, during his childhood, by a series of real, inconsolable mourning.

Keywords: Mourning, memory trace, obliteration of affects, fiction writing, countertransference

Ferdinando Amigoni, "Un mucchio di reliquie". Perec e Pontalis: dall'assenza di memoria alla memoria dell'assenza in "PSICOTERAPIA E SCIENZE UMANE" 3/2011, pp 333-354, DOI: 10.3280/PU2011-003002