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Rescued by Marat

Hilary Mantel

28 May 1992
Théroigne de Méricourt: A Melancholic Woman during the French Revolution 
by Elisabeth Roudinesco, translated by Martin Thom.
Verso, 284 pp., £34.95, July 1991, 0 86091 324 4
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Women and the Limits of Citizenship in the French Revolution 
by Olwen Hufton.
Toronto, 201 pp., £23, May 1992, 0 8020 6837 5
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... disappointment. The family drifted into money troubles, and its most vulnerable member slid sharply down the social scale, spending a year as a cowherd. After this, she secured a post as a governess, ElisabethRoudinesco claims – though she goes on to tell us that at this stage Théroigne had not learned to write. More likely, as her 1911 biographer Frank Hamel says, she earned her living as a seamstress ...

From Shtetl to Boulevard

Paul Keegan: Freud’s Mother

4 October 2017
Freud: In His Time and Ours 
by Elisabeth Roudinesco, translated by Catherine Porter.
Harvard, 580 pp., £27.95, November 2016, 978 0 674 65956 8
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Freud: An Intellectual Biography 
by Joel Whitebook.
Cambridge, 484 pp., £30, February 2017, 978 0 521 86418 3
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... discipline, a preoccupation with the vulgar details of the founder’s biography would seem trivial and inappropriate,’ Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen and Sonu Shamdasani wrote in The Freud Files (2006). ElisabethRoudinesco, on the front line of the Freud wars, is more preoccupied with vulgar details than Whitebook is in his ‘intellectual biography’. She has an eye for the stubborn fact, she rates gossip ...

On Complaining

Elif Batuman: How to Stay Sane

20 November 2008
Philosophy in Turbulent Times: Canguilhem, Sartre, Foucault, Althusser, Deleuze, Derrida 
by Elisabeth Roudinesco, translated by William McCuaig.
Columbia, 184 pp., £15.50, November 2008, 978 0 231 14300 4
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... We are certainly living in strange times’ is how ElisabethRoudinesco’s Philosophy in Turbulent Times begins. Roudinesco’s reader, too, is in for a turbulent and strange time, starting with the introduction, a five-page polemic against the spirit of our age: Jean-Paul Sartre – for or against? Raymond Aron – for ...


Sherry Turkle: Lacan and Co

6 December 1990
Jacques Lacan and Co: A History of Psychoanalysis in France, 1925-1985 
by Elisabeth Roudinesco, translated by Jeffrey Mehlman.
Free Association, 816 pp., £25, December 1990, 9781853431630
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... truth. By the end of the Sixties, what had been a small psychoanalytic movement, theoretically rich but socially isolated, grew into a more deeply and broadly rooted French psychoanalytic culture. ElisabethRoudinesco’s Lacan and Co, the second volume of her two-volume history of French psychoanalysis, traces the development of the French psychoanalytic movement from 1925 to 1985, with Lacan as its ...

The paper is white

Daniel Soar: Elif Batuman at College

14 December 2017
The Idiot 
by Elif Batuman.
Cape, 425 pp., £16.99, June 2017, 978 1 910702 69 7
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... led quantitative analysis. The mode may not be serious but the criticism is, and it is magnificent in its irreverence. Between 2008 and 2010 she also wrote some great things for the LRB: about ElisabethRoudinesco on Sartre, Deleuze, Foucault et al; about the development of superhero comics; and about Mark McGurl’s The Program Era, a ‘study of Planet MFA conducted from Planet PhD’. In that ...

Not in the Mood

Adam Shatz: Derrida’s Secrets

22 November 2012
Derrida: A Biography 
by Benoît Peeters, translated by Andrew Brown.
Polity, 629 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 0 7456 5615 1
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... from school. Being moved to a school for Jewish children only sharpened his feelings of ‘ill-being’, and he was relieved to return to his old school after the Allies landed. In an interview with ElisabethRoudinesco many years later, Derrida said that, though ‘deeply wounded by anti-semitism’ – a wound that ‘has never completely healed’ – he was too beset by ‘malaise’ to enjoy ‘any ...

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