To hell and back: Sartre on (and in) analysis with Freud

Sartre Studies International 11 (s 1-2):166-176 (2005)
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Abstract

On the back cover of the original French edition of Sartre's Le scénario Freud (The Freud Scenario), the promotional blurb poses the question: "Est-ce ici Sartre qui analyse Freud ou Freud qui analyse Sartre?" (Is Sartre analyzing Freud here, or is Freud analyzing Sartre?). We do not, for obvious reasons, have anything of Freud's on Sartre, but we do have quite a lot of Sartre on Freud, and great quantities of Sartre on Sartre. It has sometimes seemed to me that reading through everything that Sartre wrote—not just the autobiographical material but everything, including the carnets and the cahiers and the letters—might be a bit like having him in analysis. The speed and apparent openness with which he produced his texts, page after page in that quick yet legible script that French writers seem to turn out so effortlessly, mimic some of the conditions of free association, and an analytically sensitive eye, like the analyst's ear in therapeutic sessions, could no doubt piece together a plausible account of the Sartrean unconscious.

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Peter Caws
George Washington University

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