From No Subject - Encyclopedia of Psychoanalysis
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Lacan's work within the context of the development of psychoanalysis in France Psychoanalysis can be said to have begun with Freud and the publication in 1900 of The Interpretation of Dreams (see 1991a), and, shortly following this, with such texts as The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1991b [1901]), Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious and 'Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality' (both 1905; see 1991c and d). In the 1920s, as interest grew in the newly emerging discipline of psychoanalysis, it was received with widely differing views in different countries. Initially, in North America and Britain both the psychiatric and psychological professions warmly embraced what Freud reportedly called the 'modern plague'. Freud was also extremely influential within modernist literature, and was promoted in particular by the novelist and critic Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) and the 'Bloomsbury Group', an intellectual circle in which Woolf figured large. In France, however, psychoanalysis was rejected on all fronts: scientific, medical, religious and political. As one critic notes, 'the French opposed psychoanalysis from so many directions that it is appropriate to speak of an “antipsychoanalytic” culture' (Turkle 1992:27). Indeed, even as late as the 1950s and early 1960s French psychiatry remained decidedly antipsychoanalytic. In response to such opposition, the French psychoanalytic establishment - under the guidance of the Marie Bonaparte, an early disciple of Freud's and one of his closest associates - insisted that psychoanalysis was a science closely aligned to medicine. Bonaparte and her allies within the Société Psychanalytique de Paris (SPP) emphasized the biological and medical aspects of psychoanalysis and required anyone who wished to become an analyst to first undergo a medical training.