Le Cas Aimée

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The full title of the doctoral thesis that signaled Jacques Lacan's entry into psychiatry was De la psychose paranoïaque dans ses rapports avec la personnalité (On paranoiac psychosis as it relates to the personality). The work was dated September 7, 1932, when Lacan was thirty-one years old.

Readers of the work were uniformly impressed with the breadth of scientific learning that Lacan displayed. To Georges Heuyer, who had doubts about the sheer quantity of bibliographical references, Lacan responded that he had, in fact, read them all. Furthermore, Lacan claimed to have personally evaluated about forty cases. And his familiarity with German texts clearly distinguished his scholarship from the chauvinism characteristic of the two great schools of psychiatry of the time. The French school was his model because of the high quality of its observation and because of its elegance and precision. But the Germans supplied Lacan...