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Anne Dufourmantelle - Biography

Anne Dufourmantelle, Ph.D., is a French psychoanalyst, philosopher and author. Anne was born in Paris in 1964, from an English/Swiss father and a French mother. As a child, Anne spent some years in Spain and later, in Central America, which turned Spanish into the language of her heart. These starting points have given Anne an inclination towards literature of exile and thinkers who could trespass frontiers of a different kind. Anne's past contributes to her uniquely non-strict "French" way of thinking.

Anne Dufourmantelle studied in Paris. Receiving a 20/20 grade on her baccalauréat exams made her change her mind from earlier dreams of studying medicine towards philosophy as well. Anne studied medicine and philosophy for two years. Anne completed her doctorate (Ph.D) at Paris-IV university (Sorbonne). Her thesis was entitled : La vocation prophétique de la philosophie (The Prophetic Vocation of Philosophy) with studies on Soeren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Emmanuel Levinas and Patocka. It was published some years later by les éditions du Cerf, in the same collection which published Emmanuel Levinas (“La nuit surveillée”), and received the Academie Française for philosophy.

During Anne's studies at la Sorbonne, she had the opportunity to take one year off to study "humanities" at Brown university, with Georges Morgan. She translated Nelson Goodman’s _Language of Art_, and and wrote an essay on "The Structure of Appearance," which would lead her, upon returning to France, to teach at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Paris La Villette (School of Architecture (UP6) of La Villette, for five years a seminar on Aesthetics and “thinking architecture”. This experience also drove Anne to publish some dialogues between architects and philosophers, such as, for example, between Christian de Portzamparc and Philippe Sollers (2004) or between Jean Baudrillard and Jean Nouvel (2000). Then Anne went on to direct a non-fiction collection as a publisher for Calmann-Levy on the field of philosophy. Anne started with Jacques Derrida whom she had just met ("On Hospitality", Calmann-Levy, 1998 – 17 translations), and also Vaclav Havel, Alain Didier-Weill, Alessandro Baricco, Julia Kristeva, Antonio Negri, George Steiner, Peter Sloterdijk, Frédéric Boyer, Belinda Cannone, etc… (more than 50 books published since). Then Anne left Calmann-Levy and continued with Stock (also in the Hachette group) the same type of collection, untitled “L’autre pensée”, again in the field of philosophy, publishing thinkers like Slavoj Zizek, Noam Chomsky, Jacques Derrida again, Avital Ronell (2 books translated) – Theodor Adorno, Rabaté, as well as some texts in psychoanalysis, literature studies, anthropology, sociology.

Meanwhile, after earning her doctorate Anne chose to become a psychoanalyst instead of teaching philosophy, (except for the seminar at UP6-La Villette) and began working as an analyst, member of the Cercle Freudien (Paris) and Après-Coup association (New-York) more or less in a Lacanian direction, but also with a strong link to the "English" Freudian school : Bion, Winicott, Klein, etc. After the publication of her thesis, Anne continued her writing in the psychoanalytic field. She published such books as: La sauvagerie maternelle ("The Savage Mother") or La femme et le Sacrifice, ("Women and Sacrifice) and others. Two books were an exception : Blind date, sex and philosophy and Une question d’enfant, all the writers of this collection, published by Bayard éd., agreed to respond to this "simple" question: "Who then is God?". Anne answered the question with an attempt to articulate the question as a child’s question, in the most important way.

Anne has three children, Clara (18), who is a musician, sings beautifully and is studying philosophy and literature as well. Gabriel (17) and Maud (6) are still at school. They are one of the main joys of her life. As Anne says, "I have been, in a sense, always divided between those two fields, philosophy and psychoanalysis, with a very passionate link to literature, remaining my main source of inspiration both in my work and life." There is probably one question that connects all of Anne's work. Anne did a seminar at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in the year 2009-2010 (René Major as director) at l’Ecole Normale which Anne could resume in this way: How can fatality turn into freedom, what is the "turning point," the point of conversion, in one’s life and work?

Anne joined the Insistance Group of Lacanian work, because, as the association Après-Coup conducted in New-York by Paola Mieli, it works quite strongly on the link between creation and psychoanalysis, which is in Anne's thinking an essential key to the cure: that is to cope with one’s destructivity and find there the germination of creativity or, in another sense turn addiction (as Avital Ronell would say) into taste.

Meeting Jacques Derrida who responded to an “offer or make an act of hospitality through a book” as he put it when he accepted the invitation and meeting Avital Ronell were two turning points in Anne's philosophy (and friendship) life. As Anne writes, "Not only do I think that Avital Ronell is indispensable to our understanding of this coming world, and in many sense she is to me a prophetic thinker, but she also prevents us from sleeping dogmatically. Among other things, she’s a free spirit, and in our very troubled time where we tend to keep ourselves under cover, this stance is more than important. Only in these margins of philosophy will we find new paths, cross-sections of essential interrogations."

Currently Anne intends to continue in a more philosophical context and vocabulary, her research on the early Romantics of the Jena group. She is also looking at the idea of "conversion," on the turning point in terms of life and work.

Anne Dufourmantelle is a Professor of Psychoanalysis at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where she conducts an Intensive Summer Workshop.