Depressive Doing and Acting

A Phenomenological Contribution to the Psychoanalytical Theory of Depression
  • Pierre Fédida
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 7)


… if he walks, it is with slowness and apprehension, as if there were some danger to avoid; or, on the other hand, he walks with precipitation and always in the same direction, as if his mind were profoundly occupied….


Identification Paper Melancholic Depression Psychic Activity Temporal Existence Depressive Phenomenon 
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  1. I have, in an article entitled, The Great Enigma of Mourning, Depression and Melancholy, Revue Française de Psychanalyse, 1977, (issue devoted to the Congress of Rhaeto- Romanic Psychoanalysis, Geneva, 1976), stressed the impossible death in depression.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cf. my article, The Follower,’ Bulletin de Psychologie 29 (1975–1976), p. 322.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    I have developed this theme at great length in a seminar devoted to Mourning and Melancholy (not yet published).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cf. ‘Clinical Perception and Comprehension in Psychology,’ Bulletin de Psychologie 270, no. 21 (1968), pp. 15–19, and The Dead-end or the Transparent Couple,’ La Nef(1971).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cf. my work on Esquirol, published privately.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Revue Française de Psychanalyse, Congress of Geneva, June, 1976.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ct. mv article, ‘The Tale and the Zone of Falling Asleep’ (Le Conte et la Zone de Vendor-missement), Psychanalyse à l’Université 1, no. 1 (December, 1975 ).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cf. my article on ‘The Great Enigma of Mourning.’Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ibid, and ‘The Hypochondria of Dreaming,’ Nouvelle Revue de Psychanalyse, no. 5 (1972).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    In Revue de Psychanalyse et des Sciences de l’Education (Louvain), 4, no. 2 (1969).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    I have dealt with this theme in my seminar on ‘The Object,’ Psychanalyse à l’Université, nos. 3, 4, 5 (1976).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    In an essay devoted to The Phenomenology of Depression,’ Arthur Tutossian has traced precisely and well the historical movement which leads from a “static phenomenology of melancholy” (Minkowski, Straus, Von Gebsattel) to the “pathogenesis of melancholy of Tellenbach,” and finally to the “genesis of melancholic subjectivity of Binswanger,” Psychiatrics, no. 21 May-June 1975. Notably, he writes, “The specifically phenomenological genesis of melancholy is simply not treated until 1960 with the book of Binswanger, Melancholy and Mania. This long interval (the works of Minkowski, Straus, and Von Gebsattel date from the years 1923 to 1928) is not without significance. The phenomenology of the 1920s, doubtless had the conceptual means sufficient for an historic approach to the human being. It hoped to find them in a developed anthropology, rightly or wrongly, starting from Being and Time of Martin Heidegger (1927), and taking the direction of the existential analysis (Daseinanalyse) of Binswanger, fastened on the most “historic” of the psychoses, schizophrenia. It was with regard to melancholy that in 1960 Binswanger returned to a more purely phenomenological approach, better understood in the meanwhile in its genetic import, thanks to the appearance of previously unpublished works of Husserl and thanks also to the reinterpretation of the thought of Szilasi….”Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    D. Anzieu, The Self-analysis of Freud and the Discovery of Psychoanalysis,’ P.U.F., Paris, 1975.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    See especially André Haynal, ‘The Meaning of Despair. The Problematics of Depression in Psychoanalytical Theory.’Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre Fédida
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ParisFrance

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