On This Day … 21 June [2022]

People (Births)

  • 1880 – Arnold Gesell, American psychologist and paediatrician (d. 1961).
  • 1924 – Jean Laplanche, French psychoanalyst and academic (d. 2012).

Arnold Gesell

Arnold Lucius Gesell (21 June 1880 to 29 May 1961) was an American psychologist, paediatrician and professor at Yale University known for his research and contributions to the fields of child hygiene and child development.

Jean Laplanche

Jean Laplanche (21 June 1924 to 06 May 2012) was a French author, psychoanalyst and winemaker. Laplanche is best known for his work on psychosexual development and Sigmund Freud‘s seduction theory, and wrote more than a dozen books on psychoanalytic theory. The journal Radical Philosophy described him as “the most original and philosophically informed psychoanalytic theorist of his day.”

From 1988 to his death, Laplanche was the scientific director of the German to French translation of Freud’s complete works (Oeuvres Complètes de Freud / Psychanalyse – OCF.P) in the Presses Universitaires de France, in association with André Bourguignon, Pierre Cotet and François Robert.

On This Day … 06 May [2022]

Events

  • 1757 – English poet Christopher Smart is admitted into St Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics in London, beginning his six-year confinement to mental asylums.

People (Births)

  • 1856 – Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist and psychoanalyst (d. 1939).
  • 1922 – Camille Laurin, Canadian psychiatrist and politician, 7th Deputy Premier of Quebec (d. 1999).

People (Deaths)

  • 2012 – Jean Laplanche, French psychoanalyst and author (b. 1924).

Christopher Smart

Christopher Smart (11 April 1722 to 21 May 1771) was an English poet. He was a major contributor to two popular magazines, The Midwife and The Student, and a friend to influential cultural icons like Samuel Johnson and Henry Fielding. Smart, a high church Anglican, was widely known throughout London.

Smart was infamous as the pseudonymous midwife “Mrs. Mary Midnight” and for widespread accounts of his father-in-law, John Newbery, locking him away in a mental asylum for many years over Smart’s supposed religious “mania”. Even after Smart’s eventual release, a negative reputation continued to pursue him as he was known for incurring more debt than he could repay; this ultimately led to his confinement in debtors’ prison until his death.

St Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics

St Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics was founded in London in 1751 for the treatment of incurable pauper lunatics by a group of philanthropic apothecaries and others. It was the second public institution in London created to look after mentally ill people, after the Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlem (Bedlam), founded in 1246.

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud (born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 06 May 1856 to 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, a clinical method for evaluating and treating pathologies in the psyche through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst.

In founding psychoanalysis, Freud developed therapeutic techniques such as the use of free association and discovered transference, establishing its central role in the analytic process. Freud’s redefinition of sexuality to include its infantile forms led him to formulate the Oedipus complex as the central tenet of psychoanalytical theory. His analysis of dreams as wish-fulfilments provided him with models for the clinical analysis of symptom formation and the underlying mechanisms of repression. On this basis, Freud elaborated his theory of the unconscious and went on to develop a model of psychic structure comprising id, ego and super-ego. Freud postulated the existence of libido, sexualised energy with which mental processes and structures are invested and which generates erotic attachments, and a death drive, the source of compulsive repetition, hate, aggression, and neurotic guilt. In his later works, Freud developed a wide-ranging interpretation and critique of religion and culture.

Camille Laurin

Camille Laurin (06 May 1922 to 11 March 1999) was a psychiatrist and Parti Québécois (PQ) politician in the Canadian province of Quebec. A MNA member for the riding of Bourget, he is considered the father of Quebec’s language law known informally as “Bill 101”.

Jean Laplanche

Jean Laplanche (21 June 1924 to 06 May 2012) was a French author, psychoanalyst and winemaker. Laplanche is best known for his work on psychosexual development and Sigmund Freud’s seduction theory, and wrote more than a dozen books on psychoanalytic theory. The journal Radical Philosophy described him as “the most original and philosophically informed psychoanalytic theorist of his day.”

From 1988 to his death, Laplanche was the scientific director of the German to French translation of Freud’s complete works (Oeuvres Complètes de Freud / Psychanalyse – OCF.P) in the Presses Universitaires de France, in association with André Bourguignon, Pierre Cotet and François Robert.

On This Day … 21 June

People (Births)

  • 1880 – Arnold Gesell, American psychologist and paediatrician (d. 1961).
  • 1924 – Jean Laplanche, French psychoanalyst and academic (d. 2012).

Arnold Gesell

Doctor Arnold Lucius Gesell (21 June 1880 to 29 May 1961) was an American clinical psychologist, paediatrician and professor at Yale University known for his research and contributions to the field of child development.

Gesell served as a teacher and high school principal before seeking his psychological doctorate at Clark University, where the university’s president, G. Stanley Hall, had founded a child study movement. Arnold received his PhD from Clark in 1906.

Gessell worked at several educational facilities in New York City and Wisconsin before obtaining a professorship at the Los Angeles State Normal School, now known as The University of California, Los Angeles(UCLA)). There he met fellow teacher Beatrice Chandler who would become his wife. They later had a daughter and a son, Federal District Judge Gerhard Gesell.

Gesell also spent time at schools for the mentally disabled, including the Vineland Training School in New Jersey. Having developed an interest in the causes and treatment of childhood disabilities, Gesell began studying at the University of Wisconsin Medical School to better understand physiology. He later served as an assistant professor at Yale University while continuing to study medicine. He developed the Clinic of Child Development there and received his M.D. in 1915. He was later given a full professorship at Yale.

Gesell also served as the school psychologist for the Connecticut State Board of Education and helped to develop classes to help children with disabilities succeed. This historic appointment made Dr. Gesell the first school psychologist in the US He wrote several books, including The Preschool Child from the Standpoint of Public Hygiene and Education in 1923, The Mental Growth of the Preschool Child in 1925 (which was also published as a film), and An Atlas of Infant Behaviour (chronicling typical milestones for certain ages) in 1934. He co-authored with Frances Ilg two childrearing guides, Infant and Child in the Culture of Today in 1943, and The Child from Five to Ten in 1946.

Gesell made use of the latest technology in his research. He used the newest in video and photography advancements. He also made use of one-way mirrors when observing children, even inventing the Gesell dome, a one-way mirror shaped as a dome, under which children could be observed without being disturbed. In his research he studied many children, including Kamala, the wolf girl. He also did research on young animals, including monkeys.

As a psychologist, Gesell wrote and spoke about the importance of both nature and nurture in child development. He cautioned others not to be quick to attribute mental disabilities to specific causes. He believed that many aspects of human behaviour, such as handedness and temperament were heritable. He explained that children adapted to their parents as well as to one another. He advocated for a nationwide nursery school system in the United States.

Gesell’s popular books spread his ideas beyond academia. His core message, urging parents to “nourish the child’s trustfulness in life”, resonated with child advocates long before Dr. Benjamin Spock became America’s most prominent parental advisor. In The Child from Five to Ten, Gesell wrote, “It is no longer trite to say that children are the one remaining hope of mankind. . . If we could but capture their transparent honesty and sincerities! They still have much to teach us, if we observe closely enough”.

Gesell’s ideas came to be known as Gesell’s Maturational Theory of child development. Based on his theory, he published a series of summaries of child development sequences, called the Gesell Developmental Schedules.

The Gesell Institute of Human Development, named after him, was started by his colleagues from the Clinic of Child Development, Frances Ilg and Louise Bates Ames in 1950, after Gesell retired from the university in 1948. In 2012, the institute was renamed the Gesell Institute of Child Development.

Jean Laplanche

Jean Laplanche (21 June 1924 to 06 May 2012) was a French author, psychoanalyst and winemaker. Laplanche is best known for his work on psychosexual development and Sigmund Freud’s seduction theory, and wrote more than a dozen books on psychoanalytic theory. The journal Radical Philosophy described him as “the most original and philosophically informed psychoanalytic theorist of his day.”

From 1988 to his death, Laplanche was the scientific director of the German to French translation of Freud’s complete works (Oeuvres Complètes de Freud/Psychanalyse – OCF.P) in the Presses Universitaires de France, in association with André Bourguignon, Pierre Cotet and François Robert.

Laplanche attended the École Normale Supérieure in the 1940s, studying philosophy. He was a student of Jean Hyppolite, Gaston Bachelard and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. In 1943, during the Vichy regime, Laplanche joined the French Resistance, and was active in Paris and Bourgogne. In 1946-1947, he visited Harvard University for a year. Instead of joining that university’s philosophy department, he instead studied at the Department of Social Relations, and became interested in psychoanalytic theory. After returning to France, Laplanche began attending lectures and undergoing psychoanalytic treatment under Jacques Lacan. Laplanche, advised by Lacan, began studying medicine, and eventually earned his doctorate and became an analyst himself, joining the International Psychoanalytical Association, of which he remained a member until his death.

On This Day … 06 May

Events

  • 1757 – English poet Christopher Smart is admitted into St Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics in London, beginning his six-year confinement to mental asylums.

People (Births)

  • 1856 – Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist and psychoanalyst (d. 1939).
  • 1922 – Camille Laurin, Canadian psychiatrist and politician, 7th Deputy Premier of Quebec (d. 1999).

People (Deaths)

2012 – Jean Laplanche, French psychoanalyst and author (b. 1924).

Christopher Smart

The English poet Christopher Smart (1722-1771) was confined to mental asylums from May 1757 until January 1763. Smart was admitted into St Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics, Upper Moorfields, London, on 06 May 1757. He was taken there by his father-in-law, John Newbery, although he may have been confined in a private madhouse before then. While in St Luke’s he wrote Jubilate Agno and A Song to David, the poems considered to be his greatest works. Although many of his contemporaries agreed that Smart was “mad”, accounts of his condition and its ramifications varied, and some felt that he had been committed unfairly.

Smart was diagnosed as “incurable” while at St Luke’s, and when they ran out of funds for his care he was moved to Mr. Potter’s asylum, Bethnal Green. All that is known of his years of confinement is that he wrote poetry. Smart’s isolation led him to abandon the poetic genres of the 18th century that had marked his earlier work and to write religious poetry such as Jubilate Agno (“Rejoice in the Lamb”). His asylum poetry reveals a desire for “unmediated revelation”, and it is possible that the self-evaluation found in his poetry represents an expression of evangelical Christianity.

Late 18th-century critics felt that Smart’s madness justified them in ignoring his A Song to David, but during the following century Robert Browning and his contemporaries considered his condition to be the source of his genius. It was not until the 20th century, with the rediscovery of Jubilate Agno (not published until 1939), that critics reconsidered Smart’s case and began to see him as a revolutionary poet, the possible target of a plot by his father-in-law, a publisher, to silence him.

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud (born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 06 May 1856 to 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst.

Freud was born to Galician Jewish parents in the Moravian town of Freiberg, in the Austrian Empire. He qualified as a doctor of medicine in 1881 at the University of Vienna. Upon completing his habilitation in 1885, he was appointed a docent in neuropathology and became an affiliated professor in 1902. Freud lived and worked in Vienna, having set up his clinical practice there in 1886. In 1938, Freud left Austria to escape Nazi persecution. He died in exile in the United Kingdom in 1939.

In founding psychoanalysis, Freud developed therapeutic techniques such as the use of free association and discovered transference, establishing its central role in the analytic process. Freud’s redefinition of sexuality to include its infantile forms led him to formulate the Oedipus complex as the central tenet of psychoanalytical theory. His analysis of dreams as wish-fulfilments provided him with models for the clinical analysis of symptom formation and the underlying mechanisms of repression. On this basis Freud elaborated his theory of the unconscious and went on to develop a model of psychic structure comprising id, ego and super-ego. Freud postulated the existence of libido, a sexualised energy with which mental processes and structures are invested and which generates erotic attachments, and a death drive, the source of compulsive repetition, hate, aggression and neurotic guilt. In his later works, Freud developed a wide-ranging interpretation and critique of religion and culture.

Though in overall decline as a diagnostic and clinical practice, psychoanalysis remains influential within psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy, and across the humanities. It thus continues to generate extensive and highly contested debate with regard to its therapeutic efficacy, its scientific status, and whether it advances or hinders the feminist cause. Nonetheless, Freud’s work has suffused contemporary Western thought and popular culture. W.H. Auden’s 1940 poetic tribute to Freud describes him as having created “a whole climate of opinion / under whom we conduct our different lives.”

Camille Laurin

Camille Laurin (06 May 1922 to 11 March 1999) was a psychiatrist and Parti Québécois (PQ) politician in the province of Quebec, Canada. MNA member for the riding of Bourget, he is considered the father of Quebec’s language law known informally as “Bill 101”.

Born in Charlemagne, Quebec, Laurin obtained a degree in psychiatry from the Université de Montréal where he came under the influence of the Roman Catholic priest, Lionel Groulx. After earning his degree, Laurin went to Boston, Massachusetts, where he worked at the Boston State Hospital. Following a stint in Paris, France, in 1957, he returned to practice in Quebec. In 1961, he authored the preface of the book Les fous crient au secours, which described the conditions of psychiatric hospitals of the time.

He was one of the early founders of the Quebec sovereignty movement. As a senior cabinet minister in the first PQ government elected in the 1976 Quebec election, he was the guiding force behind Bill 101, the legislation that placed restrictions on the use of English on public signs and in the workplace of large companies, and strengthened the position of French as the only official language in Quebec.

Laurin resigned from his cabinet position on 26 November 1984 because of a disagreement with Lévesque on the future of the sovereignty movement. He resigned from his seat in the National Assembly on 25 January 1985. He was elected once again to the Assembly on 12 September 1994 but did not run in the 1998 election for health reasons.

He died after a long battle with cancer.

Jean Laplanche

Jean Laplanche (21 June 1924 to 06 May 2012) was a French author, psychoanalyst and winemaker. Laplanche is best known for his work on psychosexual development and Sigmund Freud’s seduction theory, and wrote more than a dozen books on psychoanalytic theory. The journal Radical Philosophy described him as “the most original and philosophically informed psychoanalytic theorist of his day.”

From 1988 to his death, Laplanche was the scientific director of the German to French translation of Freud’s complete works (Oeuvres Complètes de Freud/Psychanalyse – OCF.P) in the Presses Universitaires de France, in association with André Bourguignon, Pierre Cotet and François Robert.