Danièle Brun

Mothers in Capital Letters Publication date : January 13, 2011

Danièle Brun is most notably the author of La Passion dans l’amitié and Les Enfants perturbateurs. She is a psychoanalyst and a professor of psychopathology, at the University of Paris-VII-Denis Diderot.

At some point all children, boys and girls, begin to ask questions and wish to understand why their mothers sometimes become distant and seem thoroughly absorbed in their own worlds. Later on, when these children grow up and become parents themselves, how do they transmit such a particular maternal image?

The image in question is not so much a representation of the Mother in Majesty with her child, but of the Mother in Nostalgia: in a state of nostalgia for another child that is unlike — or is no longer like — her own, but whose existence is so powerful for the mother that the way she looks upon her real child is altered.

Danièle Brun argues that such situations where reality and fantasy intermingle reveal maternity in all its complexity, with its riches and ambiguities. Numerous examples serve to illustrate and illuminate how these “Mothers in capital letters” function.

This is a rigorous and profound reflection that explores various aspects of femininity, the “dark continent of psychoanalysis”.