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Maryse Choisy (1903–1979)

Author of Psychoanalysis of the prostitute

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Maryse Choisy was born in Saint-Jean-de-Luz in the Pyrenees of southwestern France to parents she never knew. She was raised by two aunts, notably the writer and singer Anna, comtesse de Brémont. At the end of World War I, she moved to England and studied psychology, philosophy and Sanskrit at Cambridge University, graduating in 1921. On a trip to India, she met Rabindranath Tagore and was introduced to yoga. She went to Vienna in 1925 to consult Sigmund Freud, was briefly his patient, and later continued psychoanalysis with René Laforgue and Maurice Bouvet. Back in France, she worked as a reporter for the magazine L'Intransigeant and moved in intellectual and artistic circles. She became a pioneer of investigative journalism, spending a month in a brothel before writing Un mois chez les filles (A Month With the Girls, 1928) and disguising herself as a young monk in a monastery for Un mois chez les hommes (A Month With the Men, 1929.) She married Maxime Clouzet, also a journalist, with whom she had a daughter named Colette after the writer who served as her godmother. In 1939, after meeting Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, she converted to the Roman Catholic faith, and tried to recall her previous books. In 1946, she founded the international journal Psyché, rooted in her intellectual circle; Maxime Clouzet served as its editor. Psyché published numerous psychoanalysts for the first time, including Jacques Lacan. She wrote up to four books a year, including novels, poems, essays, and reportage, as well as works popularizing psychoanalysis. She described her religious conversion in her memoir, Sur le chemin de Dieu on rencontre d’abord le diable (On the Way to God You Meet the Devil First, 1977) and Contes pour ma fille... et pour les autres (Tales for My Little Girl...And for the Others, 1942).
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