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Maryse Choisy

Maryse Choisy (1903–1979) was a French philosophical writer.

Choisy followed an atypical path in life. Fascinated by psychoanalysis, she had the idea of introducing its concepts into her novels to better develop their characters; she then undertook to see what else could be brought to literature from other disciplines. She founded a movement which she named Suridealism to indicate the conceptual foundation on which it rested.


She did not hesitate to go straight to the source to find out what she wanted to know, going so far as to spend one month in a house of prostitution before writing Un mois chez les filles (A Month With the Girls) and, later, to disguise herself as a young monk for a month for Un mois chez les hommes (A Month With the Men.) She wrote, incidentally, that she had to elude the advances of a monk from Mount Athos.

Unexpectedly, Choisy underwent a religious conversion. She then tried to withdraw her work from publication and buy up any copies in circulation. Her reasoning was that her writing did not satisfy the criterion of three restraints, associated with Socrates: truth, usefulness, and kindness. She instead devoted herself to psychoanalysis, which she considered to be capable of a lasting contribution to the happiness of mankind. This was when she founded the "Psyché" movement, in which a young man named Jacques Lacan would begin his career. After her conversion, she still felt the urge to write. She produced the history of her conversion, On the way to God You Meet the Devil First, and the very moving Tales For My Little Girl (and For the Others). In the latter, the topic of death takes on a particular importance, even though a discreet humor remains present. In a final nod to her suridealistic youth, the hero of one of the stories is a nitrogen atom. He wonders about his own existence, experiences unhappy relationships, and ends up in a bombing.


  • « Mon héroïne s’appelle Cécile, comme tout le monde. Je ne vous dirai pas son autre nom. Cécile existe. Vous la connaissez. Il serait incorrect de la mettre à poil. D’ailleurs, quand une femme se marie, elle change de nom. Donc, le seul qui compte est son prénom ».
    • My heroine is called Cecile, like everybody else. I won't tell you her other name. Cecile exists. You know her. It would be rude to strip her naked. Besides, when a woman gets married, she changes her surname. So the only thing that counts is her first name.
  • « Si Cécile ne se fut jamais égarée dans les sentiers de Lesbos, son âme n’eût point été arc-en-ciel. Son âme est un arc-en-ciel ».
    • If Cecile had never wandered down the paths of Lesbos, her soul would not have been a rainbow at all. Her soul is a rainbow.
  • « Elle aima les femmes pour l’amour de l’homme. Toutes celles qui plurent à Jean, toutes celles qui convoitèrent Jean eurent Cécile ».
    • She loved women for the love of man. All the women that John liked, all the women who coveted John, had Cecile.
  • « Ami lecteur, comme vous êtes très intelligent, - puisque vous me lisez -».
    • Reader, my friend, as you are an intelligent person - since you are reading me - ...
  • « Maintenant, je veux être moi. Delteil est un bouffeur de « moi » Adieu, Delteil ! ».
    • Now, I want to be me. Delteil is a "me"-eater. Farewell, Delteil !

Partial bibliography

It is difficult to establish a bibliography of Maryse Choisy because of:

  • Her frequent changes of publisher
  • Her campaign to eradicate her own books
  • Her prolific output (up to four works per year)

However, the following works are known:

  • Presque… [Almost...], quasi-novel. Éditeurs associés, 1923.
  • La Chirologie [Palm Reading]. Alcan, 1927.
  • Mon cœur dans une formule [My Heart in a Formula].
  • Cahiers suridéalistes [Suridealist Notebooks].
  • Un mois chez les filles [A Month With the Girls]. Montaigne, 1928.
  • Un mois chez les Hommes [A Month With the Guys]. Éditions de France, 1929.
  • Delteil tout nu [Delteil Naked]. Montaigne, 1930.
  • Le Vache à l’âme [The Soul Cow]. Éditions du Tambourinaire, 1930.
  • La guerre des sexes [The War of the Sexes] (? - reissued in 1970).
  • L'Amour dans les prisons [Love in the Prisons]. Montaigne, 1930.
  • Problèmes sexuels de l'adolescence [Sexual Problems of Adolescence]. Montaigne, 1954.
  • Le thé des Romanech [The Tea of the Romanech]. 1943.
  • Quand les bêtes sont amoureuses [When Beasts are in Love]. Édition des portiques, 1931.
  • Sur le chemin de Dieu on rencontre d’abord le diable [On the Way to God You Meet the Devil First]. Memoirs, 1925-1939. Émile Paul, 1977.
  • Contes pour ma fille... et pour les autres [Tales for My Little Girl...And for the Others] (Contes pour ma fille... et pour les autres).
  • Yoga et psychanalyse [Yoga and Psychoanalysis]. Mont Blanc, 1948.
  • Qu’est-ce que la psychanalyse ? [What is Psychoanalysis ?]. L’Arche, 1950.
  • Sigmund Freud: A New Appraisal. The Citadel Press, 1963.

See also

External links

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