English

PARIS FANTASME, SEUIL, 2021
“Lydia Flem chose to lead an original investigation on this discreet, 500 year-old street, rigorously documented but very freely autobiographical, for which she invents a genre of her own, as one would improvise an itinerary or a recipe: a kind of walking narrative, with multiple registers and savors, and innumerable entries.”
Le Monde des livres – Fabrice Gabriel

Paris Fantasme is a mine of narratives blended with her life. An unclassifiable book.

Les Inrocks

“Brilliantly mixing genres, the writer, psychoanalyst and photographer convenes the beings who, from century to century, have forged the soul of rue Férou.”

Praise

 

 

« Lydia Flem a choisi de mener sur cette artère discrète, vieille de tout juste 500 ans, une enquête originale, rigoureusement documentée mais très librement autobiographique, pour laquelle elle invente un genre à sa façon, comme on improviserait un itinéraire ou une recette de cuisine: une sorte de récit piétonnier, aux multiples registres et saveurs, aux innombrables entrées. »

Le Monde des livres – Fabrice Gabriel

 

Lydia Flem chose to lead an original investigation on this discreet, 500 year-old street, rigorously documented but very freely autobiographical, for which she invents a genre of her own, as one would improvise an itinerary or a recipe: a kind of walking narrative, with multiple registers and savors, and innumerable entries.

Le Monde des livres – Fabrice Gabriel

 

« Un livre magnifique vient d’être publié qui montre que tout ce qui est humain mérite d’être décortiqué, contemplé, analysé, célébré. Ce livre est de la Belge Lydia Flem, psychanalyste à qui l’on devait déjà des textes remarquables sur la manière de vider l’appartement de ses parents décédés ou de vivre le départ de ses enfants… Une poésie prenante des « riens » de la quotidienneté. »

La Croix

 

A magnificent book has just been published which shows that everything that is human deserves to be dissected, admired, analyzed, celebrated. This book is written by Belgian Lydia Flem, a psychoanalyst to whom we already owe remarkable texts on how to empty the apartment of one’s deceased parents or how to live the departure of one’s children … An absorbing poetry of the “little things” of our daily lives.

La Croix

 

« Lydia Flem mène une véritable recherche archéologique et d’érudition pour faire revivre les habitants modestes ou célèbres qui, depuis le XVIe siècle, se sont relayés. »

La Croix

 

Lydia Flem leads a true archeological and scholarly research to bring back to life the famous or modest inhabitants who, since the 16th century, live one after the other in the rue Férou.

La Croix

 

« Ce livre-randonnée est émouvant et illustre la propre obsession qu’a l’auteur d’un lieu où vivre, d’un « chez soi », que les tribulations de ses aïeux n’ont pu lui léguer, ces juifs russes ballottés par l’histoire et ses tragédies… Cettepromenade nostalgique est revigorante. »

La Croix

 

This book-trek” is moving and illustrates the author’s own obsession with a place to live, a “home” that the tribulations of her grandparents were unable to bequeath to her, these Russian Jews shunted by history and its tragedies … This nostalgic walk is invigorating.

La Croix

 

« L’inquiétude du déraciné habite ce livre exigeant et profond, Paris Fantasme est une grande confidence détournée. »

Le Figaro

 

The worry of the uprooted inhabits this demanding and profound book, Paris Fantasme is a big confidence diverted into a book.

Le Figaro

 

« Paris Fantasme est une mine de récits qui se mêlent à sa vie. Un livre inclassable. »

Les Inrocks

 

Paris Fantasme is a mine of narratives blended with her life. An unclassifiable book.

Les Inrocks

 

«« Sa » rue Férou est « le lieu d’une autobiographie au pluriel » et son ouvrage singulier celui d’une quête existentielle. D’oùson intensité. »

L’Humanité dimanche

 

“Her” rue Férou is “the place of a plural autobiography” and her singular book that of an existential quest. Hence its intensity.

L’Humanité dimanche

 

« Paris Fantasme est un annuaire. Et un livre de contes. Un journal intime ? Mais bien entendu et peut-être surtout…Son voyage rue Férou, entre portraits et autoportraits, est peut-être une manière de « dessiner en creux, en négatif», son « questionnement le plus intime ». »

L’Humanité dimanche

 

Paris Fantasme is a yearbook. And a book of tales. A diary? But of course it is and perhaps above all … Her trip to the rue Férou, between portraits and self-portraits, is perhaps a way “to draw implicitly, in negative” her “most intimate questioning”.

L’Humanité dimanche

 

« Mêlant brillamment les genres, l’écrivaine, psychanalyste et photographe convoque les êtres qui, de siècle en siècle, ont forgé l’âme de la rue Férou. »

Télérama

 

Brilliantly mixing genres, the writer, psychoanalyst and photographer convenes the beings who, from century to century, have forged the soul of rue Férou.

Télérama

 

« L’étonnant ouvrage est hybride, délicieusement anecdotique et savamment historique, biographique, romanesque et métaphysique. Journal intime et livre de recettes de cuisine. »

Télérama

 

The stunning book is hybrid, deliciously anecdotal and cleverly historical, biographical, novelistic and metaphysical. Diary and recipe book. 

Télérama

 

« De fantasque et primesautier, Paris Fantasme devient alors doux et sombre comme un requiem. Que ni Mozart ni Fauré n’auraient renié. »

Télérama

 

From capricious and impulsive, Paris Fantasme thenbecomes soft and somber like a requiem. That neither Mozart nor Fauré would have disowned.”

Télérama

 

Télérama

Lydia Flem is a french writer, psychoanalyst and photographer.

Lydia Flem is the daughter of a Russian father and German mother who fought in the French Resistance, both parents survived internment by the Nazis in the Second World War.

She has written a number of books, including ‘Freud the Man’ ( Other Press) and ‘Casanova, of the Art of Happiness’, which have been published in English by Penguin ( London) and Farrar&Straus ( New York) and the best-seller  » How I Emptied My Parents’House ».

Her  books are translated in 19 languages, including chinese and hebrew.
Her last novel  » La Reine Alice » received several prizes.
She published in autumn 2013 her first book of photos :  » Journal implicite », La Martinière/Maison Européenne de la Photographie.

Member of the Royal Academy of Belgium.

Solo shows:

  • 2011- Lady Cobalt. Journal photographique, Imec (Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine), Caen, hanging Alain Fleischer ( 29 janvier – 27 février).
  • 2011-12- The photographic Diary of Queen Alice/ Le Journal photographique de la Reine Alice, Espace photographique Contretype, Bruxelles, (29 novembre 2011 – 15 janvier 2012).
  • 2014 – Exposition personnelle/solo show/ 6e Mois européen de la photographie à l’Institut français de Berlin, curator Fabrice Gabriel.
  • 2015 – Exposition à la MEP (Maison Européenne de la photographie, Paris) du 15 avril au 14 juin 2015, curator Jean-Luc Monterosso.
  • 2015 – Fiac (Galerie Françoise Paviot).

The Photographs of Lydia Flem , 2014, (in english and french)

with texts of Yves Bonnefoy, Alain Fleischer, Fabrice Gabriel, Hélène Giannecchini, Agnès de Gouvion Saint-Cyr, Donatien Grau, Ivan Jablonka, Jean-Luc Monterosso, Catherine Perret, François Vitrani.

Queen Alice

On February 2011, Flem published a more recent element of her own history, an autobiographical novel, “Queen Alice,” (La Reine Alice) with Les éditions du Seuil inspired by a real-life bout with breast cancer. Describing chemotherapy sessions of Alice (herself), Flem evokes a looking-glass world where a White Rabbit (her oncologist) is as bafflingly ambiguous as in Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece.
Flem’s understanding of human emotions is profound; she previously published 1986’s “The Daily Lives of Freud and His Patients” (La vie quotidienne de Freud et de ses patients) from Les editions Hachette, followed by 1991’s “Freud the Man” (L’homme Freud) from Les éditions du Seuil, available in translation from The Other Press.
Analyzing her reactions and self-therapy, Flem describes being “cradled” by the song “Don’t Explain” co-written by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog Jr., as if a reflection of her illness’s inexplicability. When the White Rabbit inquires how Alice is feeling, she replies by singing a different song, the ironic comic number, “Tout va très bien, Madame la Marquise” (Everything’s Fine, Ma’am) composed by the French Jewish songwriter Paul Misraki and popularized by the 1930s French Jewish bandleader Ray Ventura.
Reading also provides comfort, notably Paul Celan’s poem “Corona” (“Time returns to the Shell. In the mirror it’s Sunday”) which Alice discovers “wraps her in words like a blanket, placing her beyond suffering’s reach.” She also pores over Kafka’s novel “The Castle”, relishing a passage about self-reliance in pursuing one’s voyage:
The villagers who sent him away or seemed to fear him struck him as less dangerous, for basically they were rejecting only his person, while helping him to concentrate his forces.
Courageously pursuing her own voyage, Flem has produced an inspiring and compelling text in the family tradition of survival.

*

Princeton University Press 2016

Makers of Jewish Modernity

Sigmund Freud (1856–1939)

Judaism Essentiel and Mysterious

Lydia Flem

« When Sigismund Schlomo Freud turned seven, his father, Jakob, opened the family Torah for him. The biblical story he presented for Sigmund to read was from the remarkable bilingual German-Hebrew edition, the Israelitische Bibel. The stories in this edition were illustrated and included commentaries by the Reform rabbi Ludwig Philippson in the spirit of the Aufklärung, the Judaism of the En- lightenment. This exceptional version of the Bible is subtitled Den heiligen Urtext, and for Freud this first book of stories and images was a fundamental, founding text. »

(translated by Catherine Temerson)

CASANOVA the man who really loved women, translated by Catherine Temerson, Farrar, Straus and Giroux ed.

                 Review : New York Times

                 Freud the Man, Other Press, 2003, (translation Susan Fairfield)

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