In his brief account of his own psychoanalysis, Georges Perec describes the psychoanalytic encounter as a game. But what kind of a game is it, and how is it played? On the one hand Perec's writing presents analysis as an often frustrating, puzzle-solving exercise in which the patient and analyst — like Perec's notorious puzzle-fiends Percival Bartlebooth and Gaspard Winckler — are locked in intimate and exhausting combat. Such games express Perec's ambivalent relationship to the psychoanalytic other who, while promising self-knowledge and healing, also threatens to reduce the specificity of his experience to the 'quincaillerie anonyme' of the Freudian handbook. However, Perec's writing also articulates another kind of game — one that chimes with D. W. Winnicott's understanding of psychoanalysis as a form of creative play. While the closed structures of many Perecquian games give expression to the fraught dynamics of a psychoanalytic encounter characterized by anxiety and suspicion, Perec's work also elaborates more open and flexible literary games that foster the playful creativity that, in Winnicott's account, is necessary to feeling alive and real. Such games produce an enabling framework that allows Perec's autobiographical subject to better approach 'ce qu['il] cherche' and cautiously to imagine connections with others.


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pp. 557-571
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