Death of essayist and columnist Roland Jaccard

“I have always been haunted by the idea of ​​suicide”, wrote Roland Jaccard on his blog on September 5th. It is true that over the decades he had never ceased to praise suicide and its usefulness. He saw it as the only efficient and elegant way to leave the hell of existence. By dint of seeing him take up this apology in every tone, with insistence, even with complacency, many had ended up believing that it was only a question of a literary posture, empty words of a nihilist dandy, that no decisive act would follow.

Fault. Two days before turning 80, on September 20, 2021 – he was born in Lausanne on September 22, 1941 – the writer put an end to his existence, in accordance with his words. No doubt, to understand it, we must pay attention to this other sentence, also written on September 5, on his blog: “I am the custodian of a game that I will never own. “ It takes on a particular meaning if we add that his grandfather had committed suicide, and his father too, the latter at exactly 80 years old. The mechanisms of the unconscious – repetition compulsion, death instinct – are relentless. Roland Jaccard knew this very well, and pretended to laugh at it.

It is no coincidence that his first work as a young scholar, in Lausanne, focused on The Death Drive in Mélanie Klein (The Age of Man, 1971). Trained in psychoanalysis, Roland Jaccard continued by signing several books devoted to this discipline, including one “Que sais-je?” On Freud. These are also the publications of psychoanalysts, psychologists and researchers in the human sciences that will be the subject of his numerous articles for “Le Monde des livres”, mainly during the 1970s and 1980s. Among his various facets, he was in indeed an excellent popularizer, a journalist with a clear pen, a demanding and assiduous worker, who tried to hide himself under the mask of a disillusioned lazy man.

Provocation as a permanent game

Constantly trying to pass himself off as an idle and dilettante, he nevertheless became the author of some fifty books, in which are adjacent to the incisive style essays – the most striking were Inner Exile (PUF, 1975) and The nihilistic temptation (PUF, 1989) – and a host of autobiographical writings, tangy diaries, notably the trilogy formed by The soul is a vast land, Women are disappearing and The shadow of a fringe (Grasset, 1984-1987).

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