Jean-Bertrand Pontalis was born in 1924 in Paris. A student of Jean Paul Sartre, he collaborated on the review Les Temps Modernes (1946-1948). He became a professor of philosophy in 1948. In the 1950s he began as a training analysis with Jacques Lecan, then to become a key player in the French psychoanalytic movement.
In 1967 he was co-author with Jean Laplanche of the pathbreaking book The Language of Pyschoanalysis.
He participated in the founding of the Psychoanalytic Association of France and served as its president in the early 1970s.
From 1980 he authored more personal studies and several books of literature. His literary writing, at once precise and poetic, is inseparable from his psychoanalytic work. Among his books are “The Children of Limbo,” “Windows,” ”On the Sidelines of Days,” and “Crossing the Shadows.”