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Freud's emissaries I

the transfer of psychoanalysis through the Polish intelligentsia to Europe 1900-1939

Lena Magnone

Translated by Tul'si Bhambry


Aiming to recount how psychoanalysis reached the Polish intelligentsia in the first decades of the twentieth century, this books follows the life trajectories of a few Polish-Jewish disciples of Freud who played a significant role in this process: Ludwig Jekels, Helene Deutsch, Beata Rank, Eugenia Sokolnicka, Gustav Bychowski, Siegfried Bernfeld, the sisters Berta and Stephanie Bornstein, and a handful of other individuals. None of them were born in Poland – the state had disappeared from Europe’s map at the end of the eighteenth century, when, in three successive partitions, the territory of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was divided between the Kingdom of Prussia, the Habsburg Empire and the Russian Tsarist Empire. Only one of these protagonists became a citizen of the Second Polish Republic when it was created in 1918. Some were key to the transfer of Freudian thought to other countries, such as Sweden or France. Most left Europe in the 1930s and established themselves in the United States, contributing to the postwar cultural success of psychoanalysis. It is thus a narrative of Jewish migrations and, to the same extent, a reflection on traveling concepts. The book follows its protagonists in their upward social mobility and subsequent exile and uprooting. It also examines how a subversive emancipatory idea born in the turmoil of fin-de-siècle Vienna transformed into an American therapeutic method, deprived of all political scope.

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Publication details

Publisher: sdvig press

Place: Genève-Lausanne

Year: 2023


Series: Teoria: 20th Century Polish Thought

Series volume: 3.1

DOI: 10.19079/9782940738083

ISBN (paperback): 9782940738083

Full citation:

Magnone Lena (2023) Freud's emissaries I: the transfer of psychoanalysis through the Polish intelligentsia to Europe 1900-1939. Genève-Lausanne, sdvig press.