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Kaplan, D.M. (1992). Harry Slochower 1900–1991. Am. Imago, 49(1):1-2.

(1992). American Imago, 49(1):1-2

Harry Slochower 1900–1991

Donald M. Kaplan

On May 11, 1991, Harry Slochower died. He had become something of an institution among us and for so long that we must have been lulled into an illusion that he existed beyond mortality; for despite his advanced age and the illness and debility of his last years, his death, when at last it came, was a huge shock.

Professor Slochower had been editor-in-chief of American Imago since 1964. Belonging to what is becoming an endangered species of intellectual attainment, he guided the publication with an erudition and wisdom, the likes of which we shall never see again. For those of us who remain on the journal in various capacities, Harry has left a clear standard of excellence that can endure any amount of transformation of applied psychoanalysis, because his message had to do not with doctrine but with method, that is, with how and why things come to be believed.

Harry belonged also to the ranks of those who are capable of large public deeds that surpass the hesitations of personal interest and anxiety. We know the story of Harry's defiance of a congressional witch-hunt in the early 1950's and his subsequent legal triumph and eventual professional defection from his remaining persecutors. However, we must not forget that a crucial part of that story is the spirit with which Harry moved among these events. For one thing, he did not derive courage from large numbers; he was virtually alone in the stand he took. Harry was never a man who confronted life and its adversities with nervous sweat on his brow and cynical compromises struck in the name of a cynical reality. Nor was he moved by righteous indignation.

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