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Fromm, E. (1965). The Wild Analyst: The Life and Work of Georg Groddeck: by KARL M. GROSSMAN, M.D. AND SYLVIA GROSSMAN. New York, George Braziller, 1965. 222 pp., $5.00.. Contemp. Psychoanal., 2(1):83-84.
    

(1965). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 2(1):83-84

The Wild Analyst: The Life and Work of Georg Groddeck: by KARL M. GROSSMAN, M.D. AND SYLVIA GROSSMAN. New York, George Braziller, 1965. 222 pp., $5.00.

Review by:
Erich Fromm, Ph.D.

THIS BOOK describes the life and thoughts of Georg Groddeck, one of the most creative and least known figures in the history of psychoanalysis. Groddeck, a disciple of Bismarck's personal physician, Schwenninger, discovered essential elements of psychoanalysis all by himself. With little knowledge of Freud's work, he found the unconscious, psychic reality in patients who were suffering from all kinds of illnesses and succeeded in curing them by uncovering the repressed psychic content. He was the real founder of psychosomatic medicine. He developed a theory which follows more in the Romantic German tradition from Carus to Jung, than the Enlightenment tradition of which Freud was a part. For Groddeck, the unconscious, the Id, was life, and our consciousness was only a thin layer above it. Man was lived by the Id, and especially somatic processes were seen as the direct manifestations and symbols of the Id. While this theory had been formulated in the middle of the 19th century by Carus, Groddeck was the first one to apply it systematically to somatic illnesses.

Groddeck's relation to Freud was a most peculiar and interesting one. After he had made his great discoveries, he became more familiar with Freud's work and learned that he had made some basic discoveries which Freud had already anticipated. He considered Freud his master and begged to be considered as one of his pupils. Freud was always sympathetic but somewhat critical, and the relationship between the two never assumed the form of personal friendship that Freud had with his favorite disciples. When Freud, after the First World War, developed new theories which were to culminate in the theory of the life and death instincts, and which were more closely related to the romantic concept of the unconscious, the affinity between the thinking of the two men became even greater.

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