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Glover, E. (1955). Walter Schmideberg. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 36:213-215.

(1955). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 36:213-215

Walter Schmideberg

Edward Glover

Walter Schmideberg died in Switzerland on 22 September, 1954, of heart failure following a severe operation. He was sixty-four years of age.

With his death one more link is broken with the pioneering phase of psycho-analysis which came to an end only a few years after the First World War; and, by the same token, psycho-analysis loses one of the more colourful personalities that from time to time have added some glamour to its otherwise conventional professional façade. That he was better known and appreciated among an older generation of psycho-analysts was due partly to his retiring disposition and partly to the fact that, once a new and at first unconventional science becomes organized along professional lines, its younger members have less need of and rate less highly the qualities of mind that sustain the pioneer. In those earlier times psycho-analysis attracted to its ranks a number of adventurous spirits who had already gained distinction through their personal character and their work in other fields. Walter Schmideberg had a special claim to recognition in this respect; for he broke with an aristocratic tradition, to say nothing of an adventurous and distinguished army career, to become and remain for the rest of his life a devoted student of psycho-analysis.

He was born in Vienna on 5 April, 1890, of an American father and Austrian mother and his training and education were designed to fit him for the life of a gentleman and a professional army officer. At an early age he passed into the old Imperial Austrian Army and, at a time when Hungary was still part of the Empire, rose to the rank of Rittmeister (Captain) in a crack regiment of Hungarian Hussars. Already as a young subaltern he was recognized as a fine athlete and sportsman, and, before war broke out, was one of the most daring steeplechase riders in Austria.

Even during this first and strenuous phase he devoted much time to intellectual pursuits.

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