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Astley, M.C. (1971). Bertram D. Lewin (1896–1971). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 52:333-334.

(1971). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 52:333-334

Bertram D. Lewin (1896–1971)

M. Royden C. Astley

In the days and hours before the morning of 8 January 1971, Bert Lewin, as he had so often done before, was making ready for a journey. His anticipations were keen: first a visit to his daughter and son-in-law and their children in Florida; then a trip to the West Coast with friends who were comrades. The prospect was particularly pleasant because he felt healthy once more: a year of painful discomfort and uncertainty had begun with a severe, prolonged respiratory infection that left him weakened and easily exhausted, sharply restricting his activities. Worse still, there had been demonstrated a pulmonary shadow of unknown aetiology. Eminent consultants could not come to an agreement, so that the painstaking and time-consuming studies went on throughout the summer—there was even talk of an exploratory thoracotomy. His annual autumn sojourn in Pittsburgh had to be cancelled. By November, however, the depressing months of ailing and insecurity had been surmounted, the static shadow could be discounted, physical vigour returned, and life plans could once again go forward.

No one should infer that Bert Lewin was idle during those months of limitation and worry. He read and wrote with zeal, maintained his correspondence with promptness and humour, used the telephone when closer conversation was lacking, and prepared a new book for publication. Except in a wry, highly personal way, he was not cheerful; but his sensitivity for others, his immense intellectual gifts and stores, and his notable capacity for action—admirable and inspiring—remained.

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