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Amouroux, R. (2011). ‘A Serious Venture’: John Rodker (1894-1955) and the Imago Publishing Company (1939-60). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 92(6):1437-1454.

(2011). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 92(6):1437-1454

History of Psychoanalysis

‘A Serious Venture’: John Rodker (1894-1955) and the Imago Publishing Company (1939-60)

Rémy Amouroux

(Final version accepted 1 April 2011)

John Rodker (1894-1955) was the founder of the British publishing house - the Imago Publishing Company - which undertook the republication of the complete works of Sigmund Freud in German just before World War II. Rodker, himself a writer as well as a publisher, was initially tempted by a psychoanalytic career; numerous obstacles, however, lay in his path. War, along with the complicated management of the royalties from Freud's writings, compromised the progress of what seemed to him to be ‘a serious venture’. Besides Rodker, we meet numerous actors of the psychoanalytic movement: Anna Freud, Marie Bonaparte, Ernest Jones, James Strachey, all of whom had worked for the dissemination of Freud's writings. This paper shows how the English language gradually became the ‘official norm’ for psychoanalysts. According to the editors of the Standard Edition, at that time ‘nothing new [was] being written’ in German or in French. The failure of the Gesammelte Werke project signalled the end of an era in which psychoanalysis was mainly written about in German.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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