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Brill, A.A. (1943). Max Eitingon. Psychoanal Q., 12:456-457.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:456-457

Max Eitingon

A. A. Brill

Soon after I came to Burghölzli in the summer of 1907, I heard of Max Eitingon, who I was told had come to Burghölzli as a Volontär (voluntary assistant) only recently. As time went on, I heard numerous allusions, all of a kindly nature, to Eitingon. I was curious to know why some of the assistants called him Oblomov, a nickname given him, I am quite sure, by Jung. When I asked who this Max Eitingon was, I was told that he was a Russian medical student; when I asked why he was called Oblomov, I was asked whether I had ever read that Russian classic. As I had not, I was told that Oblomov, the hero of the book, represents a typical Russian character: a person very enthusiastic about things and full of promises to do this and that, but doing nothing in the end. Had it not been for Max Eitingon I would probably never have read this classic.

But, when I met Eitingon in the fall, I did not agree with the characterization. I could see, however, why the nickname was in some small degree justified. Eitingon impressed me at our first meeting as a very genial and very kindly person who was always ready to coöperate and help in whatever was brought to him. He retained these characteristics throughout his whole life. Because of this generous nature, he sometimes undertook more than he could fulfil, and that undoubtedly was the reason for the nickname. It was used in Burghölzli without any idea of disparagement, for everybody liked Eitingon; but everybody asked, 'Why does he not take the examination and get his medical degree?', or 'He has not yet written that paper on Dostoevski which he promised so long ago'.

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