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Hartmann, H. (1944). The Psychiatric Work of Paul Schilder. Psychoanal. Rev., 31(3):287-298.

(1944). Psychoanalytic Review, 31(3):287-298

The Psychiatric Work of Paul Schilder

Heinz Hartmann, M.D.

It is difficult to give an account of Schilder's work as a psychiatrist, not only because his work was so comprehensive and manifold; but because, in Schilder's case more than in that of other psychiatrists, we find ourselves again and again confronted with the author's personality. This highly personal expressive quality makes it almost impossible to speak of his life-work without considering the man behind the work.

It is not as if the author's biography would force itself into prominence in his research activities; quite on the contrary: Schilder had an unusual ability for shielding his scientific creativeness, and often even the quality and direction of his work from those various disturbances caused by pressing personal problems which may impair a man's life-work. You know that, apart from Schilder's last few happy years the vicissitudes of his life held many factors which might have impaired the creative impulse of a less independent spirit. Therefore in saying that in Schilder's case it is more difficult than in many others to give a presentation of his work apart from that of his personality I do not think so much of the biographical facts but rather of his unique and very personal approach to those problems which were his special field. Naturally, this task may be less difficult here than elsewhere, since today I am speaking to persons most of whom have known Schilder personally and who will be able to evoke the picture of his personality in themselves.

The brilliant manner in which Schilder was able to converse in living contact with psychotic patients, can hardly be described. He often listened more attentively to schizophrenic patients than to healthy persons. He probably thought it more worth his while. Neither at Flechsig's nor at Anton's nor at Wagner-Jauregg's clinic where Schilder has worked, did anything in that line exist before his time, nor did he have any predecessors who were his equal in the written presentation of psychotic cases. A comparison between a


* Read before the Society of Psychopathology and Psychotherapy in New York.

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