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Swerdloff, B. (2002). An Interview with Michael Balint. Am. J. Psychoanal., 62(4):383-413.

(2002). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 62(4):383-413

An Interview with Michael Balint

Bluma Swerdloff, M.D.

This memoir is the result of a series of tape-recorded interviews conducted for the Columbia University Oral History Research Office by Dr. Bluma Swerdloff with Dr. Michael Balint in London, England, August 6-7, 1965. Dr. Balint has read the transcript, and has made only minor corrections and emendations. The reader is asked to bear in mind, therefore, that he is reading a transcript of the spoken rather than the written word.

Q: Suppose we start with how you got into the field of psychoanalysis? What influences worked on you?

MB: Well, you see, it's a very long story. I read the first analytic writings, by Freud and Ferenczi, when I was still in—I don't know what you call it in America—high school.

Q: Gymnasium?

MB: Gymnasium. I was always interested. But this was not in anything particular; I read everything that ever was written on painting—quite a few things, comparative religion, law, philosophy, history, archeology and heaven knows what, …

Q: How did you manage to do that? What stimulated you, in your own background?

MB: I think I just was interested in books at that time.

Q: What about your family? What was the factor?

MB: Mother was a very simple woman. Her readings did not go very far.

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