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Gilman, S.L. (2006). Psychoanalysis and Medicine in the Time of Freud and Brill: Commentary on Richards. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 54(2):379-387.

(2006). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 54(2):379-387


Psychoanalysis and Medicine in the Time of Freud and Brill: Commentary on Richards Related Papers

Sander L. Gilman

Arnold Richards has presented a compelling case for the “Americanization” of psychoanalysis by A.[braham] A.[rden] Brill, an Eastern European Jew desiring to become an American. He is quite candid about how this process impacted on the history of psychoanalytic theory and practice in the United States (See Heinze 2004, pp. 188-121; Hale 1995; Schwartz 1999). The overarching power of psychoanalysis to shape American self-consciousness in the twentieth century brought about a transformation analogous to the creation of the image of America in cinema by the Eastern European Jews who shaped the movie business at the same moment (see Gabler 1989). Richards is quite correct in sketching the importance of the difference between Sigmund Freud and A. A. Brill as individuals in the creation of psychoanalysis and its American reception-especially in terms of the centrality of their understanding of education and culture (Bildung) to their personal sense of integration into a “Christian” world (Catholic in Vienna; Protestant in New York).

Eastern European Jews were being integrated into such a world in Vienna by the middle of the nineteenth century. Vienna became politically anti-Semitic decades later. In New York City it was only at the beginning of the twentieth century that Eastern European Jews began to enter the world of education and social mobility. Many of these Eastern European Jews in Vienna, as well as in New York, came from the eastern areas of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and from Imperial Russia. In Austria, by midcentury, these Ostjuden had slowly begun to enter the world of the professions (see Gilman 1993a, b).

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