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Thompson, N.L. (2009). Vienna Psychoanalytic Society: The First Hundred Years. Edited by Andrea Bronner. Vienna: Christian Brandstatter Verlag, 2008, 96 pp., $19.90. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 57(3):767-772.

(2009). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 57(3):767-772

Book Reviews: The Vienna Psychoanalytic Society

Vienna Psychoanalytic Society: The First Hundred Years. Edited by Andrea Bronner. Vienna: Christian Brandstatter Verlag, 2008, 96 pp., $19.90

Review by:
Nellie L. Thompson

This slim volume commemorates the centenary of the founding of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society (VPS) in 1908. It is edited by Andrea Bronner, with an introduction by Otto Kernberg. It also includes a concise sketch of the VPS's first century by Christine Diercks that forthrightly describes the rise of fascism, the dissolution of the VPS, and the long period of rebuilding after World War II. The reader is introduced to the society's past and present membership by an engrossing juxtaposition of photographs, illustrations, and informative entries. This material is divided into three sections. The first chronicles the background and careers of the 149 individuals who joined the VPS before its dissolution in 1938. Their dates, birthplace, the nature of their involvement with psychoanalysis (i.e., transitory or lifelong), and notable contributions are recorded, along with the society each joined after leaving Austria. The second part pays homage to the ten members who met their deaths between 1938 and 1945; the third is a roster of the membership of the VPS since 1945.

The first section is the most compelling. Its pictures and brief biographical sketches introduce us to the 106 men and 43 women who made up the first two generations of psychoanalysts. While the majority of them had medical training, a significant number (48 of 149) brought to their psychoanalytic training backgrounds in law, philosophy, the humanities, and education. A notable number of these lay analysts made seminal contributions to psychoanalysis: Anna Freud, Ernst Kris, August Aichhorn, Berta Bornstein, Robert Waelder, Erik Erikson, Otto Rank, and Hanns Sachs.

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