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Balas, A. (2015). Ferenczi and Beyond: Exile of the Budapest School and Solidarity in the Psychoanalytic Movement during the Nazi Years. By Judit Mészáros. Translated by Thomas A. Williams. London: Karnac Books, 2014, xxviii + 270 pp., $41.95 paperback.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 63(6):1255-1262.

(2015). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 63(6):1255-1262

Ferenczi and Beyond: Exile of the Budapest School and Solidarity in the Psychoanalytic Movement during the Nazi Years. By Judit Mészáros. Translated by Thomas A. Williams. London: Karnac Books, 2014, xxviii + 270 pp., $41.95 paperback.

Review by:
Anna Balas

Many of today's readers of Ferenczi respond to him with the same quick affection as Freud did back in 1908, when the two of them first got to know each other. There is something about Ferenczi's character—his spontaneity, the immediacy of his style, his openness—that wins people over. He was Freud's “Grand Vizier,” his right-hand man for many years, in personal matters and in the organizational affairs of the psychoanalytic movement. In Hungary, Ferenczi was not only the prime force for introducing psychoanalysis to the public—with his writings, translations, public lectures, and analyses—but he also remained a vital participant in the life of the intellectual and artistic community of Budapest during the early decades of the twentieth century. At the same time, Ferenczi carried the moniker l'enfant terrible of psychoanalysis, as well as being its “wise child.” Given that he was often the analyst for the most difficult cases, Ferenczi was confronted with challenging technical matters and their theoretical ramifications. He was considered especially intuitive and insightful, but occasionally given to extremes. Specifically, Ferenczi's therapeutic zeal, his furor sanandi, which had brought him both admirers among his patients and the criticism of colleagues who mistrusted its dangers, considering such zeal unrealistic.

As happens with many creative individuals, Ferenczi continues to be seen by some as a childish, unrealistic dreamer who ultimately became a madman (Jones's famous allegation): he was original but not to be taken seriously, especially in his work after 1930.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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