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Hartmann, H. (1954). To Herman Nunberg on his Seventieth Birthday. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 35:1-1.

(1954). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 35:1-1

To Herman Nunberg on his Seventieth Birthday

Heinz Hartmann

DR. HERMAN NUNBERG has lived to see his contributions to psycho-analysis firmly established among the classics in our field. The position he holds as man of science and as teacher is rivalled by but few living analysts. His espousal of the new science and of the cause of psycho-analysis was total and monogamous from the beginning, and his unflinching dedication to the work and word of Freud has remained unchanged throughout a lifetime. His Allgemeine Neurosenlehre was praised by Freud, on its publication twenty years ago, as the most complete and conscientious presentation of the psycho-analytic theory of neurosis. Of his many published papers we can say that each without exception represents a major step in the development of his thinking and an important contribution to our knowledge. None of them lacks excellence, nor could any be termed insignificant—a distinction rare even in our highly selective literature. Nunberg's untiring search for answers to the questions opened up by Freud's work, his selection of preferred subjects, and the ways in which he approaches them, bear the imprint of his sharply defined personality: of his striving towards fundamentals, his keenness and strictness of reasoning, and his unfailing scientific objectivity. Since these are essential characteristics of the man Nunberg, we feel safe in predicting that the work we expect of him in the future will also be in line with the norm of achievement he has set himself.

As analysts we are ready to admit that there is some element of magic belief in the good wishes we are accustomed to present to our friends on significant occasions. Yet, if we have passed beyond believing in the omnipotence of our wishes, we may still allow ourselves to continue the custom, and to appreciate well-wishing as a sign of the friendship and esteem it conveys. May I, then, on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, extend to Herman Nunberg the warmest and sincerest wishes of all the members of the International Psycho-Analytic Association.

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