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Trosman, H. Wolf, E.S. (1973). The Bernfeld Collaboration in the Jones Biography of Freud. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 54:227-233.

(1973). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 54:227-233

The Bernfeld Collaboration in the Jones Biography of Freud

Harry Trosman and Ernest S. Wolf

… by the good aid that I of you shall borrow … —Shakespeare

Scientists, no less than other mortals, are heir to all the foibles of mankind. Recurrent intraorganizational strife testifies to the enduring nature of narcissistic and competitive drives. Controversy, of course, is generally louder and more insistent than quietly and fruitfully working together and, inevitably, this has led historians to stress polemics over accordance. Although psychoanalysts are no strangers to contention, yet the history of psychoanalysis is also replete with inspiring examples of collaboration among the pioneering explorers who clustered around Sigmund Freud. In this paper we shall attempt to delineate one of the more successful collaborative efforts, that of Siegfried Bernfeld and Ernest Jones, in the roles of psychoanalytic historians, as revealed in their correspondence.

Siegfried Bernfeld grew up in Vienna as the oldest son of a Hungarian Jewish merchant. After finishing the Gymnasium he registered at the University of Vienna where an initial interest in botany and physiology soon was supplanted by pedagogy and psychology. An early political consciousness was manifested by growing involvement in socialist and Zionist causes. These diverse strands of Bernfeld's attention, however, became submerged, although never abandoned, in his lifelong absorption in psychoanalysis. In his most significant psychoanalytic contributions he brought the insights of psychoanalysis to bear on the issues of education and of youth, contributions that were so far ahead of his day that only now are they being properly appreciated, as evidenced by the recent publication of a collection of Bernfeld's selected works (1969)(Ekstein, 1966).

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