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Goldberg, A.I. (1982). Heinz Kohut (1913–1981). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 63:257-258.

(1982). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 63:257-258

Heinz Kohut (1913–1981)

Arnold I. Goldberg

Heinz Kohut did not consider himself to be a charismatic man yet no one who ever met him in person or knew of him or his ideas could help but be significantly affected by him. One simply could not be casual or neutral about Heinz Kohut, and his death on 8 October 1981 at the age of 68 is but a moment in the enormous impact he has had upon psychoanalysis.

There are few persons in the history of psychoanalysis who have been so identified with the science and its accomplishments as was Heinz; yet he came late to the field having been trained in neurology, practising and teaching it until in his 30's. He was born in Vienna and educated there, receiving an M.D. at the University of Vienna in 1938. He vividly recalled rushing to the train station to wave goodbye to Sigmund Freud as he was forced to leave that special city. Heinz himself left in 1940 and came to the United States for further training.

He was a Chicagoan first and always, and after a long stint at the University of Chicago joined the Institute here in 1953. His honours and awards are a catalogue of meaningful points in psychoanalysis; they range from president of the American Psychoanalytic Association to the Heinz Hartmann prize of the New York Psychoanalytic Association to Vice-President of the Sigmund Freud Archives. Less known are the awards and honours that he turned down. In all of this he had a single mindedness of purpose: to advance psychoanalysis, either by his personal presence or his ideas. Later in life he became so convinced of the diminishing of his resources that he refused almost every honour or request to speak or even to appear in order for him to work as long as possible.

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