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Forrester, J. (2008). 1919: Psychology and Psychoanalysis, Cambridge and London — Myers, Jones and Maccurdy. Psychoanal. Hist., 10(1):37-94.

(2008). Psychoanalysis and History, 10(1):37-94

1919: Psychology and Psychoanalysis, Cambridge and London — Myers, Jones and Maccurdy

John Forrester

‘The ΨA ferment here is remarkable’, Ernest Jones wrote to Freud in early January 1919. This paper explores some of the consequences of this English ferment for the future direction of psychoanalysis in the period 1919-1926. It differs from more standard accounts of the early history of psychoanalysis in that it is deliberately not focused on the strategies adopted by Freud and his close disciples. This rather different picture of the development and reception of psychoanalysis in Britain arose as part of a larger ‘micro-history’ of the reception of psychoanalysis in Cambridge. Instead of being Vienna-ocentric, this picture is Cambridge-ocentric. It might seem odd, perhaps even perverse, to take this view from the English Fens of the quintessentially central European urban creation that was Freud's, but, as the cradle of the British élite and as the centre of its scientific institutions in the early twentieth century, its ‘High Science’, Cambridge turns out to be an ideal place to study the establishment of Freud's ideas and practices (Werskey 1978). If one needs more persuasion, one has only to turn to a list of those early English analysts who had strong ties with Cambridge: John Rickman, James and Alix Strachey, Karin and Adrian Stephen, Joan Riviere, Susan Isaacs, Donald Winnicott and John Bowlby - and this list is by no means complete.

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