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The Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto Rank

Inside Psychoanalysis

Sigmund Freud’s relationship with Otto Rank was the most constant, close, and significant of his professional life. Freud considered Rank to be the most brilliant of his disciples. The two collaborated on psychoanalytic writing, practice, and politics; Rank was the managing director of Freud’s publishing house; and after several years helping Freud update his masterpiece, The Interpretation of Dreams, Rank contributed two chapters. His was the only other name ever to be listed on the title page. This complete collection of the known correspondence between the two brings to life their twenty-year collaboration and their painful break.

The 250 letters compiled by E. James Lieberman and Robert Kramer humanize and dramatize psychoanalytic thinking, practice, and organization from 1906 through 1925. The letters concern not just the work and trenchant contemporaneous observations of Freud and Rank but also their friendships, supporters, rivals, families, travels, and other personal and professional matters. Most interestingly, the letters trace Rank’s growing independence, the father-son schism over Rank’s "anti-Oedipal" heresy, his surprising reconciliation with Freud, and the moment when they parted ways permanently. A candid picture of how the pioneers of modern psychotherapy behaved with their patients, colleagues, and families—and each other—the correspondence between Freud and Rank demonstrates how psychoanalysis developed in relation to early twentieth-century science, art, philosophy, and politics.

A rich primary source on psychiatry, history, and culture, The Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto Rank is a cogent and powerful narrative of early psychoanalysis and its two most important personalities.

About the Authors

E. James Lieberman, M.D., is a clinical professor emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the George Washington University School of Medicine. He has written, edited, and translated a number of books, including two by Otto Rank Psychology and the Soul and The Myth of the Birth of the Hero, both published by Johns Hopkins. Robert Kramer, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized authority on action learning and consults on leadership development worldwide. He is the editor of A Psychology of Difference: The American Lectures of Otto Rank.

Reviews

For those well versed in the world of psychology, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis, for those who are students of Freud, and for those who know the historical players in this game, The Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto Rank is a wonderful text filled with excellent research and understanding of the growth and the beginning of the demise of Freudian analysis. It is comprehensive, academic, and a must for those are historians of the era, historians of psychoanalysis, or those simply curious about the men who started a revolution in mental health.

- New York Journal of Books

Doctors sometimes like to be perceived as Olympian gods, but these letters remind us how often gods are venal, petty, jealous and spiteful. The excellent book, The Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto Rank: Inside Psychoanalysis, focuses on the early career of Otto Rank, as one of Freud's most gifted disciples.

- Michael Dirda - Washington Post

This edited collection provides a critical balance to other published accounts of these men and the early years of the psychoanalytic movement... should be essential reading for scholars and specialists familiar with the major ideas and players of early psychoanalysis.

- Library Journal

The book offers much more than a compilation of letters but provides in-depth contextual analysis and refreshingly candid and human perspectives on these men in the early days of the important theory.

- Reference and Research Book News

The Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto Rank is an excellent scholarly resource and makes a substantive contribution by shedding light on Rank and the psychoanalytic movement.

- Simon Boag - PsycCRITIQUES

A compelling story, and one well worth the study required by a careful reading of this book.

- Clifford Cunningham - Suns News Corporation

Endorsements

James Lieberman and Robert Kramer are among the most distinguished authorities on Otto Rank. Instead of producing a critical edition of the Freud-Rank letters, as would have been commonplace, they have used the letters to reconstruct the early ‘life’ of the psychoanalytic movement. A gem of a book.

- Robert A. Segal, author of Myth: A Very Short Introduction

Publication of the Rank-Freud correspondence in this important book fills a major gap in our knowledge and understanding of the early years of psychoanalysis and of Rank himself. Lieberman and Kramer have nicely interleaved the surviving letters with biographical material on Rank, relevant excerpts from Freud’s letters to others, and description of the historical context, including World War I and the difficult years that followed.

- David G. Winter, University of Michigan

For anyone at all interested in the history of the psychoanalytic movement, this 1906-25 exchange of letters, translated here from German, between Freud and his henchman—the 28-years-younger Rank—is a delightful treasure trove... Suited to a broad audience, the book is not at all obscure. A source on which readers will continue to draw.

- Choice

There is... something eminently refreshing about a straightforward book like The Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto Rank: Inside Psychoanalysis.

- Marcus M. Silverman - Modern Psychoanalysis

An important exchange of letters. It is very gratifying that it finally has appeared.

- Anna Bentinck von Schoonheten - Luzifer-Amor
Johns Hopkins University Press
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Other Titles by E. James Lieberman

The Myth of the Birth of the Hero, Expanded and Updated Edition

Otto Rank - translated by Gregory C. Richter, PhD, and E. James Lieberman, MD. With an Introductory Essay by Robert A. Segal, PhD
Nov 2015 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$29.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$29.95 USD - Electronic book text

Psychology and the Soul

Otto Rank - translated by Gregory C. Richter and E. James Lieberman
Jan 2003 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$31.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles by Gregory C. Richter

The Myth of the Birth of the Hero, Expanded and Updated Edition

Otto Rank - translated by Gregory C. Richter, PhD, and E. James Lieberman, MD. With an Introductory Essay by Robert A. Segal, PhD
Nov 2015 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$29.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$29.95 USD - Electronic book text

Psychology and the Soul

Otto Rank - translated by Gregory C. Richter and E. James Lieberman
Jan 2003 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$31.00 USD - Paperback / softback

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Psychology and Politics

Anna Borgos
Oct 2019 - Central European University Press
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The Self Between

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Nov 2014 - University of Washington Press
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Anxiety

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Sep 2013 - Johns Hopkins University Press
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