Get A Forgotten Freudian: The Passion of Karl Stern PDF

By Daniel Burston

ISBN-10: 178220346X

ISBN-13: 9781782203469

This e-book explores the lifestyles and paintings of a overlooked determine within the background of psychoanalysis, Karl Stern, who introduced Freudian idea and perform to Catholic (and Christian) audiences round the world.

Karl Stern used to be a German-Jewish neurologist and psychiatrist who fled Germany in 1937 – first to London, then to Canada, the place he taught at McGill collage and the collage of Ottawa, changing into leader of Psychiatry at numerous significant clinics in Ottawa and Montreal among 1952 and 1968, whilst he went into inner most perform. In 1951 he released The Pillar of Fire, a memoir that chronicled his formative years, early life and early maturity, his scientific and psychiatric education, his first research, and his serial flirtations with Jewish Orthodoxy, Marxism and Zionism – all in the course of the galloping Nazification of Germany. It additionally explored the long-standing inner-conflicts that preceded Stern’s conversion to Catholicism in 1943.

The Pillar of Fire used to be a run-away top vendor, and used to be via a chain of outstanding books and papers that suggest Freud (and psychoanalysis normally) to Christian audiences, together with The 3rd Revolution (1954), The Flight from Woman (1965) and Love and Success (1975). Stern firmly believed within the compatibility of technology and religion, and was once a celeb of the Catholic lecture circuit, the place he usually spoke concerning the evils of anti-Semitism. His friendship and correspondence with Thomas Merton, psychiatrist/psychoanalyst Gregory Zilboorg, philosophers Jacques Maritain and Gabriel Marcel, activist Dorothy Day and novelist Graham Greene (among others) shed huge gentle on Catholic highbrow existence within the chilly conflict period, and the problems dealing with Stern, whose simultaneous efforts to strive against Christian anti-Semitism and to combine Freudian proposal into the center of Catholic philosophy met with combined effects.

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Another disturbing case concerned a World War I veteran who initially sought medical attention for a stomach ailment. While recovering in hospital, he had shared his pacifist beliefs with other patients in his ward, and as a result, was detained for a psychiatric evaluation and later, involuntary detention. After his medical history was read aloud, the patient was brought into the conference room in pajamas and slippers. As Stern recalled, the patient gave a perfectly cogent account of his personal and medical history.

At eleven, Karl went to school in Munich, where he fared better. He lived with the Kohens, an orthodox Jewish family. The head of the household, “good, tiny Frau Kohen,” was a widow of modest means whose children were slightly older than he was. The Kohen home was suffused with a warm, pious atmosphere that enchanted Karl, and for the first time in his life, he experienced the Passover seder as a moving and meaningful ritual. At synagogue services, Stern prayed alongside orthodox Jews, and was quite moved by their fervor, which contrasted starkly with the eclectic, episodic and often lackluster observances back home.

On first acquaintance, Karl was struck by Lisellote’s devotion to her former nanny—a pious, semi-literate, middle-aged spinster named Kati Huber, who ran the household with skill, assurance and a lot of color commentary. As Stern recalled: Her religious upbringing gave her the conviction, never formulated, that everybody has his appropriate place in life. The socalled “inferiority complex” and true humility are two opposites. She treated fellow domestics and visiting Nobel laureates to her crude jokes with naïve equality.

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A Forgotten Freudian: The Passion of Karl Stern by Daniel Burston


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