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After Freud LeftA Century of Psychoanalysis in America$
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John C. Burnham

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226081373

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226081397.001.0001

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Heinz Kohut's Americanization of Freud

Heinz Kohut's Americanization of Freud

Chapter:
(p.209) Eight Heinz Kohut's Americanization of Freud
Source:
After Freud Left
Author(s):

Elizabeth Lunbeck

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226081397.003.0011

This chapter reports a transition from the narrative of technical psychoanalysis to the parallel and interrelated narrative of intellectuals' use of Freudian thinking after World War II, describing how Heinz Kohut as an analyst joined the outlook of the so-called generation of narcissism with psychoanalytic thinking. Among the factors accounting for his singular success was that he fashioned himself as a revolutionary while at the same time channeling spectral presences which had long haunted the discipline of psychoanalysis. Kohut's writings on narcissism entered a cultural field already focused on narcissism, the transformation of which from a clinical concept linked with emotional impoverishment into a cultural indictment of an unseemly plentitude was central to its appeal. It is suggested that the “Ferenczi renaissance” of the last ten to fifteen years was enabled by and indebted to Kohut.

Keywords:   psychoanalysis, Freudian thinking, Heinz Kohut, narcissism, psychoanalytic thinking, Ferenczi renaissance

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