|About the Book|
Edmund Bergler (1899 - 1962), an Austrian Jew, fled the Nazis in 1937-38 tolive and practice in New York City. He wrote 25 psychology books along with 273articles that were published in leading professional journals.Berglers contribution to psychoanalytic thought was remarkable. Delos Smith,science editor of United Press International, said Bergler was among the mostprolific Freudian theoreticians after Freud himself.“He extended and made clinically usable several of Freuds later concepts, includingsuperego cruelty, unconscious masochism, and the importance of the pre-oedipaloral mother-attachment.Hitschmann spoke of his extraordinary talent for the specialty of psychoanalysis . . .his command of the entire subject matter, his scientific acumen and literary erudition.Considered one of the few original minds among the followers of Freud, Berglerpresented his main ideas in The Basic Neurosis, in which he summarized his massiveoriginal contribution to the field.Throughout his considerable body of written work, lucid case summaries in each bookreveal clinical brilliance and a highly effective analytic technique. His own writing, aswell as productive collaborations with Jekels, Eidelberg, Winterstein, and Hitschmann,included works on theory and technique.”—International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis,http://www.enotes.com/psychoanalysis-...Bergler was Freud’s assistant director at the Vienna clinic in the 1930s, and isamong the first generation of psychoanalyists after Freud. The centerpiece ofFreudian psychoanalysis was initially the Oedipus complex- but Bergler notes that,over time, Freud began to realize how important the pre-Oedipal phase was inhuman development- particularly the earliest- oral- phase.Unfortunately, many of Freud’s (and Bergler’s) predecessors have not followedtheir lead: (p. 57)* “One sometimes has the impression that some colleagues treateverything ‘beyond Oedipus and the libido’ as unwelcome and bothersomeintruders.” and (p. 62): “Prevailing analytic opinion failed to accept thatsubstructure de facto and relegated pre-oedipality to a footnote.”Bergler certainly didn’t. On the contrary, the pre-Oedipal phase was the centralfeature of his work. In this essay, we will attempt to outline why he considered thepre-Oedipal to be so important.* Almost all material included (with the exception of the Appendix) are quotes from BerglersCurable and Incurable Neurotics (1961).