Chapter

Heinz Kohut's Americanization of Freud

Elizabeth Lunbeck

in After Freud Left

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780226081373
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226081397 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226081397.003.0011
Heinz Kohut's Americanization of Freud

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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

Chapter.  10198 words. 

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