By Daniel Burston
This ebook explores the lifestyles and paintings of a ignored determine within the heritage of psychoanalysis, Karl Stern, who introduced Freudian idea and perform to Catholic (and Christian) audiences round the world.
Karl Stern was once a German-Jewish neurologist and psychiatrist who fled Germany in 1937 – first to London, then to Canada, the place he taught at McGill college and the college of Ottawa, turning into leader of Psychiatry at numerous significant clinics in Ottawa and Montreal among 1952 and 1968, while he went into inner most perform. In 1951 he released The Pillar of Fire, a memoir that chronicled his formative years, formative years and early maturity, his clinical and psychiatric education, his first research, and his serial flirtations with Jewish Orthodoxy, Marxism and Zionism – all in the middle 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 was once a run-away most sensible vendor, and used to be by way of a sequence of exceptional 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 technological know-how and religion, and used to be a celeb of the Catholic lecture circuit, the place he frequently spoke in regards to 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 significant mild 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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Extra info for A Forgotten Freudian: The Passion of Karl Stern
Indeed, by most estimates, by December of 1933 Central Europe lost one third of its top-notch neurological, psychiatric and psychological researchers; an exodus of medical talent which benefited the English-speaking world enormously (Stahnisch, 2010, p. 6). However, Stern lingered on, being lucky—incredibly so. Spielmeyer detested outside interference with the Institute, and despite the adverse attention it generated, he managed to keep Stern employed—something he could still do legally, because the funding for Stern’s position came from abroad.
While forced sterilization of the mentally “unfit” was quite commonplace, two cases stood out in Stern’s memory. One concerned a devout Catholic spinster in her forties who suffered from severe depression. Given her age and religious convictions, the likelihood that she would ever conceive a child was practically nil. The patient’s gynecologist insisted that this state of affairs was the real source of her anguish, and that a sterilization procedure was not merely unnecessary, but would deepen her depression, causing her and her family pointless suffering.
In the absence of a fatherly presence to guide Stern through this turbulent period of history, Herr Burger’s passion for literature and social justice left a deep impression on the adolescent Karl Stern. But sometime in the early 1930s, this principled, outspoken middle-aged man suddenly succumbed to a fatal illness. As death approached, in 1933, Burger warned Karl about the approaching catastrophe, and foretold Germany’s future with chilling accuracy. Meanwhile, in March of 1925, Stern’s mother Ida passed away.