The Life of Gregory Zilboorg, 1890–1940
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The Life of Gregory Zilboorg, 1890–1940: Psyche, Psychiatry, and Psychoanalysis is the first volume of a meticulously researched two-part biography of the Russian-American psychoanalyst Gregory Zilboorg and chronicles the period from his birth as a Jew in Tsarist Russia to his prominence as a New York psychoanalyst on the eve of the Second World War.
Educated in Kiev and Saint Petersburg, Zilboorg served as a young physician during the First World War and, after the revolution, as secretary to the minister of labour in Kerensky’s provisional government. Having escaped following Lenin’s takeover, Zilboorg requalified in medicine at Columbia University and underwent analysis with Franz Alexander at the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute. His American patients ranged from wealthy and artistic figures such as George Gershwin and Lillian Hellman to prison inmates. His writing includes important histories of psychiatry, for which he is still known, as well as examinations of gender, suicide, and the relationship between psychiatry and the law. His socialist politics and late work on Freud’s (mis)understanding of religious belief created a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, from members of the Warburg banking family to the Trappist monk Thomas Merton.
Drawing on previously unpublished sources, including family papers and archival material, The Life of Gregory Zilboorg, 1890–1940: Psyche, Psychiatry, and Psychoanalysis offers a dramatic narrative that will appeal to general readers as well as scholars interested in the First World War, the Russian revolution, the Jewish diaspora, and the history of psychoanalysis.