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Bergler, Edmund (1899-1962)

BERGLER, EDMUND (1899-1962)

Edmund Bergler, a major Freudian theoretician and clinician, was born in Austria on July 20, 1899, and died in New York City on February 6, 1962. Bergler received his medical degree from the University of Vienna in 1926, and married Marianne Blumberger in 1929. He served on the staff of Freud's clinic in Vienna from 1927-1933, and was an assistant director there from 1933-1938, when he moved to the United States. A prolific speaker and writer, he published nearly three hundred papers and twenty-four books, as well as lecturing and giving interviews.

Bergler's contribution to psychoanalytic thought was remarkable. He extended and made clinically usable several of Freud's later concepts, including superego cruelty, unconscious masochism, and the importance of the pre-oedipal oral 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," Bergler presented his main ideas in The Basic Neurosis, in which he summarized his massive original contribution to the field.

Throughout his considerable body of written work, lucid case summaries in each book reveal clinical brilliance and a highly effective analytic technique. His own writing, as well as productive collaborations with Jekels, Eidelberg, Winterstein, and Hitschmann, included works on theory and technique. The Edmund and Marianne Bergler Psychiatric Foundation, in New York City, was established by Mrs. Bergler to preserve and perpetuate his work. It holds title to his working correspondence, many more articles, another two dozen complete books in English or German, as well as hundreds of drafts of papers and books, and will be a lasting resource.

Melvyn L. Iscove

See also: Superego; Unconscious, the.


Bergler, Edmund. (1949). The basic neurosis. Oral regression and psychic masochism. New York: Grune and Stratton.

. (1969). Selected papers of Edmund Bergler, M.D., 1933-1961. New York: Grune and Stratton.

. (1982). Counterfeit-sex. New York: Grune and Stratton.

. (1989). The superego. Madison, WI: International Universities Press.

. (1992). Principles of self-damage. Madison, CT: International Universities Press.

. (1993). Curable and incurable neurotics. Madison, CT: International Universities Press.

Hitschmann, Eduard, and Bergler, Edmund. (1936). Frigidity in women. Washington, New York: Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing Company.

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