Brun, Rudolf (1885-1969)

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BRUN, RUDOLF (1885-1969)

Rudolf Brun was a Swiss physician, a neurologist, holder of the chair of neurology (1940), and member of the Swiss Psychoanalytic Society. He was born March 15, 1885, in Zurich, where he died on January 14, 1969. Brun was born into a family Huguenots. His father was a professor of art history in Zurich. As a young man Brun studied in Zurich, completing his medical studies in Zurich, Geneva, and Algiers. Upon leaving school in 1909, he became an assistant to C. von Monakow (clinical work and brain anatomy) at the Zurich Neurological Institute. He completed his training as a general practitioner at the regional hospital in Glarus in 1911-1912 and studied neurology in London and Paris from 1912 to 1913. Under the influence of August Forel, while Brun was still a student, he began studying the behavior of ants, and his research soon attracted the attention of the scientific community. Between 1918 and 1925 he was head physician at the Zurich Neurological Institute.

He was exposed to Freud's writings during his studies but it wasn't until 1916, during his psychological experiments with animals and humans, that he was willing to accept the theory of drives. After 1925 he had his own practice as a neurologist and psychoanalyst. After the makeover of the Swiss Psychoanalytic Society in 1919 he became an associate then a full member, and shared administrative duties with Philipp Sarasin, with whom he completed a training analysis in 1925-1926. Together with Emil Oberholzer he provoked a break between theÄrztgesellschaft für Psychoanalyse (Medical Society for Psychoanalysis) and the Swiss Psychoanalytic Society, which he returned to in 1947. He never met Freud in person.

Brun wrote more than 120 publications on entomology, anatomy and pathology, neurology, and psychoanalysis. In the Allgemeine Neurosenlehre (1942) he established the position of psychoanalysis in biology. For Brun neuroses were the result of conflicts between the primary (sexual and self-preservative) and secondary (social) instincts. Anxiety is the result of libidinal stasis caused by hormonal activity. Actual neuroses, in Freud's sense, assumed considerable importance for Brun. Because of his biological orientation, Brun reacted violently to beliefs that were based, according to him, on "transcendental idealism," such as Daseinanalyse (existential analysis).

Kaspar Weber

See also: SchweizerischeÄrztegesellschaft für Psychoanalyse; Switzerland (German-speaking).


Aeschlimann, Jürg. (1890). Rudolf Brun (1885-1969). Leben und werk des zürcher neurologen, psychoanalytikers und entomologen. Zürcher medizingesch. Abhandlung, 144, 1980.

Brun, Rudolf. (1926). "Experimentelle beiträge zur dynamik und ekonomie des triebkonflikts; biologische parallelen zu Freuds trieblehre." Imago, 12, 147-170.

. (1951). General theory of neuroses; twenty-two lectures on the biology, psychoanalysis and psychohygiene of psychosomatic disorders. (Bernard Miall, Trans.). New York: International Universities Press.

. (1956). Mein weg zu Freud. Schweizer Zeitschrift für Psycholie, 15, 125-130.

Minkowski, Mieczyslaw. (1969). Louis Rodolphe Brun, 1885-1969. Schweizer Archiv. Neurol. Neurochir. Psychiatr., 106, 330-334.

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Brun, Rudolf (1885-1969)

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