Glover, Edward (1888-1972)

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GLOVER, EDWARD (1888-1972)

Edward Glover, British psychoanalyst and physician, was born on January 13, 1998 in Lesmahagow, Scotland, and died August 16, 1972, in London.

Born in a small Scottish village, he was the third and youngest son of a country schoolmaster, Matthew Glover, who, for reasons of health, had previously given up a very promising scholastic University career. His mother, Elizabeth Shanks Glover, had been raised by her uncle, a Minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and she was privately educated in its very firm tenets and strict Sunday observances, as well as in domestic arts. By contrast, Edward's father was Darwinian and agnostic, but Edward was raised in what he regarded as his mother's oppressive religious convictions.

Glover is said to have inherited his literary gifts from his mother, but his father's linguistic expertise and thorough knowledge of Greek, Latin, Hebrew, French, and English must have deeply influenced him. Matthew Glover's interest in natural philosophy, his intellectual rigor, scientific attitude, and capacity to teach was likewise reflected in Edward's selfsame gifts.

But the boy hated his early years of schooling and religious instruction, describing himself as "reluctant, rebellious, contumacious, and obstinate" as a pupil, though he seems otherwise to have had a happy childhood. But, on entering secondary school-under his father's direction-he threw himself into his work with energy and gusto, matriculating at sixteen, starting medical training, and qualifying M.B., Ch.B. with distinction at the age of twenty-one.

He was appointed House Physician to the well-known cardiologist Professor John Cowan at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, and in the next few years learned to apply scientific method to clinical practice and undertook research. Four years later he became Senior Resident at the Glasgow Children's Hospital, and remarked that there "the facts of psychological life could no longer be gainsaid." He became Assistant Physician at the Edward VII Sanatorium at Midhurst, greatly admiring the pathologist there, J.A.D. Radcliffe, whom he felt provided him with a disciplined understanding of natural scientific method. Glover's experience led to significant published contributions to the field of pulmonary medicine.

In following his medical career he had been greatly influenced by his oldest brother, James. His dissatisfaction with a strictly organic approach to medicine-the limitations of which he discovered in the course of his own clinical practice-led him to follow his brother James's interest in Freud's psychology. James had moved to Brunswick Square in London to set up a psychiatric practice with Drs. Jessie Murray and Julia Turner. In 1920 the brothers went to Berlin to undergo training analyses (Edward preferred to call his an apprenticeship) with Karl Abraham, studying alongside Ella Freeman Sharpe and Mary Chadwick-also to make their names as psychoanalysts in London. Glover had an honorary appointment there, and learned as much psychiatry as he could from the hospital facilities in Berlin before returning to London, becoming an associate member of the British Psycho-Analytical Society in 1921 and a full member the following year.

James, who was close to Ernest Jones, died in 1926, and Edward took over many of his commitments. He was appointed Scientific Secretary of the British Society, Director of Research, Assistant Director, under Jones, of the London Clinic of Psychoanalysis, and then Secretary of the training committee of the International Psychoanalytic Society. His influence in the British Society was second only to Jones, while his reputation among doctors outside the Society was unsurpassed. He was a fine public speaker and a very gifted writer; and although he sometimes lapsed into polemics, he produced some memorable and witty sayings in the process.

Glover was sufficiently self-critical to recognize that, for a time after his qualification, he had allowed his enthusiasm for psychoanalysis to undermine, at times, the critical and scientific discipline that had become so important to him during his strictly medical work. But it was an error that he soon set about correcting. He became an enemy of what he called "unchecked speculation," and became, in a series of telling critiques of analysts and former analysts published over the years (most notably, perhaps, Freud or Jung [1950]), what someone in another field once called "the necessary antidote to everything." In this he held firmly to the common ground of basic psychoanalytic concepts. Unhappily, he lived to see that ground becoming increasingly less common.

Much of his work, however, consists of original contributions covering a wide range of psychoanalytic interest. These included: drug addiction; prostitution; War, Sadism, and Pacifism (1933); The Technique Of Psycho-Analysis (1955); the classification of mental disorders; the early development of mind and the nuclear theory of ego formation; education; and research methods in psychoanalysis. A selection of many key papers appeared in 1956. A classic textbook on psychoanalysis was published in 1939 and substantially enlarged for a second edition in 1949. But, perhaps above all, his contributions to the study of psychopathy and crime reflected his single greatest interest, about which he wrote a large number of papers, the bulk of them gathered together in his book The Roots of Crime (1960). From small beginnings in 1922, and in association with Grace Pailthorpe and others, the foundations were laid on which Glover later founded the Institute for the Study and Treatment of Delinquency (ISTD), the clinical wing of which was later adopted by the National Health Service as the Portman Clinic, while the scientific and research division was funded separately. Together with Hermann Mannheim and Emanuel Miller, Glover founded The British Journal of Delinquency (later The British Journal of Criminology ) in 1950 and, together with the ISTD, launched the International Library of Criminology. He was a founding member of the editorial board of The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child.

Glover is often remembered in the British Psychoanalytic Society, perhaps unfairly, for the part he played in the series of Controversial Discussions, recorded with great thoroughness and scholarship by Pearl King and Riccardo Steiner in The Freud-Klein Controversies 1941-45 (1991). Glover's critique of Klein, later published separately, is still perhaps the most thorough and exhaustive on this topic. His dissent led him to leave the Society in 1944, but he continued to be a member the International Psychoanalytic Association through his honorary membership of the Swiss and American Societies. Glover's first wife, whom he married in 1918, died eighteen months later from septicemia. He married for a second time in 1924, and their only child, a mentally handicapped girl, was born in 1926.

Clifford Yorke

See also: British Psycho-Analytical Society; Splitting of the object; Controversial Discussions; Dipsomania; Great Britain; Indications and contraindications for psychoanalysis for an adult; Schmideberg-Klein, Melitta; Technique with adults, psychoanalytic.


Glover, Edward. (1933). War, sadism and pacifism. London: Allen and Unwin.

. (1950). Freud or Jung. London: Allen and Unwin.

. (1955). The technique of psycho-analysis. London: Bailliere, Tindall and Cox.

. (1956). On the early development of mind. Selected papers. London: Imago Publishing. Re-issued 1970, New York: International Universities Press.

. (1960). The roots of crime. London: Imago Publishing. Re-issued 1970, New York: International Universities Press.

King, Pearl H.M.; and Steiner, Riccardo. (1991). The Freud-Klein controversies 1941-1945. London and New York: Tavistock Publications-Routledge.

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Glover, Edward (1888-1972)

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