Heller, Hugo (1870-1923)

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HELLER, HUGO (1870-1923)

Hugo Heller, the second Viennese publisher of Freud's works, was born in Hungary in 1870 and died in Vienna on November 29, 1923.

When he finished his secondary education, he trained as a bookseller and contributed to founding the "first populist bookshop in Vienna." In 1905, he founded his own bookshop (Hugo Heller & Co.) comprising a publishing house, an art gallery, and a reception hall. Many exhibitions and conferences were organized in this richly endowed bookshop by contemporary poets and artists such as Arnold Schönberg, Rainer Maria Rilke, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Jakob Wassermann, and Thomas and Heinrich Mann. In response to the cultural orientation of this bookshop, its clients came from the intellectual elite of Vienna.

Freud was one of the regular customers and in 1907 he gave a conference, "Der Dichter und das Phantasieren" (Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming, 1908e), to Heller's literary-minded public. Relations between Hugo Heller and Freud were not based solely on Freud's interest in literature; they were also consolidated by Heller's interest in psychoanalysis. He was of the small circle of the founding members of the Wednesday Society, where he delivered his first paper: "Zur Geschichte des Teufels" (On the History of the Devil). Even before Lou Andréas Salomé was invited to attend the Wednesday Society, Heller had already given them an account of the work of this author who was already enshrined in the mists of legend. His daughter, Maggie Heller, was one of the pioneers of psychoanalytic teaching. In 1906 she organized a survey of writers and scientists, asking them to list "ten good books." Arthur Schnitzler, Ernst Mach, and Peter Altenberg, along with Freud and others, responded to the survey, which Heller published under the title Vom Lesen und von guten Büchern (Reading and good books).

During World War I, Heller took over the scientific section of the Deuticke publishing house and became the "real publisher of the house of Freud." For Heller this change in Deuticke also reflected the new interest of psychoanalysis in terms of its applications for the mind sciences and the broadening of its readership toward a more general public. In the literary, but also the social democratic context of this publishing house the following works of Freud were published: Delusions and Dreams in Jensen's "Gradiva" (1907a), Totem and Taboo (1912-13a), the "Collection of short writings on the theory of the neurosis" (4 volumes, 1907-09) and Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1916-17a). Its catalog of authors also included analysts like Otto Rank and Alfred von Winterstein.

Hugo Heller also took the risk of publishing two psychoanalytic reviews, the Internationale Zeitschrift für (ärtzliche) Psychoanalyse and Imago, after several other publishers had backed down. Theodor Reik, who was working in Heller's bookshop at the time, took charge of the two reviews. During the war the publishing house suffered from production conditions that went from bad to worse, with the result that it became problematic to produce the two reviews. Finally, Heller publications could no longer ensure a regular production of books. As a result, Freud's work Zur Vorbereitung einer Matapsychologie (Toward the Preparation of a Metapsychology), which he had entrusted to Heller, never went to print and is considered to have been lost.

After the creation of the Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag in 1919, Heller handled only the distribution of periodicals and books. After World War I, although still a member of the Viennese Psychoanalytic Association, he no longer attended their meetings. When he died on November 29, 1923, an obituary in the Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse observed that Viennese Psychoanalytic Society had lost one of its oldest members.

Lydia Marinelli

See also: Deuticke, Franz; Imago. Zeitschrift für die Anwendung der Psychoanalyse auf die Geisteswissenschaften ; Internationale Zeitschrift für (ärtzliche) Psychoanalyse .


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