Money-Kyrle, Roger Earle (1898-1980)

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Roger Money-Kyrle, a British psychoanalyst and member of the British Psycho-Analytical Society, was born on January 31, 1898, in Hertfordshire and died on July 29, 1980, in London. He was educated at Eton and fought in the First World War and was wounded in France. After the war he went to Cambridge to study mathematics and physics but graduated with a degree in philosophy. In 1919 he started an analysis with Ernest Jones, married, and then spent four years in Vienna to earn a PhD under Moritz Schlick, but also to be analyzed by Freud. Back in London, he decided to study anthropology and earned another PhD, under J. C. Flugel at London University. His thesis was published in 1930 with the title The Meaning of Sacrifice.

Money-Kyrle became an associate member of the British Psycho-Analytical Society in 1928, a full member in 1945, and a training analyst in 1949. At the beginning of his psychoanalytic career, he did not take an active part in the scientific life of the society. In the 1930s he began a training analysis with Melanie Klein. Immediately after the Second World War, he spent six months in Germany as part of the German Personnel Research Branch, which sought to find people who had not been involved with the Nazi regime and who could help build up a new administrative and political life in Germany.

His contributions to psychoanalysis can be divided into two parts: works written during the 1930s under the influence of his classical analysis with Freud and later works written under the influence of Klein. From the late 1940s to the 1960s he also commented on and developed the ideas of Wilfred R. Bion, Hanna Segal, and others.

Money-Kyrle used his broad cultural background in all his work, where philosophy and particularly the British empirical tradition blended with the neopositivistic approach to philosophy of the Viennese school of Moritz Schlick. These interests played an important part in his work, as did his interest in anthropology and the social sciences in general.

Particularly important is his research on the psychoanalytic interpretation of the causes of war: "A Psychological Analysis of the Causes Of War" (1978b) and "The Development of War" (1937). In these papers he foresaw the danger of the Nazi regime and its propaganda, leading to the Second World War. Under the influence of Klein, he became increasingly interested in problems related to the psychoanalytic interpretation of ethics and politics. One result of this interest was Psychoanalysis and Politics (1951). Later Money-Kyrle also became interested in clinical issues and problems related to the theory of psychic development. He discussed the problem of inborn misconceptions of the primal scene (adults engaged in sex) and the early Oedipal complex as described by Klein (Money-Kyrle, 1961, 1978). His views have influenced many aspects of neo-Kleinian interpretations of the Oedipus complex.

Riccardo Steiner

See also: Great Britain; Politics and psychoanalysis; Projective identification.


Meltzer, Donald. (1994). Does Money-Kyrle's concept of misconception have any unique descriptive power? In his Sincerity and other works (pp. 495-513). London: Karnac Books. (Origianlly published 1982.)

Money-Kyrle, Roger E. (1930). The meaning of sacrifice. London: L. & V. Woolf and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis.

. (1937). The development of war. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 17, 219-236.

. (1951). Psychoanalysis and politics: A contribution to the psychology of politics and morals. London: G. Duckworth.

. (1961). Man's picture of his world. New York: International Universities Press.. (1978a). The collected papers of Roger Money-Kyrle. Perthshire, UK: Clunie Press.

. (1978b). A psychological analysis of the causes of war. In The collected papers of Roger Money-Kyrle. Perth-shire, UK: Clunie Press. (Origianlly published 1934)

Steiner, John. (1993). Psychic retreats. London: Routledge.