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Perrotti, Nicola (1897-1970)

PERROTTI, NICOLA (1897-1970)

Nicola Perrotti, an Italian psychoanalyst and physician, was born in Penne (Pescara) in 1897 and died in Rome in 1970. He was one of the pioneers of psychoanalysis in Italy. Perrotti, a humanist with considerable clinical sensitivity, after receiving his doctorate in medicine in Rome in 1922, turned to Freud's new science. Even before he underwent psychoanalytic training, he defended the cause of psychoanalysis in the pages of Il Saggiatore, an avant-garde cultural review.

In 1932 he began analysis with Edoardo Weiss and soon became one of his close collaborators. Again with Weiss, in 1934 he participated in the International Psychoanalytic Congress in Lucerne, where he presented his "Psychoanalytic Considerations on Music." In 1935 the Internationale Zeitschrift published one of his most original essays, "Die Righophobie" (Phobia of cold), confirming Freud's predictions to Weiss (1970) that "his collaborator Perrotti had the potential to become a prize winner."

After the Italian Psychoanalytic Society (SPI) was forced to dissolve in 1938 and following Italy's entrance into the War, Perrotti returned to the political movements he had followed in his twenties, when he was a militant in the Socialist Party, struggling alongside men such as Nenni, Saragat, and Pertini. He was elected deputy of the new Italian Parliament and appointed High Commissioner for Hygiene and Health, a position he left in 1950.

During this period of political engagement, Perrotti continued to take an interest in the status of psychoanalysis in Italy. In 1946, with Emilio Servadio and Cesare Musatti, he reestablished the SPI, of which he was president until 1951. Through his friendship with Maryse Choisy, he took advantage of his contacts in France to enter the European circuit of psychoanalysis. The subsequent Congress of Romance Languages Psychoanalysts provided Perrotti with an opportunity to work with distinguished representatives of French psychoanalysis and helped formalize his contacts.

In 1952, after his term as president of the SPI had ended, he founded the Istituto di Psicoanalisi de Roma (Rome Psychoanalytic Institute) and, in 1963, managed the newly reestablished review Psiche. His most important articles were published in Psiche, the Rivista di psicoanalisi and the Revue française de psychanalyse. During his lifetime, he published seventy articles, which were collected in a posthumously published anthology entitled L'Io legato e la Libertà (The bound ego and freedom), whose main topics were the identity crisis of contemporary man, the metapsychology of the self, depersonalization, and aggression.

Anna Maria Accerboni

See also: Italy.


Perrotti, Nicola. (1989). L'Io legato e la libertà. Rome: Astrolabio.

Petacchi, Giancarlo. (1970). Vita di pionieri. (p. 168-173). In A.M. Accerboni (Ed.), La cultura psicoanalitica. Porde-none, Italy: Studio Tesi.

Psiche. (1970).

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