chapter  8
19 Pages

The birth of intersubjectivity: Otto Gross and the development of psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice


Although the Austrian psychoanalyst and anarchist Otto Gross (1877± 1920) played a pivotal role in the birth of what today we are calling modernity, with wide-ranging in¯uences in psychiatry, analysis, politics, philosophy, sociology, literature and ethics, he has remained virtually unknown to this day. To a large extent, this is the result of an analytic historiography that Erich Fromm, in 1958, somewhat provocatively called `Stalinistic' (1989: 195): dissidents become non-persons and vanish from the records. Today, when we think of the origins of analysis, immediately the names of Freud and Jung spring to mind. But there was someone else who stood between these two, in direct contact with both ± who, in a way, has been pushed into their shadow. Otto Gross's ®rst biographer called him a `Seeker of Paradise' (Hurwitz 1979). In this search he was radical and without compromise. In the historiography of psychoanalysis that was suf®cient for making him a non-person. Of course, I do not mean to claim that Gross was on a par with Freud and Jung. But I do hope to show that he signi®cantly in¯uenced the development of analytical theory and clinical practice.