Philip Graham

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pp. 231–286

11. Psychoanalysis in the 1930s

Building up to War

  • Philip Graham (author)
The 1930s saw changes in the psychoanalytic scene in London. Melanie Klein, with the assistance of Ernest Jones, established herself as the predominant influence. She recruited the paediatrician, Donald Winnicott, to her side. She also made enemies, including her own daughter, Melitta. Ernest Glover felt she had developed ideas inconsistent with Freud’s early work. John Bowlby, another influential paediatrician, was unhappy with her exclusive focus on the intrapsychic, with almost total neglect of the external world. Susan was clearly in the Kleinian camp, though she sympathised with Bowlby’s views.
At the outbreak of war in September 1939, the Mental Health Course of the London School of Economics was evacuated to Cambridge. Much of Susan’s work transferred to Cambridge and she moved into a flat there which she shared with Melanie Klein. At the same time, a massive evacuation programme of children and mothers from London to the provinces, including Cambridge, took place, Susan, with a group of other psychoanalysts, organised a survey of evacuated children to investigate the impact of evacuation on them. The findings of the survey were published in 1941 and given considerable publicity.
In the meantime, Nathan was seconded to a government department to ensure an adequate supply of ferro-alloys for armament production. He was housed in the Midlands but remained in close touch with both Susan and Evelyn.


Philip Graham