This collection presents new insights into the life and work of Herbert Rosenfeld and his continuing influence on psychoanalytic theory and practice. It includes accounts from both personal and professional perspectives and is illustrated with 55 black and white images.
Part I looks at historical perspectives and includes Karin Johanna Zienert-Eilts’ excellent biography of Rosenfeld, Angela Rosenfeld’s personal view of her father, Ronald Britton’s discussion of the distinction between “defensive” and “destructive” narcissism, and Claudia Frank’s look at the iconic figures of Kleinian thought. Part II shines a light on Rosenfeld’s extensive supervisory work with a highly personal account from Riccardo Steiner about experience in Italy, Klaus Wilde on Rosenfeld’s significance for German psychoanalysts, and reminiscences and afterthoughts from Angela Goyena. In the descriptions of his clinical work in Part III, Franco De Masi, Hans-Jürgen Eilts, Carolin Haas, and Nils F. Töpfer demonstrate how Rosenfeld’s theoretical discoveries – especially his concept of destructive narcissism – and his related clinical and technical recommendations not only continue to facilitate psychoanalytic work with difficult patients today, but also made this work possible in the first place.
The final part of the book examines the sociopolitical applications of Herbert Rosenfeld’s concept of destructive narcissism. It begins with a significant paper from Herbert Rosenfeld: Applying my theory of psychosis to the Nazi phenomenon. This is followed by an interview of Rosenfeld by Hermann Beland and two chapters from the editors. Wolfgang Hegener examines how Herbert Rosenfeld can help us to understand Nazi perpetrators, with a particular focus on Adolf Eichmann, and Karin Johanna Zienert-Eilts takes the lens of destructive narcissism to destructive populism to cast new light on the phenomenon.
Rounded out by a bibliography of Herbert Rosenfeld’s most important writings, an extensive appendix of documents, photographs and three previously unpublished letters which are of historical significance, and prefaces from Irma Brenman Pick and John Steiner, this volume is a must-read for clinicians, academics, and trainees.