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Sabina Spielrein: Forgotten Pioneer of Psychoanalysis, Revised Edition
Edited by Coline Covington and Barbara Wharton
Routledge / Softcover / May 2015
9780415817493 (ISBN-10: 0415817498)
Classic Psychoanalysis
reg price: $74.95 our price: $ 71.20 (may be subject to change)
328 pages
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Sabina Spielrein is perhaps best known for her love affair with her doctor, Carl Gustav Jung. Their intense therapeutic relationship led to a mutual fascination that lasted, for Spielrein, for the rest of her life. It is debatable whether Spielrein and Jung’s relationship was consummated, but it did give birth to some of the most important ideas within psychoanalysis and analytical psychology today, the most notable being that of the death instinct. But what happened to Spielrein and why have her story and work remained in the dark for so many years?

This second edition of Sabina Spielrein: Forgotten Pioneer of Psychoanalysis complements the first edition by retaining many of the most important documents about her life and work. Included in this edition are Jung’s hospital records of his treatment of Spielrein, Jung’s letters to Spielrein following her discharge in 1905, extracts from her personal diary, and her ground breaking paper on the development of language, "The origin of the child’s words Papa and Mama." New material includes Spielrein’s famous paper, "Destruction as a cause of coming into being", in which she formulates her theory of the death drive, a paper describing her place and contribution within Freud’s Vienna Circle, commentaries on the mutual erotic transference between Spielrein and Jung, and a theoretical discussion of her seminal ideas on aggression.

This new edition compiles the essential writings of Spielrein along with commentaries by prominent psychoanalytic and Jungian scholars. It is the definitive source book on Spielrein for clinicians, scholars and historians of psychoanalysis.


Since 2003, the definitive text on Sabina Spielrein has been Covington and Wharton’s collection of stellar papers. It is to this volume above all that we owe the very idea that Spielrein was an important psychoanalytic theorist. We enjoy exemplary historical research into Spielrein’s life and highly original treatment of her psychoanalytic writings. Included in this new edition are materials about Spielrein’s experiences in Freud’s Vienna and further elaborations of her role in the development of psychoanalytic theory. - Andrew Samuels, Professor of Analytical Psychology, University of Essex

This book is compelling. It tells a gripping and fascinating story, using the author’s voices wherever possible. We engage in the lives of Spielrein, Jung and Freud as human characters discovering the complex new territory of the psyche through their own experience and relationships with each other. It is a superb scholarly work. All candidates in training programs should read this book. It is a significant contribution to psychoanalytic history. - Linda Carter, Past US Editor, The Journal of Analytical Psychology and Chair, Art and Psyche Working Group

If Sabina Spielrein is mainly known for her relationship with Carl Jung, much remains to be discovered about the theoretical legacy of this remarkable woman. The new chapters of the revised 2nd edition do much to redress the issue. Rosemary Balsam casts fresh light on Spielrein’s reception by the Vienna Circle and on the position of the early women analysts while Coline Covington discusses the influence on analytical theory of Spielrein’s original ideas on the death instinct, on oral sadism and on the roots of aggression . The letter to Eitingon provides a moving account of the difficulties of Sabina’s life in Russia. An essential and fascinating read for anyone interested in the history of psychoanalysis and of analytical psychology. - Angela M Connolly, Vice-President of the IAAP.


Contributors. Preface to new edition. Preface. Acknowledgements. Text acknowledgements. Introduction, COLINE COVINGTON. Unedited extracts from a diary, SABINA SPIELREIN. The letters of C. G. Jung to Sabina Spielrein. Burgholzli hospital records of Sabina Spielrein. The Zurich School of Psychiatry in theory and practice: Sabina Spielrein’s treatment at the Burgholzli Clinic in Zurich, ANGELA GRAF-NOLD. Comments on the Burgholzli hospital records of Sabina Spielrein, COLINE COVINGTON. Tender love and transference: Unpublished letters of C.G. Jung and Sabina Spielrein (with an addendum/discussion), ZVI LOTHANE. Some historical roots of our current understanding of transference and symbolism, BARBARA WHARTON. Jung and Spielrein’s struggle with the erotic transference, COLINE COVINGTON. Sabina Spielrein in Vienna, 1911-1912: Muse and Nemesis, ROSEMARY BALSAM. Destruction as a cause of coming into being, SABINA SPIELREIN. Three psychoanalytic studies, SABINA SPIELREIN. Letter to Max Eitingon, SABINA SPIELREIN. The common thread among Abraham, Spielrein and Winnicott: on oral sadism and the roots of aggression, COLINE COVINGTON. The origin of the child’s words Papa and Mama. Some observations on the different stages in language development, SABINA SPIELREIN. Comment on Spielrein’s paper ‘The origin of the child’s words Papa and Mama’ BARBARA WHARTON. Index.

About the Editors:

Coline Covington, Ph.D. is a training analyst of the Society of Analytical Psychology and the British Psychotherapy Foundation. She is former editor of the Journal of Analytical Psychology and former chair of the British Psychoanalytic Council. She is in private practice in London.

Barbara Wharton is a training analyst of the Society of Analytical Psychology, London.

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