This fascinating collection explores the life of renowned psychoanalyst Michael Balint in his native Budapest. With a Balint revival in mind, Michael Balint and his World: The Budapest Years brings together the work of psychoanalysts, social thinkers, historians, literary scholars, artists and medical doctors who draw on Balint’s work in a variety of ways.
The book focuses on Balint’s early years in Budapest, where he worked with Sándor Ferenczi and a circle of colleagues, capturing the transformations of psychoanalytic thinking as it happens in a network of living relationships. Tracing creative disagreements as well as collaborations, and setting these exchanges in the climate of scientific, social and cultural developments of the time, Michael Balint and his World: The Budapest Years follows the development of psychoanalytic thinking during these critical times. The book recalls the story of several “lost children” of the Budapest School and reconstitutes Balint’s important early contributions on primary love. It also examines his little-known relationship with Lacan, including the extended discussion of Balint’s work by Wladimir Granoff in Lacan’s first public seminar in Paris in 1954, published here for the first time.
This important book provides a fresh perspective on Balint’s enormous contribution to the field of psychoanalysis and will interest both scholars and clinicians. It will also inspire those interested in clinical practice and the applications of psychoanalysis to the cultural sphere.
Series editor's foreword
About the editors
Chronology of Michael Bálint’s life
Part 1: Budapest trails
1. A brief introduction to the Balints and their world: Object relations and beyond
2. Michael Bálint, his world and his Oeuvre
2a. Remembering André Haynal (1930-2019)
3. The problems of education and society in the Budapest School of Psychoanalysis
3a. Remembering Ferenc Erős (1946-2020)
4. "I look into a room through a round gap". Alice Bálint's life, work and diaries
Part 2: Creativity and primary love
5. Therapy, object relations and primary narcissism: Metapsychology in the early works of Michael Bálint
6. Primary harmony: Baby observation on infantile hopes and quiet states
7. Human links
8. Michael Bálint and the Budapest School of Psychoanalysis on the importance of creativity
Part 3: Lost children of psychoanalysis
9. Lost children of the recent history of psychoanalysis: Tibor Rajka MD, 1901-1980
10. Remembering Dr István Székács-Schönberger
Gábor Flaskay and Zsuzsa Mérei
11. My debt to Michael Bálint
Part 4: Links rediscovered
12. Introduction to Wladimir Granoff's presentation on Balint at Lacan's seminar
13. Presentation on Balint at Lacan's seminar Freud's papers on technique, 26 May 1954
14. Lacan's Balint: Synergies and discords in a professional friendship
"In this deliciously gripping book, the editors and chapter authors transport us on a highly readable and deeply enlightening tour of the often-forgotten contributions of the creative and bold pioneers of psychoanalysis in Hungary, not least the achievements of Michael Balint and his first wife, Alice Balint. Beautifully researched, incorporating much previously unpublished data, this groundbreaking volume offers not only extensive historical wisdom but, also, reminds us of the ways in which the work of Balint and his Budapest colleagues can enhance contemporary psychoanalysis."
Professor Brett Kahr, Senior Fellow, Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology, London, and Visiting Professor of Psychoanalysis and Mental Health at Regent’s University London, and Honorary Director of Research, Freud Museum London
"In a period when the idea of 'correct technique' was becoming crystallized around language, Michael Balint explored the 'gulf between patient and analyst' like no other, taking care to acknowledge the fractured balance between the individual and the environment, while teaching us the importance of becoming 'unsolid'. Nowadays we are, perhaps, more ready to appreciate the sensitive, profound, and elegant way he rethought the basic grammar of the analytic experience. This collection of essays and original documents on Michael Balint and his World, illuminates a variety of less known aspects of The Budapest Years. It is an engaging invitation to revive his inspiring legacy. I strongly recommend it."
Carlo Bonomi, Ph.D., training and supervising analyst of the Società Italiana di Psicoanalisi Sándor Ferenczi, president of the International Sándor Ferenczi Network (ISFN), associate editor of the International Forum of Psychoanalysis, and Founding President of the Sandor Ferenczi Cultural Association
"I hear with pleasure and emotion that the book about Balint and the Hungarian analytic society will soon be available. The list of contributors is impressive. Much thanks to them."
Judith Dupont, psychoanalyst, translator, author and editor, member of the French Psychoanalytical Society, founder of the psychoanalytic journal Le Coq-héron, and literary executor for Michael Balint