1st Edition

The Life of Gregory Zilboorg, 1940–1959 Mind, Medicine, and Man

By Caroline Zilboorg Copyright 2021
    300 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    300 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Life of Gregory Zilboorg, 1940–1959: Mind, Medicine, and Man is the second volume of a meticulously researched two-part biography of the Russian-American psychoanalyst Gregory Zilboorg and chronicles the impact of the Second World War on his work and thinking as well as his divorce, remarriage, and conversion to Catholicism.

    With extensive references to Zilboorg’s writing and politics, this book demonstrates the significance of his contributions to the fields of psychiatry and psychoanalysis in the context of his tumultuous intellectual, personal, and spiritual life. In his late work, he would argue, controversially, that there was no incompatibility between psychoanalysis and religion.

    Grounded in a wealth of primary source material and impressive research, this book completes the compelling biography of a major figure in psychoanalysis. It will be of interest to general readers as well as scholars across a range of disciplines, particularly the history of psychoanalysis and religion.

    1. Confrontation: 1940–1941  2. ‘I Do Not Consider Myself Up For Charges’: 1941–1942  3. Mind, Medicine, and Man: 1942–1943  4. War and Peace: 1944–1946   5. Health and Happiness: 1946–1950  6. Peace and Prosperity: 1950–1953  7. Faith, Hope, and Charity: 1954–1955  8. ‘His Should be the Path of Spiritual Development’: 1955–1957  9. Time and Tide: 1957–1959  10. Aftermath: Coda


    Caroline Zilboorg is a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University, and a scholar of the British Psychoanalytic Council. Her books include Richard Aldington and H.D.: Their Lives in Letters, The Masks of Mary Renault: A Literary Biography, and the biographical novel Transgressions. She lives in Brittany, France, where she continues to write.

    "Based on careful reading of a remarkable collection of detailed sources, as well as many fascinating photographs, this meticulously researched and beautifully written biography of the psychiatrist and historian Gregory Zilboorg portrays the life of a remarkable man. The story is nicely embedded into a fascinating social, political, medical, and cultural context, one that includes politics, war, religion, and a psychoanalytic world that has been too-often forgotten. This biography will be of interest to a wide range of readers, including medical historians, psychiatrists, and anyone interested in one fascinating person’s journey from pre-revolutionary Russia to the twentieth-century United States."

    Joel Howell, MD, PhD, Elizabeth Farrand Professor of the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan


    "There are powerful myths about daughters in search of fathers. This biography equals them. With lucidity, intensity, and vivid words the author Dr. Caroline Zilboorg sets out, 60 years after his passing, to find and better know her father, the psychoanalyst Dr. Gregory Zilboorg. Her search yields a generous gift to readers. Gregory Zilboorg was an extraordinarily brilliant man with a personal history extending from service in the ill-fated Menshevik government of revolutionary Russia to an exceptional American career as a psychiatrist, medical historian, and spellbinding public speaker. To tell his life is also to tell much of the history, not without conflicts, of Freudian analysis in America. Caroline Zilboorg engages us as her companions in a most fruitful search for identity."

    Roger Lipsey, author of Make Peace Before the Sun Goes Down: The Long Encounter of Thomas Merton and His Abbot, James Fox


    "How does a poor Russian Jew become a revolutionary socialist, an orthodox Freudian, and a devout Catholic, in that order? Read Caroline Zilboorg’s biography of her father Gregory and find out! In addition to providing illuminating commentaries on the evolution of his work in the history of psychiatry, and the social issues that animated Gregory Zilboorg as a public intellectual, Caroline Zilboorg shows a keen and sensitive grasp of the vagaries of Jewish family life in Czarist Russia, the vicissitudes and horrors of the Russian Revolution, the anguish of immigrants adapting to America, and the sheer nastiness of psychoanalytic politics. This is a searching, sympathetic, and richly embroidered biography of a courageous, creative, generous, yet much-misunderstood man. It is ‘must reading’ for anyone interested in the history of psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and the Jewish-American immigrant experience."

    Daniel Burston, Founding Scholar, British Psychoanalytic Council; author of Psychoanalysis, Politics and the Postmodern University and The Wing of Madness: The Life and Work of R.D. Laing