Otto Rank

Psychologist, Philosopher, Art Critic, Cultural Anthropologist, Educator

Quotes about Rank

Quotes About Rank


The Best, Worst, and Oddest Things in Print about
Otto Rank


"The insights seem like a gift....Living as we do in an era of hyperspecialization we have lost the expectations of this kind of delight....Rank's system has implications for the deepest and broadest development of the social sciences, implications that have only begun to be tapped. "
--Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death, 1973. The 1974 Pulitzer Prize was awarded for this book, the year Becker died. His posthumous Escape from Evil (1975) was dedicated to Rank's memory.

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"I consider Otto Rank to be one of the great spiritual giants of the twentieth century, a genius as a psychologist and a saint as a human being. Though vilified by his original community of Freudians, he never became bitter. He died a feminist and deeply committed to social justice, in 1939....His deep understanding of creativity makes him a mentor for all of us living in a postmodern world....I believe that Art and Artist, especially chapters 12 to 14, may well emerge as the most valuable psychoanalysis of the spiritual life in our time."
--Matthew Fox, Wrestling with the Prophets, 1995. Chapter 11 is devoted to Otto Rank. Fox refers to Rank enthusiastically in other books and in his teaching.

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"Precisely as the new physics, in its analysis of the atom, has come upon a dynamic element in a universe now no longer like a machine, so Dr. Rank, again like the physicists rejecting causality in its rigidly and hopelesly deterministic sense, has come upon a dynamic element in the human psyche and has reinstated in its proper place and function the psychology of the will."
--Ludwig Lewisohn, Preface, Otto Rank's Art and Artist, 1932

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”...perhaps the most brilliant and clairvoyant of the young investigators who still stand by the master’s side”
--Havelock Ellis, The Dance of Life, 1923

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"What predominated was his curiosity, not the impulse to classify. He was not like a scientist intent on fitting a human being into a theory. He was not practicing mental surgery. He was relying on his intuition, intent on discovering a woman neither one of us knew. A new specimen. He improvised. "
--Anais Nin, Diary I, 1966

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"Of all the original Freudian Group--Jung, Adler, Rank, Ferenczi, Jones, Eitingon, Sachs--the one whose ideas still have the sharpest freshness for me is Rank. Freud had liked him, cherished him as a disciple, and then--when Rank dared pursue some lines of research in a direction of his own--Freud had turned against him. So did all the others who headed the little satrapies in Freud's empire, including Ernest Jones. That was why I was eager to know about the artist's experience with Rank."
--Max Lerner "Touch Bottom," The New York Post June 15, 1959. Reprinted in Journal of the Otto Rank Association 5:1, June 1970.

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Rupert Pole's Invention


"The relationship is somehow tragicomic: the father feels he is crowning his Don Juan career by attempting to seduce his daughter, but Anais knows she is acting on the advice of her psychiatrist (and lover) Dr. Otto Rank--to seduce her father and then leave him as punishment for abandoning her as a child."
--Rupert Pole, Executor, the Anais Nin Trust, Preface to Incest by A. Nin, 1992 (corrected in the paperback edition). Nin had not yet met Rank, much less become his patient or lover, at the time of the alleged seduction of her father. Rupert Pole admitted to confabulating this. Gunther Stuhlmann, Nin's agent and editor--and also agent for the Rank estate -- let it pass. This fabrication appears in the German translation and probably others.

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"Since culture is itself a poiesis, all of its participants are poietai--inventors, makers, artists, storytellers, mythologists. They are not, however, makers of actualities, but makers of possibilities. The creativity of culture has no outcome, no conclusion. It does not result in art works, artifacts, products. Creativity is a continuity that engenders itself in others. "Artists do not create objects, but create by way of objects." (Rank [Art and Artist])
--James Carse, Finite and Infinite Games, 1986. An aphoristic book by Emeritus Professor of Religion at NYU.

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"When I finally came to my first hour with Rank, while consciously submissive, afraid, and fully aware of my ignorance of psychoanalysis, my underlying attitude was far from humble. I was, after all, a psychologist. I had some knowledge of myself and my problems. I had achieved a point of view psychologically. If there was anything in my unconscious in terms of buried memories, I would have to be shown. And so the battle was joined; but I soon found that it was a battle with myself. I was deprived of a foe. It took only two weeks for me to yield to a new kind of relationship, in the experiencing of which the nature of my own therapeutic failures became suddenly clear. No verbal explanation was ever needed; my first experience of taking help for a need that had been denied was enough to give a basis for the years of learning to follow."
--Jessie Taft Otto Rank, 1958, p. xi. Rank's patient, then colleague, translator, and first biographer.

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Commentary
An out-of-print collection of essays for the Otto Rank centennial
History
Chronology of Rank's life and work by Robert Kramer
Tidbits
A collection of brief comments by a variety of observers.