Rank, Otto

Rank, Otto ôtˈō rängk [key], 1884–1937, Austrian psychoanalyst; one of Sigmund Freud's first and most valued pupils. He early employed Freudian techniques to clarify the underlying significance of myths, producing the classic paper Der Mythus von der Geburt des Helden (1909; tr. Myth of the Birth of the Hero, 1914). Rank, in collaboration with Hanns Sachs, founded the psychoanalytic journal Imago in 1912. Rank's theoretical views, diverging from those of Freud, gave the birth trauma, rather than the Oedipus complex, the central position in the causation of psychoneurosis, claiming all neurotic anxiety to be a repetition of the physiological phenomenon of birth. As a therapist, he attempted to reduce the time required for a successful psychoanalysis to a few months. Rank emigrated to the United States a few years before his death. Among his writings are The Trauma of Birth (tr. 1929), Art and Artist (tr. 1932), Modern Education (tr. 1932), and Will Therapy (tr. 1936).

See studies by E. Menaker (1982) and E. J. Lieberman (1983).

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