The Leader pp 49-58 | Cite as

Erik H. Erikson, Ego Psychology, and the Great Man Theory

  • Charles B. Strozier
  • Daniel Offer


Of all the people influenced by Freud, Erik Erikson most creatively bridged psychoanalysis and history. He began as an artist, but in the 1920s was drawn into analysis with Anna Freud and eventually graduated from the last class of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society in 1933. On the boat coming to America shortly afterwards, Erikson shared his essay on Hitler with the diplomat and historian George Kennan, who helped him to translate it into English. In America, Erikson soon established his reputation as a child analyst and became acquainted with people like Margaret Mead. In the late 1930s and 1940s he conducted a series of studies that culminated in his first book, Childhood and Society (1950). Since then, his interests have always included both the clinical and the historical.1


Political Rhetoric Black Book Premature Integrity Personal Punishment Expeditionary Force 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    There is one (inadequate) biography of Erikson: Robert Coles, Erik H. Erikson: The Growth of His Work (Boston: Little, Brown, 1970).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Erik H. Erikson, Young Man Luther (1958); Gandhi’s Truth (1968); and Dimensions of a New Identity (New York: Norton, 1974).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    For William James, see Identity: Youth and Crisis (New York: Norton, 1968), pp. 150-155; for George Bernard Shaw, ibid., pp. 142-150; for Albert Einstein, “Psychoanalytic Reflections on Einstein’s Centenary,’ in Albert Einstein: Historical and Cultural Perspectives, ed. Gerald Holton and Yehuda Elkam (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979); forGoogle Scholar
  4. Adolf Hitler, Childhood and Society (New York: Norton, 1963 [1950]), pp. 326–58, and Young Man Luther, pp. 105-110; for Maxim Gorky, Childhood and Society, pp. 359-402; forGoogle Scholar
  5. Jesus, “The Galilean Sayings and the Sense of ‘I’,” Yale Review, 70 (1981), 321–362.Google Scholar
  6. 4.
    Erikson, Young Man Luther, p. 169.Google Scholar
  7. 5.
    Erikson, Identity, p. 143.Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    Ibid., 144.Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    Ibid., 145.Google Scholar
  10. 8.
    Ibid., 150.Google Scholar
  11. 9.
    Erikson, Young Man Luther, pp. 105-106.Google Scholar
  12. 10.
    Ibid., 107-108.Google Scholar
  13. 11.
    Joel Kovel, “Erik Erikson’s Psychohistory,” Social Policy, 4 (1974), 63.Google Scholar
  14. 12.
    Erikson, Young Man Luther, p. 201.Google Scholar
  15. 13.
    Frank E. Manuel, “The Use and Abuse of Psychology in History,” in Historical Studies Today, ed. Felix Gilbert and Stephen R. Graubard (New York: Norton, 1972), p. 225.Google Scholar
  16. 14.
    Daniel Offer and Judith Offer, From Teenage to Young Manhood (New York: Basic Books, 1975).Google Scholar
  17. 15.
    Erikson, Gandhi’s Truth, p. 107.Google Scholar
  18. 16.
    Erikson, Dimensions, p. 98.Google Scholar
  19. 17.
    Ibid., 87.Google Scholar
  20. 18.
    Ibid., 89.Google Scholar
  21. 19.
    Ibid., 90.Google Scholar
  22. 20.
    Erikson, Gandhi’s Truth, pp. 196-197.Google Scholar
  23. 21.
    Ibid., 402-403.Google Scholar
  24. 22.
    Erikson, Young Man Luther, p. 206.Google Scholar
  25. 23.
    Ibid., 246.Google Scholar
  26. 24.
    Ibid., 250.Google Scholar
  27. 25.
    Ibid., 67.Google Scholar
  28. 26.
    Erikson, Gandhi’s Truth, p. 51.Google Scholar
  29. 27.
    Erikson, Dimensions, p. 72.Google Scholar
  30. 28.
    Ibid., 72-73.Google Scholar
  31. 29.
    Ibid., 76-77.Google Scholar
  32. 30.
    Ibid., 125.Google Scholar
  33. 31.
    Erikson, “The Galilean...,” pp. 332-333.Google Scholar
  34. 32.
    Ibid., 358.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles B. Strozier
  • Daniel Offer

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations