Kurt Koffka, an Unwitting Self-Portrait

By Molly Harrower | Go to book overview

foreword

Publication of the correspondence between Kurt Koffka and Molly Harrower, 1928-41, is most gratifying. Very few people knew about these letters until the 1960s, when Molly Harrower showed a sample of them to historically conscious friends. They wisely urged her to make the entire collection available to scholars and also suggested that a wider audience would find this record of an intellectual friendship to be illuminating for the history of ideas. She responded by publishing one detailed discussion between the correspondents on the then new Rorschach technique of personality assessment ( "Koffka's Rorschach Experiment," Journal of Personality Assessment 35, 1971), by participating in symposia on Gestalt psychology, and by giving addresses on Koffka's place in the Gestalt movement. These contributions provided a glimpse of the range of subjects that the letters cover and strengthened the demands for more comprehensive material to be made available.

These published documents allow Koffka and Harrower to speak again on matters of importance to them over a much wider range than before. Their publication coincides with the preparation of various biographies of the cofounders of Gestalt psychology, Max Wertheimer and Wolfgang Köhler. Historians are finding it profitable to reexamine the ideas of the inaugural members of the Gestalt movement.

Koffka was born in Berlin in 1886. His father was an attorney, and the family has been described as financially secure. Before

-vii-

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Kurt Koffka, an Unwitting Self-Portrait
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Koffka as Psychologist 9
  • The Private Koffka 39
  • The Public Koffka 74
  • Koffka as Mentor 99
  • Koffka as Colleague 118
  • The Russian- Uzbekistan Expedition 143
  • Reactions to The Gathering Clouds Of War 165
  • In Oxford The Clinician 185
  • In Oxford The Year Unfolds 206
  • Epilogue. Koffka's Core Values And Beliefs 249
  • Appendix A. Biographical Sketch: Koffka 253
  • Appendix B. Major Dates: Koffka 259
  • Appendix C. Major Dates: Harrower 261
  • Appendix D. a Note on The Koffka Papers 263
  • Appendix E. - Koffka's Letter To Sir Arthur Eddington 276
  • Glossary of Names 307
  • Works Cited 319
  • Index 323
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