Freud on Broadway: A History of Psychoanalysis and the American Drama

By W. David Sievers | Go to book overview

Preface

The material upon which this book is based was first gathered and presented as a doctoral dissertation at the University of Southern California in 1951. I cannot but express the deepest gratitude to the members of the committee which guided that research, steering it -- I hope successfully -- through treacherous waters between the Scylla of pedantry and the Charybdis of exuberant discipleship. The chairman of the committee, Dr. Milton Dickens, participated with invaluable encouragement and assistance in the "birth trauma" of the study. To Dr. Lee Edward Travis, lay analyst and professor of Psychology and Speech, I shall remain forever indebted for his contributions and influence, which extended far deeper than this book indicates. Professor William C. deMille, whose own contributions to the theatre are a part of the history of the maturing American drama, proved an unfailing source of support with his sagacious wit and keen insight. Dr. James H. Butler's scholarly knowledge of Greek drama and its deeper implications enriched the study, as did the astute criticism of Dr. William B. McCoard.

To the thirty-three American playwrights who responded to my questionnaire I must express special gratitude, for without them such a study would have been purely subjective. The generosity of such authors as Thornton Wilder, Paul Green, Elmer Rice, S. N. Behrman, Clifford Odets, Arthur Miller, Robert Sherwood, George Kelly, Samson Raphaelson, and many others, is appreciatively acknowledged.

I am indebted, too, to Kenneth Macgowan for invaluable information, to George Freedley for making available the scrapbook collections of dramatic criticism in the New York Public Library, and to the Los Angeles Institute for Psychoanalysis for making accessible its

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