Cover image for Identity's architect : a biography of Erik H. Erikson
Identity's architect : a biography of Erik H. Erikson
Friedman, Lawrence Jacob, 1940-
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, [1999]

Physical Description:
592 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF109.E7 F74 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Identity's Architect is the first comprehensive biography of Erik Erikson, postwar America's most influential psychological thinker, who decisively reshaped our views of human development. Drawing on private materials and extensive interviews, award-winning historian Lawrence J. Friedman illuminates the relationship between Erikson's personal life and his groundbreaking notion of the life cycle and the identity crisis. A decade in the making, this book is indispensable for anyone who hopes to understand fully the life and intellectual legacy of one of the most significant figures of our time.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Friedman, a professor of history at Indiana University and author of Menninger, offers the first authorized biography of Erikson, an engaging portrait of the psychologist's life and its relationship to his exploration of the concept of identity. Born out of wedlock to a Jewish mother, Karla Abrahamsen, in Denmark, Erikson didn't know who his biological father was. From the age of three, when Karla remarried a German Jew, Theodore Homburger, Erikson was raised in his adoptive father's household. As the author convincingly suggests, the circumstances of Erikson's childhood later prompted him to investigate the basis for a constant, enduring identity "because that pursuit... was vital to his personal quest for self-discovery." Friedman's biography is lucidly written, extensively researched and covers both Erikson's rise to celebrity in the 1950s and 1960s and the attacks on his reputation from feminist and New Left critics in the 1970s. However, he might have done more to counterbalance the emphasis on Erikson's personal life with a discussion of the concurrent developments of psychoanalytic theorists such as Spitz and Mahler and of psychologists such as Piaget and Bowlby, who had all taken an interest in the problem of establishing a permanent sense of self in childhood and who undoubtedly contributed to the development of Erikson's own thought. Nevertheless, this book presents a sensitive investigation of the connections between the life and thought of one of the most important psychoanalysts since Freud. Agent, Gerard McCauley. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The first authorized biography; by the author of Menninger. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.