Susan Isaacs: A Life Freeing the Minds of Children

Author(s) : Philip Graham

Susan Isaacs: A Life Freeing the Minds of Children

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This biography provides a critical account of the life and work of Susan Isaacs (1885-1948). This educationist, a pioneer of child-centred education in Britain was also an early and historically important child psychoanalyst. She is described in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as the greatest influence on British education in the twentieth century. Yet she is virtually unknown in both educational and psychoanalytic circles. When Melanie Klein was threatened with expulsion from the British Psychoanalytic Society she was by far her most powerful advocate and thus played a major role in determining the direction of British psychoanalysis from the 1940s onwards. This book provides an account of her life and contains much intimate material about her childhood, her marriage and her work that was previously unknown. It gives a fascinating insight into many facets of her life and concludes with an appraisal of her impact on the worlds of education and psychoanalysis.

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'This is a fascinating study of the private and public life of a woman who was a child psychologist, experimental educationist, psychoanalyst and agony aunt for mothers. I can thoroughly recommend it to all those concerned with the care, development and education of young children and to those interested in the social history of the inter-war period.'
- Barbara Tizard, Emeritus Professor, Institute of Education, London.

About the Author(s)

Philip Graham is Emeritus Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Institute of Child Health, London, where he was Dean from 1985 to 1990. He was a consultant psychiatrist at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London for many years. He has long-standing interests both in education and in psychological treatments for disturbed children and adolescents.

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