Alfred Ernest Jones
was a British neurologist
A neurologist is a physician who specializes in neurology, and is trained to investigate, or diagnose and treat neurological disorders.Neurology is the medical specialty related to the human nervous system. The nervous system encompasses the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. A specialist...
and psychoanalyst, and Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...
’s official biographer. Jones was the first English-speaking practitioner of psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...
and became its leading exponent in the English-speaking world where, as President of both the British Psycho-Analytical Society
The British Psychoanalytical Society was founded by the British psychiatrist Ernest Jones as the London Psychoanalytical Society on October 30, 1913....
and the International Psychoanalytic Association in the 1920s and 1930s, he exercised unmatched influence in the establishment of its organisations, institutions and publications.
Early life and career
Jones was born in Gowerton
The village of Gowerton is situated about 4 miles north west of Swansea city centre, Wales. Gowerton is often known as the gateway to Gower. Gowerton's original name was Ffosfelin...
(formerly Ffosfelin), an industrial village on the outskirts of Swansea
Swansea is a coastal city and county in Wales. Swansea is in the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands...
, the son of a colliery engineer.
He was educated at Swansea Grammar School
The Bishop Gore School is a secondary school in Swansea in south Wales, founded on 14 September 1682 by Hugh Gore , Bishop of Waterford and Lismore...
, Llandovery College
Llandovery College is an independent school in Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, Wales. It was founded and endowed by Thomas Phillips in 1847 to provide a classical and liberal education in which the Welsh language; the study of Welsh literature and history were also to be cultivated.Llandovery...
, Cardiff University
Cardiff University is a leading research university located in the Cathays Park area of Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. It received its Royal charter in 1883 and is a member of the Russell Group of Universities. The university is consistently recognised as providing high quality research-based...
and University College London
University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London...
, where in 1901 he obtained a first-class honours degree in medicine and obstetrics, followed by an MD and membership of the Royal College of Physicians
The Royal College of Physicians of London was founded in 1518 as the College of Physicians by royal charter of King Henry VIII in 1518 - the first medical institution in England to receive a royal charter...
in 1903. He was particularly pleased to receive the University’s gold medal in obstetrics from his distinguished fellow-Welshman, Sir John Williams.
After obtaining his medical degrees Jones specialised in neurology
Neurology is a medical specialty dealing with disorders of the nervous system. Specifically, it deals with the diagnosis and treatment of all categories of disease involving the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems, including their coverings, blood vessels, and all effector tissue,...
and took a number of posts in London Hospitals. It was through his association with the surgeon Wilfred Trotter
Wilfred Batten Lewis Trotter, FRS was a British surgeon, a pioneer in neurosurgery. He was also known for his studies on social psychology, most notably for his concept of the herd instinct, which he first outlined in two published papers in 1908, and later in his famous popular work Instincts of...
that Jones first heard of Freud’s work. Having worked together as surgeons at University College Hospital
University College Hospital is a teaching hospital located in London, United Kingdom. It is part of the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and is closely associated with University College London ....
they had become close friends, with Trotter taking the role of mentor and confidant to his younger colleague. They had in common a wide-ranging interest in philosophy and literature, as well as a growing interest in Continental psychiatric literature and the new forms of clinical therapy it surveyed. By 1905 they were sharing accommodation above Harley Street consulting rooms with Jones’s sister, Elizabeth (later to become Trotter’s wife), installed as housekeeper. Jones, appalled at what he had seen of the institutionalised treatment of the mentally ill, began experimenting with hypnotic techniques in his clinical work.
It was in 1905 in a German psychiatric journal that Jones first encountered Freud’s writings, in the form of the famous Dora case-history. It was thus he formed, as his autobiography records: “the deep impression of there being a man in Vienna who actually listened with attention to every word his patients said to him...a revolutionary difference from the attitude of previous physicians...” (Jones 1959 p159).
Unfortunately for Jones the medical establishment of Edwardian Britain was resolutely antagonistic to Freudian theory and in this context Jones’s early attempts to employ psychoanalytic insights in his clinical and research work proved less than circumspect. In 1906, employed as an inspector of schools for mentally handicapped children, he pursued his research interests in childhood sexuality during interviews with four children with a line of questioning that resulted in him facing trial over allegations of improper conduct. In 1908, having demonstrated the repressed sexual memory underlying the hysterical paralysis of a young girl’s arm, he faced allegations from the girl’s parents and was forced to resign his hospital post.
Jones’s first serious relationship was with Loe Kann, a wealthy Dutch émigré referred to him in 1906 after she had become addicted to morphine during treatment for a serious kidney condition. Their relationship lasted until 1913 and ended with Kann in analysis with Freud and Jones, at Freud's behest, with Sándor Ferenczi
Sándor Ferenczi was a Hungarian psychoanalyst, a key theorist of the psychoanalytic school and a close associate of Sigmund Freud.-Biography:...
A tentative romance with Anna Freud
Anna Freud was the sixth and last child of Sigmund and Martha Freud. Born in Vienna, she followed the path of her father and contributed to the newly born field of psychoanalysis...
did not survive the disapproval of her father. Before her visit to Britain in the autumn of 1914, which Jones chaperoned, Freud advised: "She does not claim to be treated as a woman, being still far away from sexual longings and rather refusing man. There is an outspoken understanding between me and her that she should not consider marriage or the preliminaries before she gets two or three years older". (Letter of 22nd July 1914 (Paskauskas 1993)).
In 1917 Jones married the Welsh composer Morfydd Llwyn Owen
Morfydd Llwyn Owen was a Welsh composer, pianist and mezzo-soprano. Though she lived an abbreviated life, dying shortly before her 27th birthday, Owen was a prolific composer, as well as a member of influential intellectual circles.-Early life and education:Owen was born in Treforest, South...
. She died eighteen months later following complications from surgery for appendicitis.
Following some inspired matchmaking by his Viennese colleagues, in 1919 Jones met and married Katherine Jokl, a Jewish economics graduate from Moravia, who had been at school in Vienna with Freud’s daughters. In what proved to be a long and happy marriage the couple had four children, including the writer Mervyn Jones
Mervyn Jones was a British biographer and novelist, the son of psychoanalyst Ernest Jones.-Literary credits:...
Whilst attending a congress of neurologists in Amsterdam in 1907, Jones met Carl Jung
Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and the founder of Analytical Psychology. Jung is considered the first modern psychiatrist to view the human psyche as "by nature religious" and make it the focus of exploration. Jung is one of the best known researchers in the field of dream analysis and...
from whom he received a first-hand account of the work of Freud and his circle in Vienna. Confirmed in his judgement of the importance of Freud’s work, Jones joined Jung in Zurich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...
to plan the inaugural Psychoanalytical Congress. This was held in 1908 in Salzburg
-Population development:In 1935, the population significantly increased when Salzburg absorbed adjacent municipalities. After World War II, numerous refugees found a new home in the city. New residential space was created for American soldiers of the postwar Occupation, and could be used for...
where Jones met Freud for the first time. Jones then travelled to Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...
for further discussions with Freud and introductions to the members of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society
The Vienna Psychoanalytic Society was formerly known as the Wednesday Psychological Society. They commenced their meetings in Freud’s apartment in 1902...
. Thus began a personal and professional relationship which, to the acknowledged benefit of both, would survive the many dissensions and rivalries which marked the first decades of the psychoanalytic movement, and would last until Freud’s death in 1939.
With his career prospects in Britain in serious difficulty, Jones sought refuge in Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...
in 1908, taking up teaching duties in the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...
(from 1911, as Associate Professor of Psychiatry). He also, in addition to his private psychoanalytic practice, worked as pathologist to the Toronto Asylum and Director of its psychiatric outpatient clinic. Following further meetings with Freud in 1909 at Clark University
Clark University is a private research university and liberal arts college in Worcester, Massachusetts.Founded in 1887, it is the oldest educational institution founded as an all-graduate university. Clark now also educates undergraduates...
, Massachusetts, where Freud gave a series of lectures on psychoanalysis, and in Holland the following year, Jones set about forging strong working relationships with the nascent American psychoanalytic movement, giving some 20 papers or addresses to American professional societies at venues ranging from Boston, to Washington and Chicago. In 1910 he co-founded the American Psychopathological Association and the following year the American Psychoanalytic Association
American Psychoanalytic Association is an association of psychoanalysts in the United States. It was founded in 1911, and forms part of the International Psychoanalytical Association.-External links:**...
, serving as its first Secretary until 1913.
He also found the time for an intensive programme of writing and research, which produced the first of what were to be many significant contributions to psychoanalytic literature, notably monographs on Hamlet and On the Nightmare
. A number of these were published in German in the main psychoanalytic periodicals published in Vienna and thereby served to secure his status in Freud's inner circle
Freud's inner circle or Secret Committee consisted of Freud's most trust psychoanalyts in response to several analyists breaking with his theories including Alfred Adler in 1911, Wilhelm Stekel in 1912 and Carl Jung in 1914....
during the period of the latter's increasing estrangement from Jung. It was in this context that, in 1912, Jones initiated, with Freud's agreement, the formation of a Committee of loyalists charged with safeguarding the theoretical and institutional legacy of the psychoanalytic movement. This development also served the more immediate purpose of isolating Jung and, with Jones in strategic control, eventually manoeuvring him out of the Presidency of the International Psychoanalytic Association, a post he had held since its inception. When Jung's resignation came in 1914, it was only the outbreak of war which prevented Jones taking his place.
On his return to London in 1913 Jones set up in practice as a psychoanalyst, founded the London Psychoanalytic Society and continued to write and lecture on psychoanalytic theory. A collection of his papers appeared as Papers on Psychoanalysis
, the first comprehensive account of psychoanalytic theory and practice to be published in the English language.
By 1919, the year he founded the British Psychoanalytical Society, Jones could report proudly to Freud that psychoanalysis in Britain “stands in the forefront of medical, literary and psychological interest” (letter 27 January 1919 (Paskauskas 1993)). As President of the Society – a post he would hold until 1944 – Jones secured funding for and supervised the establishment in London of a http://www.psychoanalysis.org.uk/clinic.htm/Clinic
offering subsidised fees and an Institute of Psychoanalysis
which provided administrative, publishing and training facilities for the growing network of professional psychoanalysts.
Jones went on to serve two periods as President of the International Psychoanalytic Association from 1920 to1924 and 1932 to 1949. In 1920 he founded the Journal of Psychoanalysis
, serving as its editor until 1939. The following year he established the International Psychoanalytic Library, which published some 50 books under his editorship. Jones soon obtained from Freud rights to the English translation of his work and in 1924 the first two volumes of Freud's Collected Papers
appeared in translations edited by Jones and supervised by Joan Riviere
Joan Hodgson Riviere was a British psychoanalyst, who was both Freud's earliest translator and an influential writer on her own account.-Life and career:...
his former analysand and, at one stage, ardent suitor. After a period in analysis with Freud, Riviere worked with Jones as the translation editor of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis
and then on the a working group Jones set up to plan and deliver James Strachey
James Beaumont Strachey was a British psychoanalyst, and, with his wife Alix, a translator of Sigmund Freud into English...
’s translations for the Standard Edition of Freud’s work.
Largely through Jones’s energetic advocacy, the British Medical Association
The British Medical Association is the professional association and registered trade union for doctors in the United Kingdom. The association does not regulate or certify doctors, a responsibility which lies with the General Medical Council. The association’s headquarters are located in BMA House,...
officially recognised psychoanalysis in 1929. The BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...
subsequently removed him from a list of speakers declared to be dangerous to public morality, and in the 1930s he and his colleagues made a series of radio broadcasts on psychoanalysis.
After Hitler took power in Germany Jones helped many displaced and endangered Jewish analysts to resettle in England and other countries. Following the Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....
of March 1938, Jones flew into Vienna at considerable personal risk, to play a crucial role in negotiating and organising the emigration of Freud and his circle to London.
Later life and death
After the end of the war Jones gradually relinquished his many official posts whilst continuing his psychoanalytic practice, writings and lecturing. The major undertaking of his final years was his monumental account of Freud’s life and work, published to widespread acclaim in three volumes between 1953 and 1957. In this he was ably assisted by his German-speaking wife, who translated much of Freud’s early correspondence and other archive documentation made available by Anna Freud
Anna Freud was the sixth and last child of Sigmund and Martha Freud. Born in Vienna, she followed the path of her father and contributed to the newly born field of psychoanalysis...
. An uncompleted autobiography, Free Associations
, was published posthumously in 1959.
Always proud of his Welsh origins, Jones became a member of the Welsh Nationalist Party, Plaid Cymru
' is a political party in Wales. It advocates the establishment of an independent Welsh state within the European Union. was formed in 1925 and won its first seat in 1966...
. He had a particular love of the Gower Peninsula
Gower or the Gower Peninsula is a peninsula in south Wales, jutting from the coast into the Bristol Channel, and administratively part of the City and County of Swansea. Locally it is known as "Gower"...
, which he had explored extensively in his youth and which, following the purchase of a holiday cottage in Llanmadoc, became a regular holiday retreat for the Jones family. He was instrumental in helping secure its status in 1956, as the first region of the UK to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is an area of countryside considered to have significant landscape value in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, that has been specially designated by the Countryside Agency on behalf of the United Kingdom government; the Countryside Council for Wales on...
Both of Jones’s main leisure pursuits resulted in significant publications. A keen ice skater since his schooldays, Jones published an influential textbook on the subject (Jones 1931b). His passion for chess inspired a psychoanalytical study of the life of American chess genius Paul Morphy.
Jones was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1942, Honorary President of the International Psychoanalytic Association in 1949 and an Honorary Doctor of Science (Wales) at Swansea University
Swansea University is a university located in Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom. Swansea University was chartered as University College of Swansea in 1920, as the fourth college of the University of Wales. In 1996, it changed its name to the University of Wales Swansea following structural changes...
Jones died on 11 February 1958, and was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium
Golders Green Crematorium and Mausoleum was the first crematorium to be opened in London, and one of the oldest crematoria in Britain. The land for the crematorium was purchased in 1900, costing £6,000, and was opened in 1902 by Sir Henry Thompson....
. His ashes were buried in the grave of the oldest of his four children in the churchyard of St Cadoc's Cheriton on the Gower Peninsula.
Books by Jones
Maddox (2006) includes a comprehensive bibliography of Jones's writings.
- 1912. Papers on Psycho-Analysis. London: Balliere Tindall & Cox. Revised and enlarged editions, 1918, 1923, 1938, 1948 (5th edition).
- 1920. Treatment of the Neuroses. London: Balliere Tindall & Cox
- 1923. Essays in Applied Psycho-Analysis. London: International Psycho-Analytical Press. Revised and enlarged edition, 1951, London: Hogarth Press. Reprinted (1974) as Psycho-Myth, Psycho-History. 2 vols. New York: Hillstone.
- 1924 (editor). Social Aspects of Psycho-Analysis: Lectures Delivered under the Auspices of the Sociological Society. London: Williams and Norgate.
- 1928. Psycho-Analysis. London: E. Benn. Reprinted (1949) with an Addendum as What is Psychoanalysis ?. London: Allen & Unwin.
- 1931a. On the Nightmare. London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis.
- 1931b. The Elements of Figure Skating. London: Methuen. Revised and enlarged edition, 1952. London: Allen and Unwin.
- 1949. Hamlet and Oedipus
Hamlet and Oedipus is a study of William Shakespeare's Hamlet in which the titular character's famously inexplicable behaviours are subjected to investigation along psychoanalytic lines....
. London: V. Gollancz.
- 1953. Sigmund Freud: Life and Work. Vol 1: The Young Freud 1856-1900. London: Hogarth Press.
- 1955. Sigmund Freud: Life and Work. Vol 2: The Years of Maturity 1901-1919. London: Hogarth Press.
- 1957. Sigmund Freud: Life and Work. Vol 3: The Last Phase 1919-1939. London: Hogarth Press.
- 1961. Sigmund Freud: Life and Work. An abridgment of the preceding 3 volume work, by Lionel Trilling
Lionel Trilling was an American literary critic, author, and teacher. With wife Diana Trilling, he was a member of the New York Intellectuals and contributor to the Partisan Review. Although he did not establish a school of literary criticism, he is one of the leading U.S...
and Stephen Marcus, with Introduction by Lionel Trilling. New York: Basic Books.
- 1956. Sigmund Freud: Four Centenary Addresses. New York: Basic Books
- 1959. Free Associations: Memories of a Psycho-Analyst. Epilogue by Mervyn Jones. London: Hogarth Press. Reprinted (1990) with an New Introduction by Mervyn Jones
Mervyn Thomas Jones is a British diplomat who was Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands from January 2000 to November 2002. Jones was succeeded by acting Governor Cynthia Astwood on 26 November 2002...
. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.
- Brome, V. (1982). Ernest Jones: Freud’s Alter Ego. London: Caliban Books.
- Davies, T. G. (1979). Ernest Jones: 1879-1958. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.
- Jones, E. (1959). Free Associations: Memories of a Psycho-Analyst. London: Hogarth Press.
- Maddox, B. (2006). Freud’s Wizard: The Enigma of Ernest Jones. London: John Murray.
- Paskauskas, R Andrew (1988). 'Freud's Break with Jung: The Crucial Role of Ernest Jones'. Free Associations 11, 7-34.
- Paskauskas, R. Andrew (Editor). (1993). The Complete Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Ernest Jones, 1908-1939, Introduction by Riccardo Steiner. Cambridge, Mass/London: Belknap Press.