The Trauma of Birth

The Trauma of Birth

The Trauma of Birth
The German edition
Author Otto Rank
Original title Das Trauma der Geburt
Country Germany
Language German
Genre Psychoanalysis
  • 1924 (in German)
  • 1929 (in English)
Media type Print
Pages 224 (Dover edition)
ISBN 0-486-27974-X (Dover edition)

The Trauma of Birth (German: Das Trauma der Geburt) is a 1924 book by Otto Rank, first published in English translation in 1929.[1] It is Rank's most popular book.


  • Summary 1
  • Reception 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
    • Footnotes 4.1
    • Bibliography 4.2


Rank argues that birth is an interruption of blissful uterine life from which people spend the rest of their lives trying to recover.[2]


Sigmund Freud read the manuscript of The Trauma of Birth, and seems initially to have welcomed the book, even writing to Rank to tell him that he would accept its dedication to him. Freud's attitude to the book later changed, and he alternated between praising it and passing severe judgment on it. Several members of a committee secretly established in 1913 to protect Freud reacted more harshly. Both Karl Abraham and Ernest Jones expressed opposition to Rank's work, since they believed that it implicitly contradicted some of Freud's basic ideas. Cultural historian Richard Webster suggests in Why Freud Was Wrong (1995) that they were correct.[3]

The Trauma of Birth is Rank's most popular book.[4]

See also



  1. ^ Lieberman 1993. p. ix-xiv.
  2. ^ Janov 1978. p. 165.
  3. ^ Webster 2005. pp. 390-393.
  4. ^ Gay 1995. p. 772.


  • Gay, Peter (1995). Freud: A Life for Our Time. London: Papermac.  
  • Janov, Arthur (1978). The Anatomy of Mental Illness. London: Sphere Books. 
  • Lieberman, E. James; Rank, Otto (1993). The Trauma of Birth. New York: Dover Publications.  
  • Webster, Richard (2005). Why Freud Was Wrong: Sin, Science and Psychoanalysis. Oxford: The Orwell Press.