Klara Hitler's Son: Reading the Langer Report on Hitler's Mind
Spark, Clare L.
Department of Sociology, University of Kansas
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This essay is a spin-off from my book on psychological warfare in the Melville Revival, 1919-1999. Unbelievably, leading scholars in the twentieth-century "revival" of Herman Melville (1819-1891) read their subject as a bad Jew; bad because, like the abolitionists and other radical puritans, he thought Judeo-Christian morality ought to be lived out in everyday lift and could not be compromised in the interests of "expediency." Such rigorous and consistent moralism was viewed as wild-eyed zealotry or monomania by the pragmatic moderate men who intervened between readers and Melville's texts, annexing Melville's art and the lessons of his bumpy career to their own corporatist agendas. The same scholars (Dr. HenryA. Murray, Charles Olson, and Jay Leyda) who frowned upon Melville/ Ahab the Hebraic moralist were simultaneously involved in the creation of propaganda during the Roosevelt administration. Neither antisemitism in the Melville Revival nor Murray's Jungian reading of Hitler's soma and psyche can be understood without reference to theTory response to Hebraic radical puritanism as it surfaced in the English Civil War. With Herman Melville and Captain Ahab on his mind, Dr.Henry A. Murray and his Harvard colleague Walter Langer suggested to FDR that Nazi evil was drawn from Jewish blood, applying racial theory to the long-distance psychoanalysis of Hitler. Of course, Murray and Langer did not profess antisemitism; quite the contrary. Such a deficit in self-understanding was the inevitable outcome of conservative Enlightenment.
Social Thought and Research, Volume 22, Number 1&2 (1999), pp. 113-137 http://dx.doi.org/10.17161/STR.1808.5160
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