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May 11: Harry Slochower at Brooklyn College

May 11, 2013

slochowerHarry Slochower, a Guggenheim scholar who in 1952 was fired from his teaching position at Brooklyn College for pleading the Fifth Amendment before a Senate subcommittee investing Communist activity in education, died at 90 on this date in 1991. A professor of German and comparative literature, Slochower sued about his firing and, four years later, was reinstated with more than $40,000 in back pay by order of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was immediately suspended again, however, for allegedly making false statements under oath at the same Senate hearing. Slochower moved on to become a psychoanalyst and taught at the New School from 1964 until 1989. He was the editor of American Imago, a psychoanalytic journal, from 1964 until his death, and served as president for many years of the Association for Applied Psychoanalysis. Slochower was an expert on Thomas Mann and wrote five books of literary criticism as well as Mythopoesis: Mythic Patterns in the Literary Classics. For a timeline and history of government investigations into Communist teachers from the 1930s to the 1980s, click here.

“The hunger for bread is gradually being met by the development of technology which is liberating the energies of our natural resources. But there is a deeper hunger which is not being satisfied by these achievements. It is the hunger to be oneself, to be creative.” —Harry Slochower, Mythopoesis