Erich Fromm

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Fromm, Erich

(ĕr`ĭkh frōm, frŏm), 1900–1980, psychoanalyst and author, b. Frankfurt, Germany, Ph.D. Univ. of Heidelberg, 1922. From 1929 to 1932 he lectured at the Psychoanalytic Institute, Frankfurt, and at the Univ. of Frankfurt. He came to the United States in 1934, where he practiced psychoanalysis and lectured at various institutions, including the International Institute for Social Research (1934–39), Columbia Univ. (1940–41), the American Institute for Psychoanalysis (1941–42), and Yale (1949–50). He served on the faculty of Bennington College (1941–50). He went on to teach at the National Univ. of Mexico (1951), at Michigan State Univ. (1957), and at New York Univ. (1961). Breaking from the Freudian psychoanalytic tradition which focused largely on unconscious motivations, Fromm held that humans are products of the cultures in which they are bred. In modern, industrial societies, he maintained, they have become estranged from themselves. These feelings of isolation resulted in an unconscious desire for unity with others. Fromm's works include Escape from Freedom (1941), The Sane Society (1955), The Art of Loving (1956), Sigmund Freud's Mission (1958), May Man Prevail? (1973), and To Have or to Be (1976).


See biographical studies by D. Hausdorff (1972), G. Knapp (1989), and L. J. Friedman (2013); R. I. Evans, Dialogue with Erich Fromm (1966, repr. 1981).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fromm, Erich


Born Mar. 23, 1900, in Frankfurt am Main; died Mar. 18, 1980, in Muralto, Switzerland. German-American psychologist and sociologist of the neo-Freudian school.

From 1929 to 1932, Fromm was on the staff of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt am Main. In 1933 he emigrated to the United States; he was for many years a practicing psychoanalyst and, from 1951, a university professor in Mexico City.

Deviating from the biologism of S. Freud, Fromm came close to anthropological psychologism and existentialism. He sought to explain how the personality—which he regarded as an integrated whole—is formed through the interrelation of psychological and social factors. Social character, according to Fromm, is an expression of the link between the individual psyche and the structure of society, and fear is an important factor in its formation. Traits that are incompatible with the prevailing social norms are suppressed by fear and forced into the unconscious. Different types of social character coincide with the various historical types of self-alienated man—accumulative, exploitative, “receptive,” or passive, and “market” man.

Fromm also established a connection between alienation and various forms of social pathology in contemporary bourgeois society. While criticizing capitalism as a sick and irrational society, Fromm adopted a position of supraclass humanism, as reflected in his Utopian vision of a harmonious “sane society” to be created with the aid of “social therapy.”


Escape From Freedom. New York, 1941.
Psychoanalysis and Religion. New York, 1950.
Marx’s Concept of Man. New York, 1961.
The Dogma of Christ and Other Essays on Religion, Psychology, and Culture. London, 1963.
The Art of Loving. London, 1964.
The Sane Society, 2nd ed. New York, 1965.
Man for Himself. London, 1967.
The Revolution of Hope: Towards a Humanized Technology. New York, 1968.
Social Character in a Mexican Village: A Sociopsychoanalytic Study. New York, 1970. (With M. Maccoby.)
The Crisis of Psychoanalysis. Harmondsworth, England, 1973.


Dobren’kov, V. I. Neofreidizm v poiskakh “istiny” (illiuzii i zabluzhdeniia Erikha Fromma). Moscow, 1974.
Evans, R. J. Dialogue With E. Fromm. New York, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Fromm, Erich

(1900–80) psychoanalyst, social philosopher; born in Frankfurt, Germany. He studied at the Universities of Frankfurt, Heidelberg, and Munich, and at the Berlin Institute of Psychoanalysis. After emigrating to the United States in 1933, he established a private practice in psychiatry and taught at New York University and the National University of Mexico. His major writings explored those needs that he identified as uniquely human— relatedness, transcendence, rootedness, identity, and a frame of orientation. His works, several of which reached wide audiences, include Escape from Freedom (1941), Man For Himself (1947), The Heart of Man (1964), and The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (1973).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.