EXISTENCE by Rollo May

EXISTENCE: A New Dimension in Psychiatry and Psychology (pdf) by Rollo May, Ernest Angel, Henri F. Ellenberger

 This ebook  represents the fruition of four years’ labor—most of it, fortunately, a labor of love. The idea of translating these papers, originating with Ernest Angel, was welcomed by Basic Books because of their enthusiasm for bringing out significant new material in the sciences of man. I was glad to accept their invitation to participate as one of the editors since I, too, had long been convinced of the importance of making these works available in English, particularly at this crucial moment in the development of modem psychiatry and psychology.

We asked Dr. Ellenberger to join us as the third editor because of his extensive knowledge of the literature of phenomenological and existential psychiatry and his clinical experience in using these methods in Switzerland. He and Mr. Angel are chiefly responsible for the selection of the particular papers translated. In our introductory chapters, Dr. Ellenberger and I have undertaken the task of making a bridge between these contributions and American psychiatry and psychology, while Mr. Angel has borne the major weight of the translations themselves.

But no sooner had we commenced work than we found ourselves up against grave difficulties. How could one render into English the key terms and concepts of this way of understanding man, beginning with even such a basic word as Dasein? We were indeed facing what has often been called the genius and demonic character of the German language.

I vividly remember a comment made by Dr. Paul Tillich, who is himself a representative of one wing of the existential movement and who likewise possesses a penetrating understanding of psychoanalysis. Driving together to East Hampton one day during the early stages of this work, Tillich and I stopped at a “diner.” Over our coffee I handed him a list of some of the key terms and their proposed equivalents in English.

Suddenly he exclaimed, “Ach, it is impossible!” I hoped he meant the coffee and not the definitions! But it soon became clear he meant the latter. “It is impossible,” he continued. “But you must do it anyway.”

The present volume is proof that we kept to the task, and we trust that by and large we have achieved success in rendering into clear English the profound and oftentimes exceedingly subtle meanings in these papers. The most severe obstacles arose in “The Case of Ellen West.” This remarkable paper by Binswanger was generally considered to be untranslatable into English, chiefly because the key terms in the analysis of the patient are built up—as is so often the case in German philosophical and scientific writing-out of a complex interrelation of concepts.

We had reluctantly decided in our original plans to omit it from this volume. Then we heard that Dr. Werner Mendel and Dr. Joseph Lyons in Topeka had had the courage to undertake a translation of Ellen West. We warmly appreciated their willingness to offer us the results of their labors. So great are the difficulties inherent in this paper that their draft was revised by

Professor Bayard Morgan and reworked in part by Dr. Ellenberger and, in connection with special problems, by Dr. Straus. Finally, Mr. Angel and I worked through the ultimate version in detail. Despite the travails involved in such combined efforts, we are indeed happy—for reasons the reader of this case will quickly see—that the paper is available in English. Due to pressures of time. Dr. Binswanger was unable to study this translation in detail, and hence it is not termed authorized although it is published with the author’s permission. All of the other translations are authorized versions.

On completing such a labor, the moods of editors and translators are of course complex. But, for myself, may I say that time and again in working on these papers during these years I have had the experience of discovery that Keats so beautifully describes:

“Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken . .”

This indeed is its own reward. But we are also deeply gratified if we have made it possible for our colleagues and others to have this same experience of discovery.

EXISTENCE by Rollo May ebook


  •  The Origins and Significance of the Existential Movement in Psychology by Rollo May
  •  Contributions of Existential Psychotherapy by Rollo May
  • A Clinical Introduction to Psychiatric Phenomenology and Existential Analysis by Henri F. Ellenberger


  •  Findings in a Case of Schizophrenic Depression by Eugene Minkowski, trans. by Barbara Bliss 
  • Aesthesiology and Hallucinations by Erwin W. Straus, trans. by Erwin W. Straus and Bayard Morgan
  • The World of the Compulsive by V. E. von Gebsattel, trans. by Sylvia Koppel and Ernest Angel


  • The Existential Analysis School of Thought by Ludwig Binswanger, trans. by Ernest Angel
  • Insanity as Life-Historical Phenomenon and as Mental Disease: the Case of Use by Ludwig Binswanger, trans. by Ernest Angel
  • The Case of Ellen West by Ludwig Binswanger, trans. by Werner M. Mendel and Joseph Lyons
  • The Attempted Murder of a Prostitute by Roland Kuhn, trans. by Ernest Angel
  • Biographical Notes of Translated
  • Contributors
  • Index

Language: English
Format: PDF
Pages: 456
Size: 35.4 Mb
EXISTENCE: A New Dimension in Psychiatry  and Psychology   by Rollo May, Ernest Angel, Henri F. Ellenberger