Edward Glover: Unraveling the Legacy of a Pioneering Psychoanalyst

Alexander Tokarev, PhD
Updated on: March 18, 2024
Reviewed by:
Yelnur Shildibekov, PhD
Edward Glover – PSYCULATOR
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Edward Glover stands as a significant figure in the realm of psychoanalysis, known for his extensive contributions to the fields of psychotherapy and criminology. Edward Glover played a pivotal role in establishing the Psychopathic Clinic (later renamed the Portman Clinic in 1937) and the Institute for the Study and Treatment of Delinquency.

Additionally, he was instrumental in the founding of The British Journal of Criminology, where he served as co-editor until his passing. Furthermore, he contributed to the establishment of the British Society of Criminology and held the position of chairman of the medical section within the British Psychological Society at one point in his career.

Fast Facts: Edward Glover

  • Born: January 13, 1888, Waterfoot, Lancashire, UK
  • Died: August 16, 1972, London, UK
  • Nationality: British
  • Notable Works: “The Technique of Psychoanalysis”, “War, Sadism and Pacifism”

Early Life

Born on January 13, 1888, in Waterfoot, Lancashire, Glover was the third son to a highly talented country schoolmaster. Glover endured numerous familial tragedies throughout his life. At the age of four, he lost his second brother at the age of six. Later, his elder brother James, whom he greatly admired, passed away in his thirties.

Moreover, he faced the devastating loss of his first wife and their child during childbirth. In his second marriage, he had a daughter with Down's Syndrome, whom he and his wife lovingly cared for at home for an extended period.

At the age of 16, Glover enrolled in medical school at Glasgow, demonstrating exceptional aptitude and graduating with distinction by the age of 21. During his student years, he was actively involved in socialist politics, even participating in a movement proposing Keir Hardie as the rector of the university.

Subsequently, he embarked on several years of academic medicine, initially in Glasgow under the tutelage of a professor specializing in medicine and pediatrics, and later in pulmonary medicine in London. When the First World War erupted, he assumed the role of medical superintendent at a sanatorium dedicated to the treatment of early chest diseases in Birmingham.


Glover's career in psychoanalysis was characterized by a relentless pursuit of understanding the intricacies of the human psyche. He underwent analysis with prominent figures like Karl Abraham and Ernest Jones, which profoundly influenced his theoretical framework.

Throughout his career, Glover made significant contributions to psychoanalytic theory and technique. His seminal work, "The Technique of Psychoanalysis," remains a cornerstone text for aspiring psychoanalysts, offering invaluable insights into the therapeutic process.

Psychoanalytic Controversies

Glover possessed a confrontational intellectual demeanor, consistently advocating for his principles amidst the multifaceted controversies of the early psychoanalytic era.

He especially championed a "pure Freudianism," firmly adhering to the foundational tenets of Freudian psychoanalysis.

Despite his undeniable influence, Glover was not immune to controversy within the psychoanalytic community. His staunch advocacy for certain theoretical positions, coupled with his combative demeanor, often led to heated debates and conflicts with his colleagues.

One of the most notable controversies surrounding Glover revolved around his critique of Melanie Klein's Object Relations Theory. He vehemently opposed Klein's emphasis on early infantile experiences and the significance attributed to the internalized object, advocating instead for a more orthodox Freudian perspective and approach.

Later, Glover redirected his critical focus from Klein to Jung, as evidenced by his publication "Freud or Jung?" (1956), characterized as a fervently Freudian yet justifiable polemic. In this work, he advocated for a clear conceptual differentiation between art and psychopathology.

Glover articulately expressed his stance, asserting that "Whatever its original unconscious aim, the work of art represents a forward urge of the libido seeking to maintain its hold on the world of objects...not the result of a pathological breakdown."

Despite these controversies, Glover's contributions to psychoanalysis remain highly regarded, shaping the evolution of the field for generations to come. In reflecting on his enduring legacy, Glover once remarked:

"Psychoanalysis is not only a therapy, it is also a psychology."

Edward Glover

Edward Glover's profound insights continue to resonate, serving as a testament to his enduring impact on the field of psychology and beyond.

Edward Glover: Selected Publications

  • War, Sadism and Pacifism: Three Essays, London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1933.
  • War, Sadism and Pacifism. Further essays on group psychology and war, London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1947.
  • Freud or Jung? Publisher: Meridian Books, NY, 1957
  • Psycho-Analysis, Publisher: Roberts Press, 2007, ISBN 1-4067-4733-5