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Susan Isaacs (1885–1948) was a psychoanalyst, teacher, and educational psychologist. This entry examines Isaacs’ early years, explores the relationship of her work to that of two comparable thinkers—Melanie Klein and Jean Piaget—and outlines her own philosophy.

Early Years

Born in Turton, Lancashire, United Kingdom, Isaacs’s early schooling was difficult for an intelligent child. At age 6 years, her mother died; at 15 years, her father removed her from school because she had converted to ‘atheistic socialism’. He refused to speak to her for 2 years, and Isaacs continued to self-educate and read voraciously into her early 20s.

At age 21 years, she enrolled in teacher-training (ages 5–7 years) at Manchester University), subsequently transferring to a degree course, and graduating in 1912 with a ‘first’ in Philosophy. A scholarship ...

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