VASLAV NIJINSKY, one of ballet's most brilliant starts, suffered from an inferiority complex that made him return to the dreams of his childhood, according to a proviously unpublished analysis.
Nijinsky, who enjoyed international fame from 1900 to 1919, developed grandiose expectations while a child prodigy and from early youth showed signs of the schizophrenia that was to destroy his career, the analysis says.
The brief assessment written in 1936 by Alfred Adler is the only known document on Nijinsky from any of the 10 specialists who examined the dancer, including Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.
Adler was one of the most influential psychiatrists of this centruy, but his assessment was not published until the July issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
A doctor who wrote an accompanying article said Adler's analysis went unpublished for years because Nijinsky's wife, Romola, was upset by its conclusion that Nijinsky suffered from an inferiority complex. She died in 1978; Nijinsky in 1950.
According to yadler, Nijinsky's name had "been in the mouths of all persons who worshiped his incomparable art," but the dancer was disappointed because life was not like his childhood dreams.
"For Nijinsky, a great part of what he expected [from audult life] had been missing," Adler wrote. "Sometimes it was a manager, or a critic, a physician, a member of his family, a colleague, or a famous person; sometimes it was lack of money, or the rich people at the stock exchange, who gave him a feeling of not being in the position in which he expected to be."
Nijinksky's problems were compounded by his placement as a child in an aristorcratic shcool, where the other children of higher social rank tried to make him miserable, Adler related.
"Our poor hero, badly prepared for life, burdened from childhood with highly strained expectations, lacking the ordinary course of education, and put automatically in a class of people whose better schooling and background made him feel slighted, tried in vain to save his striving for superiority by despising rational thinking," Adler wrote.
As a result, Nijinsky experienced "spiritual death," refusing social contact and returning to his childhood dreams. He saw himself as "God, inventor, poet, writer, but constantly limited by the trickery and failures of other individuals."
As to whether Nijinsky could recover, he wrote, "I could not answer."
Adler refused to treat Nijinsky, feeling it would take at least two years of constant work, said Heinz L. Ansbacher, a University of Vermont psychiatrist who wrote the accompanying article.
Ansbacher praised Adler's piece, but said Adler omitted writing about the role of Nijinskyhs wife, who Ansbacher said both worshipped and dominated the Russian-born dancer.