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After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Source. This will rearrange the results of your search, displaying articles according to their appearance in journals and books. This feature is useful for tracing psychoanalytic concepts in a specific psychoanalytic tradition.

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Reeves, C. (2004). On Being “Intrinsical”: A Winnicott Enigma. Am. Imago, 61(4):427-455.

(2004). American Imago, 61(4):427-455

On Being “Intrinsical”: A Winnicott Enigma

Christopher Reeves


One of the fascinations about Winnicott is his ability to surprise. It is not just that his writings are often paradoxical. They are often so unexpected. In this paper I want to pursue one such unexpected strand. My quest is more personal than textual, my interest the complex individuality of Winnicott rather than the inner coherence and continuity of his thought. In this endeavor I am prompted by a passage of Susanne Langer, a writer whose interests and perspective in the philosophical sphere were closely akin to those of Winnicott the psychologist and clinician. She writes:

The occurrence of a thought is an event in a thinker's personal history, and has as distinct a qualitative character as an adventure, a sigh, or a human contact; it is not a proposition, but an entertainment of one, which necessarily involves vital tensions, feelings, the imminence of other thoughts, and the echoes of past thinking. (1953, 219)

In the autobiographical journal that he began writing near the end of his life Winnicott made the following observation, almost as an aside, in the course of some private musings on death:

so many of my friends and contemporaries died in the first World War, and I have never been free from the feeling that my being alive is a facet of some one thing of which their deaths can be seen as other facets: some huge crystal, a body with integrity and shape intrinsical in it. (qtd. in C.

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