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Hopkins, L.B. (2004). How Masud Khan Fell into Psychoanalysis. Am. Imago, 61(4):483-494.

(2004). American Imago, 61(4):483-494

How Masud Khan Fell into Psychoanalysis

Linda B. Hopkins

“I was a complete stranger in London, strange in my way of life, wayward and insufferably arrogant in my style of living.… I was isolated and I flaunted my aloneness as a superior and elected way of being. A great deal of it was bluff and both exhausting and painful for me. It was hellishly annoying for everyone, but—this being England—individuals are never extinguished; they are merely bullied through a persistent and cussed politeness and negation. Fortunately for me, my pride used that as a nutriment.”

—Masud Khan to Robert Stoller, May 20, 1964

On October 2, 1946, Mohammed Masud Raza Khan arrived at Oxford from his native India planning to pursue an advanced degree at Balliol College.1 The degree was to be in either literature or law, according to differing accounts. This was his first trip to the West and, at the age of twenty-two, Masud Khan was alone in a totally new environment:

I arrived at Oxford with thirty-seven suitcases of luggage, and was told that only one suitcase was allowed. So I put all the rest in the hotel opposite, which was fortunately available. I was shown my room. I had grown up in vast mansions, and here was this small attic room, with one small bed, a mirror, table, and no heating. I slept every night fully dressed in my clothes and overcoat; even so, I nearly froze to death.2

Prior to leaving India, Khan had written John Bowlby, Training Secretary of the British Psycho-Analytical Society, to discuss arrangements for a personal analysis. Bowlby wrote back asking Khan to call upon his arrival. Thus it was that, immediately after settling into his humble quarters at Oxford, Khan went to London.

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