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Partridge, S. (2015). John Bowlby's Last Interview—15th February, 1990: Discovering the Videotapes of John Bowlby's Last Interview. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 9(2):135-137.

(2015). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 9(2):135-137

John Bowlby's Last Interview—15th February, 1990: Discovering the Videotapes of John Bowlby's Last Interview

Simon Partridge

I am increasingly amazed by the synchronicity of events—no doubt aided by Google, perhaps the deus ex machina of linking the unusual and the unanticipated, yet intimately interconnected. So when I saw my copy of Attachment, 6(1) of March 2012, with the leading article “Last known interview with John Bowlby” by Leonardo Tondo (Tondo, 2011), I turned to where the transcribed interview begins and the date is clearly given as “January 11th, 1990”. A small bell rang in my foggy memory—something not quite right there, I felt.

I discovered John Bowlby and his attachment theory late, only around 2004. But for me it was life-enhancing, finally helping to open a door out of what I later came to call “British upper-class complex trauma syndrome” (Partridge, 2011). Having discovered that Bowlby's social provenance was not so different from mine, I then wondered if he had said anything definitive about the effects of being sent off to boarding school at an early age (this was a regime to which my sister and I had been submitted from the age of six with traumatic consequences).

This is where Google had entered the picture because at some point I typed in “John Bowlby + boarding schools”. This led me to the Tavistock Archives—which has the typescript of the interview in which Bowlby mentions his strong opposition to early boarding1 —and then Virginia Hunter's book Psychoanalysts Talk (1994, p. 120), in which the interview was published. Here it is clearly dated 15th February 1990, as I had dimly recalled.

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