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Mason, A.A. (1991). A Dictionary of Kleinian Thought: By R. D. Hinshelwood. London: Free Association Books, 1989, 482 pp., $40.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 39:271-274.
(1991). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 39:271-274
A Dictionary of Kleinian Thought: By R. D. Hinshelwood. London: Free Association Books, 1989, 482 pp., $40.00.
Review by: Albert A. Mason
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word "dictionary" essentially as a book of information or reference in which the subject matter is arranged alphabetically. According to this definition, Hinshelwood's book does what it is supposed to do, for it contains information, is an excellent book of reference, and is arranged alphabetically. This alone may be worth $40.00, but the publishers claim more for it, which is certainly not lived up to.
They say that despite the growing influence of Klein's work, her ideas are not always easy to grasp. This is supposed to be because of how Klein wrote; second, because her ideas refer to very primitive processes, and because these ideas are best communicated by clinical experience, discussion, and supervision. The inference is clear that this book will make these "not-easy-to-grasp" ideas easy or easier to grasp.
Taking their statements one at a time, first, Klein certainly did not write as well as Freud, but who did? Her writing, nevertheless, seems every bit as good as that of most other analysts. Moreover, while Freud did have James Strachey and Joan Riviere to translate for him, Klein also had Riviere; and in addition, Susan Isaacs, a superb and lucid writer; R. E. Money-Kyrle, a beautiful writer; and a host of really superior writers like E. Jaques, H. Segal, B. Joseph, W. R. Bion and D. Meltzer, to name a few, all conveying her ideas for her. In fact, I found that the best and clearest parts of this book were the original passages quoted verbatim from these authors, including Klein herself.
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