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Eigen, M. (1998). Inner Objects and Catastrophic Change: Sincerity and Other Works: Collected Papers of Donald Meltzer. Edited by Alberto Hahn. London: Karnac Books, 1994, 566 pp., $63.50.Psychotic Metaphysics. By Eric Rhode (foreword by Donald Meltzer). London: The Clunie Press / Karnac Books, 1994, 302 pp., $29.95. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(3):925-932.
(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(3):925-932
Inner Objects and Catastrophic Change: Sincerity and Other Works: Collected Papers of Donald Meltzer. Edited by Alberto Hahn. London: Karnac Books, 1994, 566 pp., $63.50.Psychotic Metaphysics. By Eric Rhode (foreword by Donald Meltzer). London: The Clunie Press / Karnac Books, 1994, 302 pp., $29.95
Review by: Michael Eigen
Donald Meltzer is among the most creative of Kleinians. There is a top tier of Kleinian writers that none can touch (W. R. Bion and Ignacio Matte-Blanco spring to mind), but among those at the next level Meltzer ranks high. His psychoanalytic work spans more than forty years and includes explorations of dream life (1984), perverse and psychotic states (1973), autism (1975), beauty (1988), claustrophobia (1992), aspects of psychoanalytic history (1978), metapsychology (1986), and psychoanalytic process (1967). His evolving work bears Bion's imprint, but he has his own imaginative touch and language.
The book under review is a selection of papers, of variable quality, that have not found their way into Meltzer's other books. The volume may be of greatest interest to old Meltzer readers, since it contains some very early papers and previously unpublished works, as well as more familiar journal articles. Still, there is more than enough here to get new Meltzer readers started.
The earliest paper, published in 1955, blends diverse currents of the time—Klein, Sullivan, Erikson, Kurt Lewin, and Paul Schilder, among them. From the outset, Meltzer's work combined intrasubjective, intersubjective, interpersonal, and cultural factors. In this early paper he treats anxiety as a structural concept, an apparatus available to the ego.
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