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Spillius, E.B. (1989). On Kleinian language. Free Associations, 1W(18):90-110.

(1989). Free Associations, 1W(18):90-110

On Kleinian language

Elisabeth Bott Spillius

A Dictionary of Kleinian Thought, by Robert D. Hinshelwood, Free Association Books, 1989, 482 pages, hb £35.00

This is a serious, useful book, the product of an enormous amount of work and thought. Hinshelwood has read and thought intensively about all Klein's writing, virtually all the work of her colleagues and main followers, and much of the work of her critics. As he says, when pressed to support her assertions Klein rarely argued her case from the point of view of theory; she fell back on her outstanding strength as a clinical observer. In keeping with the tradition she established, virtually no Kleinian paper is now published without a substantial amount of clinical material to back up argument, and very few Kleinian authors compare their own theory with that of other schools of thought. Nevertheless Hinshelwood has decided to abandon this tradition and has devoted his considerable intellectual talent to an attempt to draw together the theoretical strands of Kleinian and other thought.

The book is divided into two parts of roughly equal size — A: Main Entries, which are devoted to Klein's most basic concepts and are arranged in roughly chronological order (this part of the book can be regarded as an introductory text) and B: General Entries, arranged alphabetically in usual dictionary fashion. The discussion of each of the more important concepts in both parts is divided into a useful sequence: first there is a brief general ‘Definition’, followed by the chronology of the main papers on the topic; then there is a detailed historical discussion of the central features of the concept, including where necessary developments by Klein's followers; and finally there is a discussion of the views on the concept of members of other schools of thought.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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