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Phillips, A. (1991). Returning the dream: In memoriam Masud Khan. Free Associations, 2(1):99-108.

(1991). Free Associations, 2(1):99-108

Returning the dream: In memoriam Masud Khan

Adam Phillips


No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.

(Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell)

Always, in the patient as in the analyst, there is a repertoire of fantasies of what, it is assumed, the object can do for the subject. Or what, in Winnicott's language, the object, in time, can be used for. But the fantasies — where the subject, of course, is fluent in the work of wishing — are mostly unconscious. And yet object-relations theory provides us with something we could never find in Freud: a veritable catalogue of objects, a series of texts that constitute a dramatis personae of facilitators and saboteurs. Belief in the object — and here we must exclude Klein — tends to displace Freud's doubts about the subject. ‘Childhood love is boundless,’ he writes in his elegy for desire. ‘It demands exclusive possession, it is not content with less than all.

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