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Coltart, N. (1991). Forces of Destiny: Psychoanalysis and Human Idiom, by Christopher Bollas, Free Association Books, 1989, 224 pages, hb £27.00, pb £12.95. Free Associations, 2(1):128-132.

(1991). Free Associations, 2(1):128-132

Forces of Destiny: Psychoanalysis and Human Idiom, by Christopher Bollas, Free Association Books, 1989, 224 pages, hb £27.00, pb £12.95

Review by:
Nina Coltart

One of the most satisfying elements in Bollas's stunning new book is his gift for showing us himself at work. Not only is he an original thinker with a seemingly bottomless reservoir of ideas, but he can also write. He maps, with great precision, the geography of his ideas, and gives us detailed views of himself in that landscape, and makes it both inviting and possible for us to explor it too and come to know it and use it. He tackles subjects which are new in concept (and some unfashionable, or taboo), and brings them into the forefront of one's imagination. He exposes countertransference innovations and difficulties with courage and sensitivity; he criticizes without personalizing and without rancour where criticism has often been stifled for reasons of politics or fear; and he articulates his personal idiom, revealing the inhabiting of his own destiny which is to make use of his experience to develop his views in good, clear language, free of jargon and unencumbered by the venerable shibboleths of useful (and long-petrified) idées reçues which function so often asbarriers to creativity in our work.

Within the confines of a review I can only highlight a few ideas which hold particular appeal to me. The cornerstone of the book is

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