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Segal, H. (1993). A Dictionary of Kleinian Thought: By R.D. Hinshelwood. London: Free Association Books. 1989. Pp. 503. (Revised edition. 1991.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 74:417-419.

(1993). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 74:417-419

A Dictionary of Kleinian Thought: By R.D. Hinshelwood. London: Free Association Books. 1989. Pp. 503. (Revised edition. 1991.)

Review by:
Hanna Segal

This book is a necessary and timely contribution to psychoanalytic literature. It does for the development of Klein's thought what the Dictionary of Psychoanalysis by Laplanche & Pontalis did for Freud. The book is a compendium of Kleinian concepts; it clarifies terms used by Klein and often gives their origin and history, thus correcting prevalent misunderstandings. It shows how sometimes terms partly change their meaning as the concept is developed. Hinshelwood also tries to maintain links with other psychoanalytical writers, providing links with other theories, and often presenting their criticisms of Klein. He also occasionally makes references to non-psychoanalytical writers in areas of common interest to analysts: historians, psychologists, and philosophers of science and mind.

It is a work of great devotion. The book is dedicated to the memory of the author's father, but it is also clearly a work dedicated to his spiritual parents, Freud and Klein. It is a monumental undertaking, undertaken almost single-handedly, and this accounts for some of its strengths—e.g. the continuing integrating thought of Hinshelwood himself—but also for some of its weaknesses. It is in some ways an idiosyncratic view of Klein—and, in my view at least, certain emphases he puts on some aspects of her work do not correspond to Klein's own—and possibly gives a distorted view. Hinshelwood also seems not to have been very well informed about later Kleinian work, at least at the time of writing the first edition—although the second edition rectifies some of those weaknesses.

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