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Black, D. (1994). Bridges: Metaphor for Psychic Processes: By Rosemary Gordon. London: Karnac Books. 1993. Pp. 432 + xvi.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:1291-1292.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:1291-1292

Bridges: Metaphor for Psychic Processes: By Rosemary Gordon. London: Karnac Books. 1993. Pp. 432 + xvi.

Review by:
David Black

Rosemary Gordon is a Jungian, a senior member of the Society of Analytical Psychology in London, and one of those who have pioneered the building of bridges between the Jungian tradition and the Freudian. Like others in her Society, she has found the thought of Klein and Winnicott more compatible with Jung's ideas than Freud's own manner of thinking.

This book is a collection of her main papers since 1962, adapted in several cases to relate to this central metaphor of bridging. It is one of the characteristics of the Jungian tradition that an image of this sort can be seen as fundamental: the author describes 'the bridge' as 'an archetypal image, carrying for us much affect and meaning; it is thus part of our natural psychic equipment and endowment' (p. 8). It is consonant with this emphasis that when she lists the 'good' intrinsic qualities of the human psyche (pp. 65-6), the first item on the list is 'creativeness and imagination'. This comes before the need to discover an authentic self, or to feel concern for loved others.

To put the imagination in this central place invites questions, such as how, without reference to something else, does one decide that a given image or story is more fundamental than another?; but in the hands of someone as learned and serious as Rosemary Gordon it pays a big dividend in terms of richness of reference and the willingness to look at a very wide range of issues. She finds bridges doing their work between different parts of the psyche (archetypes are 'bridges between the big self and the ego'), between people (one of the best papers is entitled 'Penis as Bridge'), between analytic traditions, and between analysis and many other disciplines, notably anthropology and moral philosophy.

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