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Robinson, H.T. (2000). Reading Melanie Klein: John Phillips and Lyndsey Stonebridge. London and New York: Routledge. 1998. Pp. 254.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(3):618-620.

(2000). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 81(3):618-620

Reading Melanie Klein: John Phillips and Lyndsey Stonebridge. London and New York: Routledge. 1998. Pp. 254.

Review by:
Helen Taylor Robinson

The texts of psychoanalytic theorists themselves, even as they embody the theory and praxis of psychoanalysis, are also sets of words signifying meanings within the domain of other theoretical disciplines.

Psychoanalytic texts as ‘writings to be read’ are the concern of many distinguished authors and academics from the humanities. In this new collection, Reading Melanie Klein, Phillips and Stonebridge intelligently edit and connect the responses of such academics. The two authors/editors provide a solid introduction to the book as a whole. Each chapter is introduced by a summary of its author's approach, which is correlated within the overall framework of the book to give integration and shape to this collection of ‘readings’ of Klein. To the credit of Phillips and Stonebridge, this integrates the work into a book rather than just a group of distinct readings.

Jacqueline Rose's pivotal Chapter 7 (‘Negativity in the work of Melanie Klein’) gives a definition of this term ‘reading’: ‘a strategy of reading which heads past the most immediate or professionally received meanings of the writer, straight for the points of creative tension in her or his works’ (p. 128). This is clearly acknowledged as not unfamiliar to psychoanalysis.

This kind or ‘strategy’ of reading may be contextualised by the writing and thinking of Levi-Strauss, Barthes, Lacan and Derrida and their complex inter-relations and influences upon the place and position of text and meaning. The latter two strike out from significant ideas within psychoanalysis that are reference points for collections of writings called ‘readings’.

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