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Oppenheim, L. (2001). A Preoccupation With Object-Representation: The Beckett–Bion Case Revisited. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 82(4):767-784.

(2001). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 82(4):767-784

A Preoccupation With Object-Representation: The Beckett–Bion Case Revisited

Lois Oppenheim

Taking issue with the notion of a profound reciprocal influence of Samuel Beckett and his analyst, Wilfred Bion, based on supposition all too often passed as fact, the author refutes the idea that Bion's ‘Attacks on linking’ was based on his later-to-be famous patient. Choosing, rather, to apply Bion's concepts of transformation and assaults on verbal thought to Beckett's remarkably visual and highly dissociative writing, she finds in the analyst's work a means of exploring a startling preoccupation with object representation and an anxiety of remembrance constant throughout the writer's texts. Is this fixation attributable only to aesthetic strategy or does it say something about the writer's own inner representational world? Relating the writer's obsession to Bion's concepts and, moreover, its dissociative expression to the decathexis and blank mourning explored by Green, she uncovers within it a reflection of the kind of evocative memory disturbance identified with primary dyadic dysfunction. This application of Bion and Green to Beckett veers distinctly less towards psychohistory, however, than to how sublimation has rendered this object-relational failure an aesthetic success.

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