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Beattie, H.J. (2004). Response to Dr O'Farrell. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(1):197-198.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(1):197-198

Response to Dr O'Farrell Related Papers

Hilary J. Beattie

Dear Sirs,

I am puzzled by Dr O'Farrell's letter, since in my recent article on Fairbairn I made no reference whatever to Fairbairn's own drinking habits, but merely noted that his wife ‘became seriously alcoholic’ (2003, p. 1180), a fact well documented in my sources. Perhaps Dr O'Farrell is thinking of the following statement in Sutherland's biography of Fairbairn:

Although I was not aware of it on the occasions on which I saw him, he began in these last years to take much more alcohol than he had ever done. This was very much out of character, and I wondered if the prospect of death was evoking a primitive identification with his first wife (1989, p. 159).

This, of course, does not constitute evidence of alcoholism, but it is ironic that Dr O'Farrell, by rushing unnecessarily to Fairbairn's defence, has compelled me to draw attention to something that I judged irrelevant to the arguments advanced in my paper.


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