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Cooper, S.H. (2014). Creative Readings: Essays on Seminal Analytic Works by Thomas H. Ogden Routledge, New York, 2012, the New Library of Psychoanalysis; 216 pp; $36.95. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(3):587-592.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(3):587-592

Book and Journal Reviews

Creative Readings: Essays on Seminal Analytic Works by Thomas H. Ogden Routledge, New York, 2012, the New Library of Psychoanalysis; 216 pp; $36.95

Review by:
Steven H. Cooper

The breadth of Thomas Ogden's thinking is fully on display in this volume. He renders what he calls creative readings of some of his favorite analytic writers who range in their psychoanalytic orientations and points of focus. We will never know where Fairbairn and Ogden, Isaacs and Ogden, and Winnicott and Ogden begin and leave off in these creative readings. Ogden tells us in a particularly personal and spontaneous moment: “Who cares?” He wants readers to understand what they think about what each of these seminal thinkers has to say. In the chapter on Susan Isaac's revised theory of thinking, for example, Ogden tells us what makes for a timeless paper. He uses Bion's felicitous title phrase, ‘a memoir of the future’, to argue that timeless papers not only say something about current understandings of a topic but also extend our understandings in ways that the author may not entirely grasp at the time of writing.

In the preface, Ogden asks about each author: “Who but?” In these words and the entirety of the book, he expresses his own substantial modesty about his capacity to appreciate and be intellectually playful with the power and uniqueness of the author's assertions. He wants to read creatively rather than to translate these authors. ‘Who but’ is the verbal enactment of a psychoanalyst who understands how much the author in question gave us something new, something fresh that he or she had discovered in the course of analytic work.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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