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Williams, M.H. (1983). The Long Week-End by W.R. Bion: A Review Article. J. Child Psychother., 9(1):69-79.

(1983). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 9(1):69-79

The Long Week-End by W.R. Bion: A Review Article

Meg Harris Williams

Wilfred Bion's The Long Week-End is a fascinating account of one man's failure to become an individual, to achieve integrity, to make emotional contact with his internal objects. It is remarkable in that it is a well-written, witty, artistic evocation of an apparently unprepossessing subject. It works on the lines of the questions posed in his Memoir of the Future: “Has anyone seen an artist paint a picture ‘about’ or ‘of something ugly which was nevertheless beautiful?” The genre of the work might be described as a hybrid drawn from Goodbye to All That, Lord of the Flies, and 1984. For although its effect depends on the realistic description of a particular social climate, it has a futuristic quality which makes an essential contribution to its emotional impact. In the religion, prudery and patriotism of the late Victorian age, one glimpses Big Brother in the form of a series of “false parents”, of perverse ideals of masculinity and femininity and education. These, despite the good and even loving intentions of several of the main characters, succeed in divorcing the child Wilfred from any genuine emotional contact with his parents (literal and metaphorical), or with his cultural heritage. “The parents, staff, all were caught in a web of undirected menace”; for “Who could recognise danger in piety, ardent patriotism to school and games heroes?” As a child, Wilfred has yet to learn that the prep-school bully, Morgan, is not unique but an archetype; and “there were plenty more where that one came from, the source of the Morgans of this life”.

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