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Roth, P. (1991). E. Bott Spillius. Melanie Klein Today. Vol. 1, 1988. Mainly Theory. Vol. 2, Mainly Practice. London: Routledge. £35 (Cloth). £14.99 (Paper).. J. Child Psychother., 17(1):107-110.

(1991). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 17(1):107-110


E. Bott Spillius. Melanie Klein Today. Vol. 1, 1988. Mainly Theory. Vol. 2, Mainly Practice. London: Routledge. £35 (Cloth). £14.99 (Paper).

Review by:
Priscilla Roth

This work is a major achievement, both in its content and in its form. The two volumes contain a large number of important papers which ought to be a part of the intellectual background of everyone seriously concerned with psycho-analysis. The books trace the development of several of Mrs. Klein's concepts through the work of some of her followers over the last thirty years; Mrs. Spillius makes it clear that she has specifically focused on those aspects of Mrs. Klein's work which have particularly interested and generated research by Kleinian psychoanalysts in Britain. Within these self-imposed limits, Mrs. Spillius does a masterful job of clarifying Kleinian thinking - demonstrating developments arising from Mrs. Klein's ideas and also suggesting possible future developments and areas of interest.

What distinguishes the book immediately is its form. The papers are presented schematically so that what we have is not in any sense merely a collection of articles but a carefully laid out diagram of the development of Kleinian ideas and theories. The result is a map drawn by an editor utterly familiar with the terrain, its difficulties as well as its beauty spots, who can point out which trails have become main roads which have yet to be developed, at which points divergences have occurred, and where what once looked like a highway seems, for the moment anyway, to have disappeared into the woods.

The work is made up of two volumes: Mainly Theory and Mainly Practice. There is a General Introduction to the entire collection at the beginning of the first volume, and then each section within each volume is preceded by its own Introduction describing what is to come, giving a brief precis of each of the papers and spelling out some of the connections between them.

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