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Waddell, M. (2003). Conversations at the Frontier of Dreaming Thomas H. Ogden London: Karnac, 2002. 257 pp., £22.50. J. Child Psychother., 29(2):243-251.

(2003). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 29(2):243-251

Review Essay

Conversations at the Frontier of Dreaming Thomas H. Ogden London: Karnac, 2002. 257 pp., £22.50

Review by:
Margot Waddell

Not since Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment have I read a book through at a single sitting — and that was 35 years ago. I did so again when I first came across Conversations at the Frontier of Dreaming earlier this year. Hence, I readily agreed to review the book. Now that it is time to do so, however, I realize how rash an offer that was. For the thrill and immediacy of the experience of Ogden's thinking makes it extraordinarily hard to write about that thinking. One's own prose feels, indeed is, plodding and reductionist when it comes to any kind of commentary on the author's evocative, ebullient and idiosyncratic way of putting things, on his lively capacity to draw almost-thoughts up towards the light, to address such elusive and profound matters as creativity, meaning and unconscious communication.

One of Ogden's central points is the necessity of focussing on process — for him the sound and vitality of the words and what they are doing are of the utmost importance. The reader needs to experience the words him/herself. For this to be possible I have attempted to review in the idiom of the book — allowing Ogden largely to speak for himself, with his own freshness and originality, with his own obvious passion for, and facility with, words and, above all, with his intense desire as author to speak to and engage with his reader — to hold a ‘conversation’.


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