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Thomson, J. (2005). Willoughby, Roger. Masud Khan: The Myth and the Reality. London: Free Association Books. 2005. Pp. ix + 307. Hbk. £25.00.. J. Anal. Psychol., 50(2):254-257.

(2005). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 50(2):254-257

Willoughby, Roger. Masud Khan: The Myth and the Reality. London: Free Association Books. 2005. Pp. ix + 307. Hbk. £25.00.

Review by:
Jean Thomson

Masud Khan, who became one of the many famous names in psychoanalysis, arrived in England from India/Pakistan in 1946 when he was 22. He had been accepted for training at the Institute of Psycho-Analysis (IPA) at a time when it was beginning its post-war innovative period, and he was one of its influential figures as training analyst and librarian/editor until his mental and physical health deteriorated from about 1975, following divorce from his second wife, Svetlana Beriosova. From then onwards until his death in June 1989 he became not so much famous as notorious and, sadly, this is how he is mostly remembered. In his latter years, he drank heavily, became behaviourally arrogant, lax and aggressive, eventually developed cancer of the larynx, and was finally forced by scandal to resign from the Institute two years before he died, aged 65. His personal history took place amidst the intellectual flowering in psychoanalytic thinking from the end of the Second World War and this subtly constructed biography shows how Masud Khan's (self-)destruction can be imagined to have evolved out of his experiences as an Asian in a British-dominated world.


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