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Segal, H. (1992). Foreword to Clinical Lectures on Klein and Bion. New Library of Psychoanalysis, 14:ix-x.

(1992). New Library of Psychoanalysis, 14:ix-x

Foreword to Clinical Lectures on Klein and Bion Book Information Previous Up Next

Hanna Segal

This book is based on nine papers originally given in a series of public lectures intended to acquaint a large, mixed audience with some developments in psychoanalytic thinking and practice. One could say that they were meant to ‘popularize’ psychoanalysis.

Popularization can be only too easy. One can present ‘Klein and Bion without tears in eight easy lessons’. It can be done by making disturbing discoveries seem anodyne, deep and complex thought appear easily understandable and acceptable when sufficiently watered down.

The editor and authors of the chapters in this collection set them-selves a far more daunting task, that of making ideas understandable without denuding them of any of their meaning. They do not talk down to their audiences; they try to make them participate in some of their experience. And they treat the work of Klein and Bion with respect and integrity: not avoiding what is disturbing and not making superficial or easy what is deep and complex.

In each of the chapters the authors give briefly a theoretical formulation of the concepts they wish to present, and then at much greater length they show in depth and detail how they use them in their work. Any conviction that the audience may derive about the validity of these concepts will not be based on arguments, but on the impact of the actual work presented by the psychoanalyst. Conclusions are left to the listener's or reader's own imagination.

After a comprehensive general introduction, the first chapter introduces the reader to Klein's usage of the concept of unconscious phantasy, central to all her work. The remaining authors then illustrate several of Klein's other central ideas. Cumulatively the six chapters on Klein not only give a vivid picture of the meaning and import of these concepts, but also of the extent to which they have been enriched and

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