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Yorke, C. (1999). A Celebration of Pearl King's 80th Birthday: London, November 1998. Psychoanal. Hist., 1(2):282-285.

(1999). Psychoanalysis and History, 1(2):282-285

Reports and Announcements

A Celebration of Pearl King's 80th Birthday: London, November 1998

Clifford Yorke

On Saturday 23 November 1998 the British Psycho-Analytical Society held a one-day meeting in honour of Pearl King in a celebration of her 80th birthday. This took the form of a series of papers and discussions; but, if the presentations were formal, there was nothing formal about the atmosphere. This was warm, enthusiastic, and truly celebratory; the occasion was informative, and offered much to look back upon with pride and pleasure. Whatever the topic under discussion, it was Pearl King's contributions and achievements—in terms of psychoanalysis in general and the British Society in particular -of which everyone was aware and that formed an unvarying background to the deliberations of the day.

Pearl King is strongly supportive of the concept of personal history as an indispensable part of psychoanalytic work, but she is always aware, too, of the collective history of which each individual is part. With very few exceptions, psychoanalysts in Britain carry with them the history of the British Society, a history to which Pearl King has richly contributed and of which the archives she did so much to create are an enduring reminder. And it was, I believe, in keeping with this spirit that she hoped the speakers, on this very special occasion, would focus less on her own contributions than on significant aspects of the Society's history. That suggestion was closely respected. But history not only tells us about the past; it points to directions taken which in turn indicate possible directions about to be taken, pointers to a future without which history comes to a stop.

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