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Kuhns, R. (1992). Loss and Creativity: Notes on Winnicott and Nineteenth-Century American Poets. Psychoanal. Rev., 79(2):197-208.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Review, 79(2):197-208

Loss and Creativity: Notes on Winnicott and Nineteenth-Century American Poets

Richard Kuhns, Ph.D.

The prologues are over. It is a question, now,

Of final belief. So say that final belief

Must be in a fiction. It is time to choose.

—Wallace Stevens

Professionals who address persons outside their field must speak so that the problems they discuss can be readily apprehended by the audience they address. D. W. Winnicott was particularly gifted in this endeavor and was able to make a significant contribution to the thinking of the nonprofessional on matters of child-rearing and the conditions required to generate a healthy person in a healthy environment.

It was not only Winnicott's personality and temperament that enabled him to address the common listener as well as the trained psychoanalyst and the sophisticated philosophical thinker. It was also due to a happy condition of British education that placed him, from the beginning of his career, in a classroom-like atmosphere. For there had been in England from the period beginning with the Industrial Revolution a passion for teaching and education that flourished outside academic walls. I refer to workingmen's lecture series, the “Wednesday Nighters,” and the sort of teaching that Winnicott (1989) describes in notes he made about his own life:

Fortunately I've always had to give lectures — like everybody here, I think — but I've found the most valuable thing has been giving lectures to people who aren't analysts. Susan Isaacs in 1936 gave me the job of giving ten lectures a year at the Institute of Education…. [But] having to lecture to social workers and teachers and parents and all sorts of people is tremendously important, (pp.

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