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Cooper, P. (2019). Attacks on Linking Revisited: A New Look at Bion's Classic Work, edited by Catalina Bronstein and Edna O'Shaughnessy, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2018, 186pp.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 79(2):243-245.

(2019). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 79(2):243-245

Attacks on Linking Revisited: A New Look at Bion's Classic Work, edited by Catalina Bronstein and Edna O'Shaughnessy, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2018, 186pp.

Review by:
Paul Cooper, Ph.D.

The seminal and ground-breaking 1957 work, “Attacks on Linking,” by the British psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion, is reprinted in this book (pp. 3-24). In his contribution to this collection Antonino Ferro refers to Bion's important piece: “This work is one of the greatest contributions to the expansion of Klein's thought” (p. 161). Despite Bion's detail and precision in his writing, he leaves ample room for the reader's peregrinations and creative thinking to evolve. This is evidenced by the great diversity in terms of areas of interest, application, theoretical development and clinical work represented in this collection that have emerged out of this highly influential article.

In Chapter One, Ron Britton carefully teases out and offers what this reader finds to be extremely useful and original ideas regarding understanding and working with narcissism, while simultaneously criticizing the “Hermeneutics of Suspicion.” Britton draws from the poet William Blake and cautions that: “Analysis, with its inbuilt scepticism, can be seen as dangerous to patients with such beliefs and they will try to avoid analysis even while in it” (p. 30).

In her contribution, in Chapter Two, Clara Nemas provides a detailed and crystal clear review of Bion's connection to Melanie Klein in terms of the latter's discussion of envy. In the spirit of openness and creativity, Nemas leaves this reader with questions to ponder and to reflect on in terms of what will be evoked in our own thinking.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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