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Bollas, C. (1993). The Freud-Klein Controversies 1941–1945: Edited by Pearl King and Riccardo Steiner. London and New York: Routledge, 1991, 958 pp., $175.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 41:807-815.
(1993). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 41:807-815
The Freud-Klein Controversies 1941–1945: Edited by Pearl King and Riccardo Steiner. London and New York: Routledge, 1991, 958 pp., $175.00.
Review by: Christopher Bollas, Ph.D.
This book faithfully records the eight Extraordinary Business Meetings, and the Series of Scientific Discussions on Controversial Issues held by the British Psycho-Analytical Society during the Second World War. As many members of the Society were on war duty, and as some were unable to make all the meetings, a stenographer was appointed to record the discussions, and the editors have wisely let the participants speak for themselves without editorial expurgation. The book also includes a series of remarkable papers on the essentials of psychoanalytic technique written by each member of the Training Committee (Edward Glover, James Strachey, Marjorie Brierley, Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, Ella Sharpe, and Sylvia Payne) in an attempt to see just how and in what ways they truly differed.
Some time before these discussions began, Strachey wrote to Glover, "I'm very strongly in favour of compromise at all costs," expressing a particularly English value for moderate action and eventempered consideration of ideological issues. But Ernest Jones, who founded the Society in 1919 and had since that time served as its President, had set the Society on a fatefully conflicted route when he encouraged a revolutionary psychoanalytic genius to his island. When Melanie Klein made England her home in 1926, she met up with a remarkable lot of English nonconformists (see Kohon, 1986): Adrian Stephen (Virginia Wolf's brother), Karin Stephen (a pupil of Bertrand Russell), Alix and James Strachey (he the brother of Lytton), John Rickman (Quaker, anthropologist, something of an adventurer), two quite remarkable free-thinking educators (Susan Isaacs and Ella Sharpe), and many other independent thinkers.
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