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Casement, P.J. (1995). In Search Of The Real: The Origins And Originality Of D. W. Winnicott: By Dodi Goldman. New York: Aronson, 1993, 243 pp., $30.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:223-227.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:223-227

In Search Of The Real: The Origins And Originality Of D. W. Winnicott: By Dodi Goldman. New York: Aronson, 1993, 243 pp., $30.00.

Review by:
Patrick J. Casement

D. W. Winnicott

As described by the author, this book “explores the way in which the unifying theme of a search for what is real is evident in both Winnicott's life and work” (p. xxi). In addition to an introduction, the book contains five chapters and an epilogue. The first chapter describes something of Winnicott's personality; the second suggests links between his theory and his own childhood; the third explores the cross-fertilization between his two areas of practice, psychoanalysis and pediatrics; the fourth considers some of the possible influences on Winnicott from sources other than psychoanalysis; and the fifth illustrates Winnicott's attempts at making the theory of Freud real to himself, showing parallels and significant differences. Finally, in the epilogue, the author elucidates Winnicott's “The Use of an Object.”

Goldman gives a graphic sense of Winnicott the man, along with some of his idiosyncrasies: “Winnicott was a graceful narcissist and a natural performer” (p. 9), a judgment he goes on to qualify: “Winnicott's own narcissism remained ‘healthy’ in the sense that it did not preclude a capacity to enter imaginatively into other people's lives” (p. 10).

Goldman's strengths include the breadth of his familiarity with Winnicott's extensive writing—he quotes from most of his papers—and his splendid ability to paraphrase. To render the flavor of Goldman's skill at condensation, I cite an example from his introduction: Winnicott, he writes, “reframed words to arrive at innovative concepts, often turning old ones upside-down. [He] turned around the … term ‘depersonalization’ to fashion his concept of ‘personalization.’ ‘Integration’ suggested to him the idea of ‘unintegration.’ ‘Ruthlessness,’ in Winnicott's hands, was contrasted with a ‘stage of ruth.’

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