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LaFarge, L. (1995). Cogitations. By Wilfred R. Bion. Edited by Francesca Bion. London: Karnac Books, 1992, viii + 406 pp., £25.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:610-614.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:610-614

Cogitations. By Wilfred R. Bion. Edited by Francesca Bion. London: Karnac Books, 1992, viii + 406 pp., £25.

Review by:
Lucy LaFarge

Since the death of W. R. Bion in 1979, several collections of seminars, lectures, and writings dating from the end of his career have been published under the editorship of his widow, Francesca Bion. Although these later works have generally lacked the clarity and striking originality of Bion's earlier work, they add a clinical dimension to our understanding of this highly gifted object relations theorist, who often wrote in an abstract and condensed manner. Cogitations is intended to be the last of these posthumous volumes. It consists of Bion's writer's diary from 1958-1978, with most entries dating from the period 1959 through the early 1960s, when Bion was most theoretically productive. Also included are several transcripts of tape recordings of Bion's thoughts from his last years. Few of these pieces stand alone, but many of them are interesting and evocative. They provide the reader who is already familiar with Bion with a sense of the development of his thought and numerous original ideas and explanations that ultimately were omitted from his published papers.

The questions within psychoanalysis that would interest Bion were laid out in his earliest work, on the psychology of groups, and remained quite consistent throughout his analytic career. From the start, he emphasizes the importance of a specific perspective, or frame, in illuminating the events that are observed. The group highlights psychic phenomena that occur at all times in individuals, but are most observable when numbers of people gather together.

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