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Levine, H.B. (1998). The Contemporary Kleinians of London. Edited by Roy Schafer. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, 1997, xx + 441 pp., $65.00. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(2):601-603.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(2):601-603

The Contemporary Kleinians of London. Edited by Roy Schafer. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, 1997, xx + 441 pp., $65.00

Review by:
Howard B. Levine

This collection of clinical papers, chosen and annotated by Roy Schafer, is an exemplary introduction for non-Kleinian analysts to the analytic thinking and work of the contemporary Kleinians of London. The first chapter is a brilliant essay by Schafer in which he explicates and critically discusses basic Kleinian concepts such as the paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions, as well as Kleinian views on transference, countertransference, projective identification, containment, and enactment. This is followed by seventeen clinical papers by leading Kleinian authors—Anderson, Brenman, Britton, Feldman, Joseph, O'Shaughnessy, Pick, Riesenberg-Malcolm, Segal, Sodre, Spillius, and Steiner. Each of the chapters, all but two of which have appeared elsewhere, is preceded by a succinct, informative introduction by the editor. The result is a guided immersion in the best and most stimulating of contemporary Kleinian clinical thought.

As might be expected, readers of this collection will find themselves involved in discussions of material from analyses, both child and adult, that illustrate the vicissitudes of envy, splitting, projective identification, primitive pathological narcissism, and the relation between the depressive position and the oedipus complex. Those less familiar with the Kleinians will perhaps be surprised by the extent to which these authors maintain a focus in their writing and clinical work that is experience-near and sensitive to the way that patients may be using the analytic setting and relationship to maintain a precarious state of psychic equilibrium.


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