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Rycroft, J. (2001). Introduction: Glimpses of a Life. Brit. J. Psychother., 18(2):239-243.

(2001). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 18(2):239-243

The Legacy of Charles Rycroft

Introduction: Glimpses of a Life

Jenny Rycroft

I feel very privileged to be introducing this conference. When I saw the list of speakers I wondered what I could add to the day. Then I reflected that, having shared 20 years of his life and listened to many stories of the years when I was not around, it might be of interest if I were to set the scene with an impression of Charles, the man I knew, and describe the rather surprising background from which he emerged to become a psychoanalyst and writer of the post-Freudian era - one who, according to his obituary in The New York Times, ‘offered a generation of therapists new ways to interpret not just dreams but Freud's entire legacy’.

Before I begin my story I want to say how very sad I was to hear that Anthony Storr had died in March. He was one of Charles's closest friends and their conversations ranged widely - a very free exchange between two independent thinkers in the traditions of Jung and Freud respectively. So, as well as a sense of personal loss at Anthony's death, I feel a keen disappointment that he is not speaking here today. Some of us who heard him speak at the memorial meeting the family held at Burgh House in Hampstead, in November 1998, remember the depth and clarity of the account he gave then of Charles's ideas and, especially, his writing, ranging from his classic 1960 paper ‘Beyond the reality principle’ to his ‘hilarious’ account of Communism at Cambridge in the 1930s. Anthony said:

I enormously admired him as a writer.

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