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Britton, R. (1998). Taming Wild Thoughts. By W. R. Bion. Edited by Francesca Bion. London: Karnac Books. 1997. Pp. 58. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79:817-819.

(1998). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 79:817-819

Taming Wild Thoughts. By W. R. Bion. Edited by Francesca Bion. London: Karnac Books. 1997. Pp. 58

Review by:
Ronald Britton

In a manner reminiscent of Bion himself I will start this review with the conclusion. Although the two parts of this book may not add much to Bion's already considerable published contribution to the art and science of psychoanalysis, they add to the art of reading Bion. It is, therefore, like his posthumously published notebook Cogitations (1992; London: Karnac), an invaluable aid to understanding his published writing.

Taming Wild Thoughts has two components: the first is a previously unpublished paper ‘The Grid’ read to the British Psycho-Analytical Society on 2 October 1963; the second is a transcript of tape recordings made on 28 and 29 May 1977 in his study in Los Angeles. The latter are similar in style to the notes in the last part of Cogitations made between late 1973 and 1979, some of which are also transcripts of tapes. There is a preface written by Bion's daughter Parthenope, who practises analysis in Italy, and an introduction by Francesca Bion, his widow, who edited the book as she did Cogitations. We can regard the untitled transcripts of 1977 in this book as an addition to Cogitations, which spans February 1958 to April 1979. I find the writing from 1973 onwards both in Cognitations and in this book more discursive and allusive in style; less structured and less rigorous than his earlier notebook entries. The characteristic quotable aphorisms come thick and fast and it is a pleasant, less demanding read, perhaps because of the familiarity of its themes.

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