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Steiner, J. (1982). Do I Dare Disturb the Universe? a Memorial to Wilfred R. Bion: Edited by James S. Grotstein. Beverly Hills: Caesura Press. 1982. Pp. 673.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 9:492-492.

(1982). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 9:492-492

Do I Dare Disturb the Universe? a Memorial to Wilfred R. Bion: Edited by James S. Grotstein. Beverly Hills: Caesura Press. 1982. Pp. 673.

Review by:
John Steiner

This large and imposing collection of papers was first intended as a Festschrift for Bion's 80th birthday but took so long to produce that it was unfinished when he died in November 1979 at the age of 82. Now, two years later, it appears as a memorial with contributions from 31 authors. The quality of the chapters varies enormously, in part because the editor seems to have invited contributions rather indiscriminately, and in part because he then exercised very little editorial control over either content or style. While it certainly contains some very good things, those who respect and admire Bion's work will find it leaves them with mixed feelings.

Among the first-rate papers, I would put Rosenfeld's 'On the psychopathology and treatment of psychotic patients'; Joseph's 'Towards the experiencing of psychic pain'; Segal's 'The function of dreams'; Tustin's 'On psychological birth and psychological catastrophe'; Thorner's 'Notes on the desire for knowledge'; Klein's 'Autistic phenomena in neurotic patients'; and Wisdom's 'Metapsychology after forty years'.

Also of interest, but clearly intended as minor contributions, are Isaacs-Elmhurst, 'Bion and babies'; Jaques, 'The aims of psychoanalytic treatment'; Meltzer, 'A note on Bion's concept, a reversal of alpha function'; Gosling, 'A study of very small groups'; M. Harris, 'The individual in the group'; and Menzies-Lyth, 'Bion's contribution to thinking about groups'. The important papers by Money-Kyrle on 'Cognitive development' and by Langs on 'The communicative properties of the bipersonal field' are well known because they have already been published elsewhere, and the same is true for many of the best articles in the book.

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