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Gordon, R. (1984). Khan, Masud R. Hidden Selves. London. Hogarth Press. 1983. Pp. 204. £12.50.. J. Anal. Psychol., 29(4):386-388.

(1984). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 29(4):386-388

Khan, Masud R. Hidden Selves. London. Hogarth Press. 1983. Pp. 204. £12.50.

Review by:
Rosemary Gordon

Hidden Selves, Masud Khan's latest book, a collection of ten papers, comes close, so it seems to me, to the goal he had set himself and which he describes in his preface: that is, to convey through metaphor and anecdote, the essence of discourse between ‘me and the other’, and the occasional sharing of the hidden selves of each with the other. He eschews jargon, which he can afford to do because he is endowed with a poet's sensitivity to language and with a poet's capacity to personalise it, and to invent linguistic forms that can convey paradox—‘unknowing’, ‘uninterpreting’, and so on.

Also the way in which he sketches in for us the many case histories, or, as he prefers to call them, ‘clinical encounters’, made me remember that he comes from that area on the Indian subcontinent, the Punjab, that is renowned for the popularity and the excellence of its story-tellers. Even the titles he gives to many of the papers have aesthetic, literary and not just intellectual merit—‘None can speak his/her folly’, ‘The evil hand’, ‘On lying fallow’—these titles succeed in conveying an actual, a truly human experience; they are not a professional's shorthand.

Khan's capacity to play with language helps him to clarify and to differentiate for us and with us the nuances of some of our interpersonal transactions. Thus his preference to speak about ‘clinical encounters’ rather than ‘case histories’.

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