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Grotstein, J. (2011). Bion's Dream: A Reading of the Autobiographies. By Meg Harris Williams. London: Karnac, 2010. 131 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 80(2):504-510.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 80(2):504-510

Bion's Dream: A Reading of the Autobiographies. By Meg Harris Williams. London: Karnac, 2010. 131 pp.

Review by:
James Grotstein

When Bion published his autobiographical works—The Long Week-End (1982), All My Sins Remembered (1985), and his three-part A Memoir of the Future (1975, 1977, 1979)—he initiated a new genre of psychoanalytic writing. It was as if he had crossed a veritable Rubicon of a strongly held analytic canon that the analyst should never reveal his personal life to his patients. Why did he undertake this provocative turn? We might reasonably surmise that he may have felt the desire to present the entirety of his radical new psychology by employing a clinical example consisting of his own emotional truth, the one truth he could really vouch for.

To this end, in Bion's Dream: A Reading of the Autobiographies, Meg Harris Williams cites and paraphrases Bion:

“Anyone can ‘know’ which school, regiment, colleagues, friends I write about. In all but the most superficial sense they would be wrong. I write about ‘me.’” For, in writing about “me,” he recognizes that he is “more likely to approximate to [his] ambition” of formulating “phenomena as close as possible to noumena.” [p. 2; see Bion 1982, p. 8]

If this formulation is correct, then by writing his autobiographies, Bion would seem to have boldly martyred himself in order to put forth publicly his own lived truth, along with how he transformed that truth through dreaming. This act on his part seems to support the notion, as I have suggested (Grotstein 2007), that Bion may have been unconsciously living out the myths of Prometheus as well as Christ.

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