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Anderson, J.W. (1996). Speak of Me As I Am: The Life and Work of Masud Khan: Judy Cooper. London: Karnac Books, 1993, xx + 140 pp., $26.95.. Psychoanal. Psychol., 13(2):289-292.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 13(2):289-292

Speak of Me As I Am: The Life and Work of Masud Khan: Judy Cooper. London: Karnac Books, 1993, xx + 140 pp., $26.95.

Review by:
James William Anderson, Ph.D.

Controversy surrounding M. Masud R. Khan the person usually crowds out serious consideration of his psychoanalytic writings. In Speak of Me as I Am, Judy Cooper, a psychotherapist in London, convincingly demonstrates that, despite his life, Khan's work has enduring value and would amply reward anyone who studies it. She has a difficult task, to give the reader a familiarity—and even sympathy—with Khan while not minimizing his always off-putting and frequently repulsive behavior. One would think that the task would be all the more daunting because she herself had an analysis with Khan from 1967 to 1973. Far from providing an idealized portrait of her former analyst, however, Cooper openly discusses Khan's shortcomings. The book is so successful in part because her years of closeness with him enable her to convey an insider's sense of what Khan was like.

Khan was born in 1924 in an area of present-day Pakistan that was then part of British-ruled India. His familial environment was, if anything, more problematical within an Indian context than it appears to be from a Western viewpoint. His father, a wealthy Muslim landowner, was 78 and his mother was 19 years old when he was born. This young woman was an illiterate dancer and courtesan who had previously given birth to an illegitimate child. Cooper, herself born in India, argues that in Eastern culture “the calibre of any family is judged by the virtue of the women in that family” (p. 6). His mother's background would have been considered “‘disgraceful and shameful.” Cooper suggests that Khan “never got over the anguish at his basic humiliation.”

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