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Kirshner, L. (2013). Donald Winnicott Today (New Library of Psychoanalysis), edited by Jan Abram, London: Routledge, 2013, 477 pp., $44.70. Psychoanal. Psychol., 30(4):689-693.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 30(4):689-693

Donald Winnicott Today (New Library of Psychoanalysis), edited by Jan Abram, London: Routledge, 2013, 477 pp., $44.70

Review by:
Lewis Kirshner, M.D.

This collection of previously published articles (about half of the chapters), newly prepared essays, and archival materials makes a major contribution to the field of Winnicott studies and a rich resource for anyone interested in the legacy of D. W. Winnicott's remarkable work. Although, by this point in the history of psychoanalysis, most analysts have become familiar with his major concepts and papers, we sometimes fail to appreciate the immense range and probing inquiry that characterized Winnicott's theoretical and clinical innovations. His writings span a long period of growth and turmoil in psychoanalysis, during which other figures like Klein, Anna Freud, Bion, Kohut, and Lacan dominated the scene of post-Freudian transition, and his influence took time to consolidate. Moreover, Winnicott's ideas evolved considerably, even as he seemed comfortable maintaining different versions of a theory.

Some commentators like Adam Phillips (cited by Zeljko Loparic in her chapter) and Arnold Modell (1985) point to Winnicott's avoidance of presenting a systematic theory and his taste for paradox as working against his wider influence. He also appeared uncomfortable with political conflict, evident in his avoidance of the famous controversial discussions in London during the Second World War between the Kleinians and more traditional Freudian analysts (“I didn't know anything about it and I kept out of the way entirely;” cited in Chapter 1, “D.W.W on D.W.W,” p.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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