Winnicott (Fontana Modern Masters)

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9780006860945: Winnicott (Fontana Modern Masters)

The biography of Donald Winnicott, a child psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who spent nearly all of his professional life at Paddington Green Children's Hospital, London. His work and writing about children has been increasingly regarded as an influential contribution to psychoanalysis.

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Review:

[Adam Phillips] has added his name with distinction to the growing literature on Winnicott...[His] book presents a cohesive study of the major conceptual paradigms developed by Winnicott in his lifetime. -- Macario Giraldo Psychiatry A charming new book...that sums up the work of the British psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott, the only major therapist I know of whose language would have pleased a poet...[Winnicott's] depiction of the beginning of human life is a kind of wry sublime. The infant's relation to his mother, he says, is one of utter ruthlessness. He uses her in an absolute way, as if this were her destiny. Gradually, by making herself less available to him, the mother "disillusions" the infant. Then, the wind knocked out of him, he is obliged to reconsider his ruthlessness...According to Mr. Phillips, Winnicott believed that this early experience sets a pattern for life, which is "a continual and increasingly sophisticated illusionment--disillusionment--re-illusionment process." Winnicott suggested that the artist's ruthlessness resembled, even repeated, the infant's. In the absence of a mother, the critic has to disillusion and re-illusion the artist. In therapy, the analyst does it for the patient. -- Anatole Broyard New York Times Book Review This short critical study is one of the best introductions to the British pediatrician and psychoanalyst who augmented object-relations theory and gave us the concept of the "good-enough" mother. Boston Globe This beautifully written account explores the development of British psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott's thought. The author, a fellow Briton and a child psychotherapist, is both a sympathetic interpreter and a perceptive critic of Winnicott's ideas from both a therapeutic and a scientific perspective...Phillips praises Winnicott for his major theoretical contributions--transitional phenomena, primary creativity, ruthlessness, the antisocial tendency, and the "true and false self"...By deftly weaving bits of biographical information into the narrative, the author places Winnicott in historical perspective, illuminating his often tactfully disguised quarrels with his predecessors, Freud and Klein, and suggesting how personal preoccupations became theoretical arguments in Winnicott's intuitive and idiosyncratic mind. -- Mary Hayden Science Books and Films A distinguished addition to the growing body of literature on the most important native-born English psychoanalyst. Phillips is especially illuminating on Winnicott's life, drawing, for example, on Winnicott's late poem "The Tree" for evidence of "his mother's depression, and her consequent inability to hold him"...[This book] is written in the spirit of independent thinking that Winnicott himself fostered. Times Literary Supplement

From the Back Cover:

Although he founded no school of his own, the work of D. W. Winnicott (1896–1971) is increasingly being regarded as one of the most influential contributions to psychoanalysis since Freud. In over forty years of clinical practice, and as the first paediatrician in Britain to train as a psychoanalyst, he brought unprecedented skill and intuition to the relatively new discipline of the psychoanalysis of adults and children. His idiosyncratic approach to psychoanalysis was combined with a willingness to make his work available to non-specialist audiences. Like Freud and Lacan, he was a writer, as well as a clinician, with a distinctive style.

Through close readings of his most important papers, Adam Phillips traces Winnicott's growing interest in the mother–infant relationship and the developmental process and, above all, his radical, though often understated, revision of the work of Freud and Melanie Klein. In this sometimes critical introduction to his work, Winnicott takes his place with Klein and Lacan as one of the very few great innovators within the psychoanalytic tradition.

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