1st Edition

Belief and Imagination Explorations in Psychoanalysis

By Ronald Britton Copyright 1998

    Winner of the 2013 Sigourney Award!

    Belief and Imagination brings together Ronald Britton's writing on these subjects over the last 15 years, exploring the concepts from a Kleinian perspective. The book covers:

    • The status of phantasies in an individuals mind - are they facts or possibilities?
    • How the notions of objectivity and subjectivity are interrelated and have their origins in the Oedipal triangle
    • How phantasies which are held to be products of the imagination, can be accounted for in psychoanalytic terms.

    Britton also examines the relationship between psychic reality and fictional writing, and the ways in which belief, imagination and reality are explored in the works of Wordsworth, Rilke, Milton and Blake.

    Acknowledgements. Introduction. Belief and Psychic Reality. Naming and Containing. Oedipus in the Depressive Position. Subjectivity, Objectivity and Triangular Space. The Suspension of Belief and the 'As-if' Syndrome. Before and After the Depressive Position. Complacency in Analysis and Everyday Life. The Analust's Intuition: Selected Fact or Overvalued Idea? Daydream, Phantasy and Fiction. The Other Room and Poetic Space. Wordsworth: The Loss of Presence and the Presence of Loss. Existential Anxiety: Rilke's Duino Elegies. Milton's Destructive Narcissist or Blake's True Self? William Blake and Epistemic Narcissism. Publication Anxiety. References. Index.


    Ronald Britton is a psychoanalyst in private practice in London, and a training and supervising analyst of the British Psychoanalytical Association.

    'Belief and Imagination is a pleasure to read and a reward to study. It confirms the author's status as one of the foremost contributors to modern psychoanalytic theory and practice. It is a clear and insightful book rich in clinical, theoretical, and applied psychoanalytic wisdom, and should be a valuable addition to the library of any psychoanalyst.' - Howard Levine, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Vol. 50, No. 3, 2002

    '[this book] is in my view both traditional and revolutionary... In the tradition of the post Kleinians,  Ronald Britton in Belief and Imagination breaks new ground.' - Marilyn Lawrence, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Vol. 14, No. 1, 2000

    'Many book reviews end with a recommendation to read or to buy the book. In this case a recommendation is not enough. This book is essential reading for anyone wanting to keep psychoanalytic thought alive and well.' - Dr Anton Obholzer