In this intelligent and insightful work, Meg Harris Williams presents a clear and readable introduction to the works of influential psychoanalyst Donald Meltzer. The book covers Meltzer’s ideas on key themes including sexuality, dreams, psychosis, perversion and aesthetics, and his work with both children and adults.
This book focuses especially on Meltzer’s views on the nature of psychoanalysis itself, as an investigative method conducted by the cooperation between two people. His intuitive understanding of dreams is underscored by a scholarly interest in philosophy and linguistics. The book will give readers a window into Meltzer’s clinical seminars and supervisions, as well as a comprehensive overview of his published work, all thoughtfully brought together by someone who worked with Meltzer for many years.
Bringing Meltzer’s ideas into contemporary context, this fresh approach to his work makes his rich and complex theories about our inner world accessible to all. Part of the Routledge Introductions to Contemporary Psychoanalysis series, this book will be of great importance to psychoanalysts, clinicians and scholars familiar with Meltzer’s ideas, as well as those seeking an introduction to his work.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Virginia Ungar Introduction: A picture of the inner world PART 1: The psychoanalytic model of the mind 01. The Kleinian development 02. Dream life and symbol formation 03. An expanded view of identification 04. Aesthetic conflict 05. The Claustrum 06. Sexuality and creativity PART 2: Life in the consulting room 07. The aesthetics of the process 08. Transference and countertransference 09. Technique 10. Beyond the consulting room
Meg Harris Williams is a literary scholar and former analysand of Meltzer. She was formerly a lecturer for the Psychoanalytic Studies MA course at the Tavistock and Portman Trust, London.
"This book is to be welcomed as both timely and necessary. It is presented as an introduction to the work of one of the most important and prolific thinkers in psychoanalysis of recent times. But it takes us on a journey through Donald Meltzer’s work in a really intelligent way, guided by the author and her in-depth knowledge.
The book will allow readers to recreate the atmosphere of the clinical seminars and supervisions shared with Donald Meltzer. His optimism about the human spirit holds all of us who choose to engage in the task of holding ‘the most interesting conversation in the world’ in the consulting room and in the different settings we inhabit."
- Virginia Ungar, M.D., IPA President
"This is an excellently structured and immensely readable book, which is bound to whet the appetite to read Donald Meltzer’s original work.
It is no easy task to introduce an oeuvre of eight books and a large collection of essays, conference talks and clinical papers into a 40,000-word volume, but Meg Harris Williams has succeeded in that elegantly and rigorously. She presents Meltzer’s understanding of his teachers: Freud, Klein, Money Kyrle and Bion, crucially pinpointing the aspects of their theories that had stimulated his original thinking.
Williams skilfully manages to serve two masters: the theoreticians, who will be impressed by her academic style, and the clinicians, who will relish the quoted clinical examples. The latter show her deep appreciation and respect for Meltzer, who maintained that any psychoanalytic theory must be conceived, gestated and born in the consulting room."
- Irene Freeden, Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst, British Psychoanalytic Association
"Meg Harris Williams has managed to offer us more than just an introduction to Meltzer’s oeuvre. This book visits almost each milepost of Meltzer’s evolution as an analytic original thinker. She brings his concepts back in her own clarifying words and illustrates them with generous citations from Meltzer’s writings. It reads like a pas-de-deux between explanation and citation, thus both inspiring the reader’s thoughts as well as stimulating (healthy) curiosity which will lead many to study Meltzer’s books and articles. For the reader already familiar with Meltzer’s writings, it will offer a fresh look into them, and a very enjoyable one.
Williams pays homage to Meltzer who developed, enriched and applied the works of Freud, Klein and Bion. This rather short book is a délicatesse to savor and let ‘dissolve in your mind’."
- Robert Oelsner, M.D., Psychoanalyst FIPA, Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California