Three Papers of W.R. Bion features two previously unpublished papers and one which has only previously appeared in The Complete Works of W. R. Bion (2014). Characterised by Bion’s directness, clarity and intensity, together they illustrate important aspects of his later thinking. They also show Bion using his key ideas in fresh contexts which will allow readers already familiar with his theoretical and clinical concepts to appreciate them from a new angle.
The first paper, Memory and Desire, clarifies one of Bion’s most important and clinically-relevant ideas: the value of suspending elements of our memory and desire in the service of allowing openness to psychoanalytic intuition. The second, Negative Capability, was reformulated to become the final chapter of his 1970 Attention and Interpretation. The publication here of the original paper allows an interesting and rewarding three-way comparison to be made with the 1970 chapter, and Memory and Desire. The third paper, Break Up, Break Down, Break Through, was presented without notes in 1976 in Los Angeles and the transcript from the recorded talk is published here for the first time. It displays the complex interweaving of the personal and the theoretical and offers a fascinating contribution to the study of what Bion called "the turbulence that obeys no man-made ‘laws of nature’".
Wilfred R. Bion’s writing continues to be read and re-read by an increasing and widening readership; the three papers presented here possess contemporary clinical relevance and each have a bearing on the underlying philosophical basis of psychoanalytical work and thinking.
"Edited by Chris Mawson, this new volume, appearing after the publication of the Complete Works of WR Bion, will be in itself a happy surprise for readers. Three Papers of W. R. Bion contains two papers by Bion not before published and one printed in the Complete Works only. Furthermore, Ronald Britton contributes a Foreword with a fine commentary on the papers themselves together with valuable reflections on the psychoanalytic world of Bion studies."-Edna O’Shaughnessy, Training and Supervising Analyst, and Child Analyst, of the British Psychoanalytical Society
"This is an excellent book that presents three papers of Bion, two of which have not been yet published. The third one appears only in the The Complete Works of W.R. Bion. Memory and Desire is a transcription of Bion’s spoken version which he presented to the British Society in 1965. It brings a clear description of his thinking behind the proposal that ‘in order to see clearly one really needs to be pretty well blind’. The second paper Negative capability gives us access to his thinking on what he sees to be essential to what Keats called the Man of Achievement, the difference between memory and evolution and his thoughts on the directionality of events in analysis. Break Up, Break Down, Break Through (1975) explores the connection between knowing and being. Mawson’s clear editorial comments and Ron Britton’s Foreword adds to the richness of this book. It is an illuminating, rich and powerful exposition by one of the leading thinkers in psychoanalysis."-Catalina Bronstein, Fellow, British Psychoanalytical Society, Editor of Kleinian Theory. A Contemporary Perspective and co-Editor of Attacks on Linking Revisited
"This book, containing three of Bion’s papers, with valuable editorial comments by Chris Mawson, give us a fascinating glimpse of Bion’s evolving ideas on a range of different clinical issues. Ron Britton has written an interesting Foreword, relating Bion’s thinking to scientific and philosophical ideas current at the time. This collection has a freshness about it – elaborating and expanding some of Bion’s more condensed writings (especially ‘Memory and Desire’, and ‘Negative Capability’), conveying to the reader something of Bion’s fertile, creative thinking." -Michael Feldman, Training and Supervising Analyst, and Child Analyst, of the British Psychoanalytical Society
Foreword by Ronald Britton Introduction Chris Mawson Paper I: ‘Memory and Desire’ (1965) EDITOR’S POSTSCRIPT to ‘Memory and Desire’ Paper II: ‘Negative Capability’ (1967) EDITOR’S POSTSCRIPT to ‘Negative Capability’ Paper III: Break Up, Break Down, Break Through (1975) EDITOR’S POSTSCRIPT to ’Break Up, Break Down, Break Through’