Wilfred Bion and Literary Criticism

  • ISBN 9780367439460
  • Author: Wynter-Vincent, Naomi
  • Publ Date: 2021-12-09
  • Edition:
  • Binding: Hardback

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Wilfred Bion and Literary Criticism introduces the work of the British psychoanalyst, Wilfred Bion (1897-1979), and the immense potential of his ideas for thinking about literature, creative process, and creative writing.

There is now renewed interest in Bion's work following the publication of his Complete Works but the complexities of his theory and his distinctive style can be forbidding. Less well-known than Freud or Lacan, the work of Wilfred Bion nevertheless offers new insights for psychoanalytic literary criticism and creative writing. For newer readers of his work, this book offers an engaging introduction to several of Bion's key ideas, including his theory of thinking (the 'thought without a thinker'), the container/contained relationship, alpha-function; alpha-elements, beta-elements, and bizarre objects; K and -K; the Grid, O, and the caesura. It also offers a way in to Bion's astonishing and challenging experimental work, A Memoir of the Future, and explores the impact of his devastating personal experiences as an officer during the First World War. Each chapter of Wilfred Bion and Literary Criticism draws on one or more specific aspects of Bion's theory in relation to creative texts by Sigmund Freud, Stevie Smith, B.S. Johnson, Mary Butts, Jean Rhys, Nicholas Royle, J.G. Ballard, and Wilfred Bion himself.

The first full-length study to explore the potential of Bion's ideas for literary criticism, Wilfred Bion and Literary Criticism introduces his complex and extensive work for a new audience in an accessible and engaging way, and will be of great interest to scholars of creative writing, literary criticism, and psychoanalysis.
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