The British Independent Group of psychoanalysts over the years has claimed a number of remarkable and original thinkers, but none more articulate and clarifying of our work than Christopher Bollas. The Shadow of the Object. In this scholarly paper, Bollas reviews Freud and others on the topic of remembering and repeating. Bollas takes the position that character is essentially a form of memory. He develops the thesis that each individual has a particular character that is an Idiom through which the person both remembers and expresses memories from early childhood. He argues that the classical theory of character is not sufficient to explain how each of us differs and how our characters constitute a unique type of language through which we express daily the history of our self.

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In doing so, he offers radical new visions of the scope of psychoanalysis and expands our understanding of the creativity of the unconscious mind and the aesthetics of human character.

During our formative years, we are continually "impressed" by the object world. Most of this experience will never be consciously thought, and but it resides within us as assumed knowledge.

Bollas has termed this "the unthought known", a phrase that has ramified through many realms of human exploration, including the worlds of letters, psychology and the arts. Aspects of the unthought known --the primary repressed unconscious --will emerge during a psychoanalysis, as a mood, the aesthetic of a dream, or in our relation to the self as other. Within the unique analytic relationship, it becomes possible, at least in part, to think the unthought -- an experience that has enormous transformative potential.

Published here with a new preface by Christopher Bollas, The Shadow of the Object remains a classic of the psychoanalytic literature, written by a truly original thinker. Christopher Bollas. Preface to the Anniversary Edition. The shadow of the object.

The transformational object. The spirit of the object as the hand of fate. The self as object. Loving hate. Normotic illness. Extractive introjection. The psychoanalyst and the hysteric. Self analysis and the countertransference. The trisexual. Moods and the conservative process. Ordinary regression to dependence. The liar.


The Shadow of the Object : Psychoanalysis of the Unthought Known

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Book Review of Bollas’ The Shadow of the Object


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