Meltzer describes the series of lectures on Freud, Klein and Bion known as The Kleinian Development as both a quest for personal integration into some kind of ‘combined internal psychoanalytic object’, under whose aegis he personally could aspire to work, and as a vademecum for students. They were originally delivered to students at the Institute and at the Tavistock, specifically with the aim of demonstrating the logical development of that line of psychoanalytic practice. Seeking for this logical development reveals ‘an unfolding of method, leading to discovery of new realms of phenomena, generating in turn new models of the mind, which then modify method, etc.’
This book is the first serious attempt at a chronological overview of Bion’s oeuvre in terms of both a philosophical quest and a model of the mind intended for use in the psychoanalytic consulting-room. Meltzer is always conscious of his student audience and tackles the inevitable frustrations entailed in reading Bion by evoking a series of identifications: not only is he a student himself but so also is Bion in his attempt to discover the workings of his own mind without being deflected by its complexities.
The lectures are presented in the form of a personal investigation, conducted with quizzical self-analytic humour that is a match for Bion’s own, as it were from the vertex of a younger sibling, part exasperated, part mystified and part full of admiration. Bion is not an authority, he is a guide to learning to think for oneself, and this book presents his work to enable the reader to do just that.