Cover image for Winnicott : life and work
Winnicott : life and work
Rodman, F. Robert (Francis Robert), 1934-
Publication Information:
Cambridge, MA : Perseus Pub., [2003]

Physical Description:
xiv, 461 pages : illustrations, portraits
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RC438.6.W56 R6 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This beautifully written and long-awaited biography is the first full-scale life of the great British psychoanalyst, a major figure both in psychiatry and as a principle influence on the leading child development experts of our time, including Brazelton, Spock, and Stanley Greenspan.A pediatrician turned analyst, D. W. Winnicott rose to prominence in the stormy days when the followers of Anna Freud were battling those of Melanie Klein for the right to be called Freud's true intellectual heirs. This rich, witty, and insightful story probes the autobiographical sources of Winnicott's influential concepts, such as the "holding environment" so crucial to psychotherapy and the "transitional object" known to every parent as the "security blanket." Winnicott's astonishing career involves many of the great figures in psychoanalysis and psychology, not just Klein and Anna Freud but the whole eccentric Bloomsbury scene including the Stracheys, R. D. Laing, and the controversial Pakistani prince and analyst Masud Khan.Readers of Oliver Sacks, Janet Malcolm, and Peter Gay, as well as anyone interested in the great explorers of human nature, will find this book passionately absorbing.

Author Notes

F. Robert Rodman, M.D. , a leading psychoanalyst, is the author of Not Dying ("A superbly intelligent, courageous testament"- San Francisco Examiner ) and Keeping Hope Alive , as well as the editor of a much-admired volume of Winnicott's letters, The Spontaneous Gesture . He lives and practices in Beverly Hills, California.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

To date, only Brett Kahr's brief (if excellent) "biographical portrait" D.W. Winnicott (CH, Feb'97) has treated the life of this great theoretic and clinical innovator of child psychoanalysis. Rodman (a California psychoanalyst) comes to the task as editor of Winnicott's letters (The Spontaneous Gesture, 1987), published after Winnicott's death, with permission of his second wife, Clare. Rodman's direct acquaintance with Winnicott was slight, but his love of this unique man shines through. Rodman had to work his way into Winnicott's life from the outside, seeking out contact with all his friends and colleagues. This position both enlightens and limits his study. Rodman's attention to the life details as they are known, and to the immense contribution from the letters, is superb, so this is a very good reference about life events and relationships. The interpretation, however, lacks the quality of intimacy of one either who knew him well or is fully steeped in English life. Rodman tends to lapse into platitudes and to offer pale views of some of Winnicott's contacts with others. Rodman's effort to be evenhanded may obscure some of the tensions. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, and professionals interested in the history of psychoanalysis and the factual details of Winnicott's life and works. R. H. Balsam Yale University