Christopher Bollas who has been kind enough to give us an interview and Brett Kahr who will be interviewing him. We are grateful to them both. When it comes to introducing Christopher Bollas, I find myself in a difficulty. Probably, like most people here, I have not met him until this afternoon. I know of him only through his writing.
But these days one cannot equate the text with the author. Indeed I don’t know that Dr. Bollas would claim to have written the books that have his name on the title page. Perhaps the most he will say is that he was there when they were written.
Now in his earlier books he tells us that he is a psychoanalyst, a member of the Independent Group in the British Society. But in his last three books Dark is the End of the Tunnel, I Have Heard the Memories Singing, and Interplay, we are told nothing except that Christopher Bollas lives in London and North Dakota. His name remains on the Roster of the British Society – although I am not sure when he last attended a meeting – and I have heard him described as the major theoretial contributor to the Independent Group. But what strikes me as significant about Christopher Bollas is not so much that he is an analyst – which he is – but his dis-identification with the analytic movement. He is not, so he himself puts it, ‘one of those Freudians’. To describe him as a member of the Independent Group is like describing Bion as a Kleinian. It’s not wrong, but it’s not right either, for he is his own man. And nowhere more so than in his most recent allegorical works which represent a new and original literary genre.
I have, however, a link to Dr. Bollas of which he is probably not aware. In his novellas he describes Bion as his hero and his three works of fiction immediately bring to mind that Bion too turned away from the case history as a mode of transmitting psychoanalytic knowledge, preferring the greater authority of fiction in his trilogy ‘A Memoir of the Future’. Now it happens that I was analysed by Bion, and I would like briefly to draw attention to one or two features that their works have in common.