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Cover for The Shadow of the Object

The Shadow of the Object

Psychoanalysis of the Unthought Known

Christopher Bollas


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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (6/14/1989)
Paperback (7/24/2017)
Hardcover (7/21/2017)
Paperback (1/1/1996)


During our formative years, we are continually "impressed" by the object world. Most of this experience will never be consciously thought, but it resides within us as assumed knowledge. In this influential work, Christopher Bollas terms this "the unthought known," offering radical new visions of the scope of psychoanalysis that expand our understanding of the creativity of the unconscious mind and the aesthetics of human character.

The Shadow of the Object integrates aspects of Freud's theory of unconscious thinking with elements from the British Object Relations School. Aspects of the unthought known--the primary repressed unconscious--emerge during 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.

First published in 1987, The Shadow of the Object remains a classic of the psychoanalytic literature written by an original thinker. The concept of the unthought known has influenced many areas of study, including literature, psychology, and the arts. This anniversary edition includes a new preface by Christopher Bollas.

Columbia University Press, 9780231185073, 320pp.

Publication Date: September 5, 2017

About the Author

Christopher Bollas is a member of the British Psychoanalytical Society and the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies.