BSHS conference: Psychoanalysing Robert Boyle

Psychoanalysing Robert Boyle

12 July 1997, Birkbeck College, University of London

A BSHS (British Society for the History of Science) conference 
   organised by Professor Michael Hunter

One of the challenges for historical biographers is to decide how far 
it is appropriate or legitimate to attempt to psychoanalyse their 
subject. The matter is further complicated by the lack of unanimity 
among contemporary psychoanalysts, who are ranged in a bewildering 
variety of disparate schools. This conference aims to confront such 
dilemmas, while at the same time advancing historical understanding. 
It will be focussed on a single figure, the scientist Robert Boyle 
(1627-91), who has recently been the subject of intensive 
biographical study. Three psychotherapists, representing the current 
schools in British psychoanalysis, have agreed to participate: John
Clay (Jungian), Karl Figlio (Kleinian) and Brett Kahr (Freudian). 
Each has been provided with a uniform dossier of biographical 
information about Boyle; they have been invited to request any 
further information which seemed to them relevant, all of which has 
been circulated to all of them. On this basis, they will each present 
a psychoanalytical portrait of Boyle, following an introduction by 
Michael Hunter in which the rationale of the exercise will be more 
fully outlined. The conference will end with a discussion session in 
which teh various contributions will be discussed and the issues that 
arise assessed. In all, this unprecedented exercise should make for 
an exciting day, which will be of wide significance for the mutual 
relations between psychoanalysis and historical biography.


Harkness Hall, Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet Street, 
London, WC1E 7HX

Saturday 12 July 1997

10.30   Enrolment and coffee
11.00   Michael Hunter (Birkbeck College): Introduction
12.00   Brett Kahr (School of Psychotherapy, Regent's College): 
        A Freudian Perspective
13.00   Break for lunch. Those attending will be expected to make 
        their own arrangements for lunch. There are various 
        restaurants, pubs, etc in the Bloomsbury area.
14.15   John Clay (BAP, Biographer of R.D. Laing, 1996)
        A Jungian Perspective
15.15   Karl Figlio (Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of 
        A Kleinian Perspective
16.15   General Discussion
16.45   Tea

To register, please complete the following form and send it
Wing-Commander G. Bennett, 
31 High Street, 
Faringdon, OXON, SN7 8LH

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Psychoanalysing Robert Boyle

Please register me for this meeting on 12 July 1997

I require  ______ tickets @ 6.00 pounds (BSHS members)
           ______ tickets @ 4.50 pounds (students and retired)
           ______ tickets @ 7.50 pounds (non-members)

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Please make your cheque payable to 'BSHS Ltd'