Samuel Beckett was Wilfred Bion’s first case at the Tavistock Clinic.
The analysis, which began in 1934, was difficult, lasted for nearly two years and had a profound reciprocal influence on both men.
Beckett had come to London for analysis, because it was illegal in Ireland at the time. He was a relatively young man with considerable anxiety, much of which had to do with his bad relationship with this mother.
Both men were known to be difficult and intractable characters, but they respected each other and had a rapport. A “psychic twinship” developed between them that culminated in Bion famously inviting his patient to dinner and a lecture by Carl Jung.
Beckett got through his writers block and emigrated to Paris where he began work on his most important series of novels. He made radical use of free association as a literary form in his novellas and his Trilogy, before making his hugely creative transition from prose to drama and going on to win a Nobel Prize.
Bion in turn, re-worked his clinical contact with Beckett, who became the ‘patient zero’ of his pioneering postmodern psychoanalytic clinical theories.
Both men became instrumental in launching the post-modern age in their respective fields.