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Envy and Gratitude and Other Works, 1946 - 1963

by Melanie Klein

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Melanie Klein's writings, particularly on infant development and psychosis, have been crucial both to theoretical work and to clinical practice. ENVY AND GRATITUDE collects her writings from 1946 until her death in 1960, including two papers published posthumously. Klein's major paper, 'Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms', introduces the concept of the paranoid-schizoid position, in which the infant ego splits, projects and introjects its objects - most particularly the mother - during the first few months of life. 'Envy and Gratitude' her last major work, introduces her theory of primary envy.… (more)
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Psychoanalyst Dr David Bell has chosen to discuss Envy and Gratitude by Melanie Klein on FiveBooks as one of the top five on his subject - Psychoanalysis, saying that:



“…Melanie Klein is perhaps the most influential post-Freudian and, where Freud found the child in the adult and saw how all of us carry within us childhood thoughts, feelings and fantasies that have a determining effect on our lives, often unconsciously, Klein found the infant in the child. She developed a form of psychoanalysis that could access the internal life of quite young children.



She developed this through the play technique. So, where an adult is asked to free-associate, a child is invited to play with a box of toys or pens and paper. In the playing he expresses his own inner world. In the same way as it was shocking at the time that adults could express repressed desires, Klein’s way of talking to children also draws out sometimes very destructive impulses.



Envy and Gratitude is a mature work and more approachable than some of her others. Here Klein expresses the forms that envy and gratitude take. She develops the idea of a polarity between our relations to ‘the object’ (usually the mother). Gratitude is love and the capacity to take from the object and enjoy what we have taken, but, just as basic, is the disposition to envy. This is not ‘I wish I had that car’ but this is a hatred of the good. She quotes Chaucer as saying that all sins are sins against a particular virtue but that envy is the worst because it is a sin against virtue itself. ‘I hate that because it is good.’ …”


The full interview is available here: http://fivebooks.com/interviews/david-bell ( )
  FiveBooks | Apr 12, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Melanie Kleinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Derrida, MargueriteTraducteursecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Melanie Klein's writings, particularly on infant development and psychosis, have been crucial both to theoretical work and to clinical practice. ENVY AND GRATITUDE collects her writings from 1946 until her death in 1960, including two papers published posthumously. Klein's major paper, 'Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms', introduces the concept of the paranoid-schizoid position, in which the infant ego splits, projects and introjects its objects - most particularly the mother - during the first few months of life. 'Envy and Gratitude' her last major work, introduces her theory of primary envy.

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