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Sayers, J. (2020). Portrait of a Life: Melanie Klein and the Artists by Roger Amos. Published by Phoenix Publishing House, Bicester, 2019; 133 pp; £19.80 (hardback).. Brit. J. Psychother., 36(3):515-518.
(2020). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 36(3):515-518
Portrait of a Life: Melanie Klein and the Artists by Roger Amos. Published by Phoenix Publishing House, Bicester, 2019; 133 pp; £19.80 (hardback).
Review by: Janet Sayers
Packed full of photos of the psychoanalyst, Melanie Klein, and of other people, including some of those who depicted her portrait, this slim volume is a fascinating visual and thoughtful addition to previous accounts of her life.
Helped with family photos from the Melanie Klein archive in London, Roger Amos, a retired doctor married to a psychoanalyst, begins this book with a photo of Melanie aged 6, two years after the death of her older sister Sidonie, with her surviving older siblings, Emilie and Emanuel. This photo is followed by others of Melanie as a child and young woman, of Emanuel the year before he died in 1902, and of his industrial chemist friend, Arthur Klein, whom Melanie married the day after her 21st birthday in March 1903.
The marriage was unhappy. Something of this can be seen in a photo of Arthur looking away from Melanie and their children, Melitta aged 4 and Hans aged 1, the year before Melanie's several weeks of hospitalization in 1909 due to ‘fits of weeping and despair’ (p. 32). She was apparently happier following the family's move to Budapest in 1910. This is not however obvious from several photos of her in the immediately following years, nor in a photo of her some months before the birth of her and Arthur's youngest child, Eric, in July 1914, and the death of her mother from cancer that November.
Ten years later, following the consolidation of her pioneering work in child analysis and the end of her marriage to Arthur, Melanie looks solid and decided, if not ‘formidable and ambitious’ as Amos claims (p.
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