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Klein, M. (1928). Note on the Preceding Communication. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 9:255-258.

(1928). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 9:255-258

Note on the Preceding Communication

Melanie Klein

In order to support my remarks on the dream communicated by Dr. Bryan I must refer to certain theoretical propositions which I brought forward in my paper for the last Congress, and which I accounted for in greater detail in the lectures which I delivered here last autumn. In one of the early stages of the Oedipus conflict the desire to have intercourse with the mother and to engage in a contest with the father expresses itself in terms of the oral- and anal-sadistic instinctual impulses, which are predominant in this phase of development. The idea is that the boy, by penetrating the mother's womb, destroys it and gets rid of the father's penis which, according to a typical infantile sexual theory, is assumed to be permanently present in the womb (the father's penis at this stage being the complete embodiment of the father), and the way he destroys it is by devouring it. Mingling with this tendency, and yet recognizable as one distinct in itself, is another tendency, whose aim is the same, namely, to destroy the mother's womb and to devour the penis, but whose basis is an oral- and anal-sadistic identification with the mother. From this proceeds the boy's desire to rob the mother's body of fæces, children and the father's penis. The anxiety which ensues on this level is extraordinarily acute, for it has reference to the union of father and mother, represented by the womb and the father's penis, and I pointed out that this anxiety is the essential foundation of severe mental diseases.

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