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Rosenfeld, H. (1959). Envy and Gratitude: A Study of Unconscious Forces: By Melanie Klein. (London: Tavistock Publications, 1957. Pp. 91. 12s. 6d. New York: Basic Books.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 40:64-66.

(1959). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 40:64-66

Envy and Gratitude: A Study of Unconscious Forces: By Melanie Klein. (London: Tavistock Publications, 1957. Pp. 91. 12s. 6d. New York: Basic Books.)

Review by:
Herbert Rosenfeld

In this book, Melanie Klein has radically revised our knowledge of two fundamentally important sources of human behaviour—envy and gratitude. She considers that envy is an oral sadistic and anal sadistic expression of destructive impulses operative from the beginning of life, and that it has a constitutional basis. This view has much in common with that of Karl Abraham, who considered envy an oral character trait and also stressed the constitutional basis of the strength of oral impulses. But Mrs. Klein has thrown an entirely new light on the importance of envy, both as an impulse and a character trait, by discovering the fundamental role which it plays in normal and abnormal infantile development. In particular, she shows the link between envy and the development of gratitude which, she believes, is essential in building up the loving relationship with the object.

Envy is defined by Mrs. Klein as 'the angry, grudging feeling that another person possesses and enjoys something desirable, the envious impulse being to take it away and to spoil it. Envy implies the subject's relation to one person only and goes back to the earliest exclusive relation with the mother and the breast. Jealousy, on the other hand, while based on envy, involves a relationship to at least two people. It is mainly concerned with love that the subject feels is his due and has been taken away by a rival.'

In distinguishing between greed and envy, which are so frequently combined, Mrs. Klein emphasizes in greed the destructive introjection, whereas in envy she stresses the projection and projective identification.

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