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Bion, W.R. Rosenfeld, H. Segal, H. (1961). Melanie Klein. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 42:4-8.

(1961). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 42:4-8

Melanie Klein

W. R. Bion, H. Rosenfeld and H. Segal

With the death of Melanie Klein in London on 22 September, 1960, psycho-analysis loses a great and controversial figure. She was the pioneer of child analysis and in the course of her profound and original work she opened the way to the understanding of the primitive mental processes which dominate the infant mind. She thereby made fundamental contributions to the clarification of early ego and superego functioning and the primitive foundations of character and personality development and to the psycho-analysis of schizophrenia and manic-depressive psychosis. Her genius was expressed in her untiring exploration of the unconscious, reaching ever deeper layers of the mind.

Her death is all the more a loss because, although over 78 years of age, she was still fully engaged in creative work. Envy and Gratitude was written only four years ago, and during the succeeding two years she completed what will certainly rank as one of her major works, Narrative of a Child Analysis. In her last year, and right up to her final illness, she was deeply engrossed in the writing of a psycho-analytical study of the Oresteia of Aeschylus. This paper she had just completed, and she had begun to prepare her paper for the Edinburgh Congress when she died.

Psycho-analysis has thus lost in Melanie Klein one of its pioneering and original minds, still at the height of creative power. The future will show how profoundly she has influenced the direction and rate of growth of psycho-analytic theory and extended the boundaries of its practice.

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