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Stokes, A. (1964). Our Adult World and Other Essays: By Melanie Klein. Sponsored by the Melanie Klein Trust. (London: Heinemann Medical Books. 1963, Pp. vi + 121. 15 s.).. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:131-134.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:131-134

Our Adult World and Other Essays: By Melanie Klein. Sponsored by the Melanie Klein Trust. (London: Heinemann Medical Books. 1963, Pp. vi + 121. 15 s.).

Review by:
Adrian Stokes

It has been maintained that the negative components of feeling originated in response to danger from without. They were not, therefore, in essence a danger to the rest of the psyche. Ordinary wisdom tends to assume deeper opposition. Perhaps those judgements include remembrances of envy, envy that would destroy not only what is good yet unavailable, but also available good, inasmuch as the quality of this good is better than any beneficient richness of the subject who therefore envies it.

For his revised metapsychology Freud introduced a primary negative principle. Subsequently Melanie Klein concluded, from the analyses of young children in the first place, that we are not only deprived but entirely threatened by circumstance that contains the primary danger in ourselves projected principally on to adverse circumstance. The infant would not gain from love a repeated wealth of reassurance unless he himself were loving only in part, unless he also feared persecution by objects that have become far more threatening in view of another part of himself projected on to them. At the beginning, of course, circumstance, good and bad, centres on the mother's breast. Mental life will remain inseparable from part-objects and whole objects, external and internalized. In infancy, when the ego is weakest, splitting provides the main defensive system. Hence the good breast split off from the bad breast, hence the projective identification elaborated from simple projection, hence introjections that are kept apart; hence the paranoid-schizoid position that slowly gives place in normal development, though never completely, to the depressive position and to paramountcy of depressive anxiety as well as of guilt.

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