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Guntrip, H. (1965). Introduction to the Work of Melanie Klein: By Hanna Segal. Sponsored by the Melanie Klein Trust. (London: Heinemann Medical Books, 1964. Pp. xiii + 118. 16s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 46:258-261.

(1965). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 46:258-261

Introduction to the Work of Melanie Klein: By Hanna Segal. Sponsored by the Melanie Klein Trust. (London: Heinemann Medical Books, 1964. Pp. xiii + 118. 16s.)

Review by:
Harry Guntrip

This book is based on lectures to students at the Institute of Psycho-Analysis in London. It is so clearly written that it is a pleasure to read. It leaves no excuse for misunderstanding what Kleinian theory actually holds today. Thus it performs a valuable service, for most readers find Melanie Klein's own style not easy going, due in part to the fact that she was wrestling with a subject-matter which was growing all the time under her touch. Segal's exposition lays every reader under an obligation.

One cannot over-estimate the importance of Klein's contribution, even if one disagrees with some of her 'metapsychology'. Recognition of the importance of fantasy has its origin in Freud's work on dreams and his theory of the superego. It was, however, Melanie Klein, dealing directly with the fantasy life at its source in early childhood, who showed that it reveals the structure and working of personality and neurosis. She taught us to see how specifically human beings live a secret inner world life, organized round the twin fantasies of the internal good and bad objects; how this fantasy life forms a second world competing with the first, external, world; and how interplay between the two by projection and introjection gives the clues needed to understand the problems of psychopathology. By means of this material Klein described the paranoid-schizoid and depressive phases of development, resulting in similar 'positions' as 'specific configurations of object-relations, anxieties and defences which persist throughout life'.

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