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Gillespie, W. (1980). Klein: By Hanna Segal. London: Fontana Modern Masters. 1979. Pp. 189.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 61:85-88.

(1980). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 61:85-88

Klein: By Hanna Segal. London: Fontana Modern Masters. 1979. Pp. 189.

Review by:
William Gillespie

Dr Hanna Segal's excellent introduction to the work, theory and practice of Melanie Klein (1964) has long been accepted as an authoritative account, especially for the uninitiated who are not prepared to study the original texts, a task demanding considerable application. She has now followed this up with another book, entitled simply 'Klein', for it appears in the Fontana Modern Masters series, whose titles, ranging alphabetically from Artaud to Yeats, are similar in form.

Hanna Segal is undoubtedly one of the most gifted and dedicated of the outspoken followers of Melanie Klein, and in the space of 164 pages of text she has succeeded admirably in giving not only a lucid account of the development and principal features of Klein's work but also a brief biographical sketch of the woman and her career. The little book is very well written and is not unworthy to find a place beside Richard Wollheim's account of Freud in the same series of 'Modern Masters'. Perhaps the title of the series will need to be revised, now that for the first time a woman 'master' has been included.

Dr Segal's book makes no claim to be other than partisan. Although she concedes that some of Klein's views are still controversial, she presents them with so much conviction and persuasiveness as to make them appear logically inevitable, as did Mrs Klein herself, particularly when she was on her feet, speaking about clinical matters rather than writing. For example, when Klein introduced the concept of a primitive envy that arises in 'earliest' infancy (that is, from birth), a concept that many analysts thought absurd, her defence of this strange idea in a discussion I attended was almost convincing.

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