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Segal, H. Meltzer, D. (1963). 'Narrative of a Child Analysis'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 44:507-513.

(1963). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 44:507-513

'Narrative of a Child Analysis'

Hanna Segal and Donald Meltzer


Narrative of a Child Analysis, which appeared posthumously and is the last book written by Melanie Klein, was planned by her as a companion volume to The Psycho-Analysis of Children, published in 1932, in which she described her technique of play analysis, and gave an account of the psychological findings she obtained from this technique. As is by now well known, the pioneering technique she evolved was based on the assumption that children's play reflects the unconscious.

A book such as the Narrative, unusual in the literature of psycho-analysis and unique in child-analytic writings, presents a knotty task for the reviewer, since it can, and in fact must, be read in different ways by workers of different degrees of familiarity with that line of development in psycho-analysis leading from Freud and Abraham through Melanie Klein to the recent work of her students and co-workers.

For students of psycho-analysis, this volume will be primarily a companion to The Psycho-Analysis of Children, especially those chapters on technique with latency-period children, and on the psycho-sexual development of the boy. Although the material of the Narrative must be overwhelming in detail for a student, a reading of the book and seminars on particularly clear and moving sessions such as the 6th or the 24th would probably be the best introduction to the development of play technique by Melanie Klein and the discoveries which analysis of young children brought to light.

Analysts particularly interested in Mrs Klein's work, but not acquainted personally with her during her lifetime, will be deeply interested in the Narrative for the vivid picture it gives of her as a person and as an analyst in action.

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