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Fordham, M. Gordon, R. (1958). Envy and Gratitude, A Study of Unconscious Sources, by Melanie Klein. London, Tavistock Publications, 1957. pp. 91. 125. 6d.; New York, Basic Books.. J. Anal. Psychol., 3(2):172-176.

(1958). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 3(2):172-176

Envy and Gratitude, A Study of Unconscious Sources, by Melanie Klein. London, Tavistock Publications, 1957. pp. 91. 125. 6d.; New York, Basic Books.

M. Fordham and R. Gordon

This small, brilliant, and challenging volume of ninety-one pages contains Mrs. Klein's most recent conclusions on the early development of the infant's emotional life and the deviations which give rise to psychopathology. It is divided into two parts: the first is theoretical while the second contains a number of case studies illustrating how the theories are applied in psycho-analytic practice.

Envy is conceived as a primary affect springing from, or clearly related to, the death instinct; it is “an oral-sadistic and anal-sadistic expression of destructive impulses operative from the beginning of life and has a constitutional basis”. it is closely allied to greed but differs from it in seeking to spoil and rob the mother with the aim of destroying her creativeness. All this is based upon the fantasy that the breast is mean and grudging, it would rather enjoy itself than satisfy the infant. The theme of the infant's destructive attacks on the mother is one with which Mrs. Klein has made us familiar over the years; what is new is the central part that envy plays in them.

Gratitude on the contrary is the feeling which springs from a good feed and from a good breast; it leads to a sense of being full of good objects, to generosity, and is closely related to the processes of restitution; it springs from an alliance of the ego with the life instinct.

In accordance with the early origin of envy the ego is postulated as present at birth; it is likewise constitutional or innate.

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