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Klein, Melanie Reizes


KLEIN, MELANIE REIZES (1882–1960), British psychoanalyst. Born Melanie Reizes in Vienna, she settled in Budapest after her marriage to businessman Arthur Klein. There she became interested in psychoanalysis and was analyzed by Sándor Ferenzi. In 1919 she read her first paper on child development before the Budapest Psychoanalytical Society, and was subsequently invited by Karl *Abraham to practice in Berlin. Melanie Klein then began the therapy of children, interpreting their play as symbolic of fantasies and feelings of anxiety and guilt, in a manner similar to Sigmund *Freud's interpretation of dreams. On the invitation of Ernest Jones, in 1926 she moved to London, where she developed the technique of play analysis, and from 1930 began to analyze adults. Her findings aroused much controversy, but drew the support of a group of the British Psychoanalytical Society known as the "Kleinians." She expounded her main ideas in Die Psychoa nalyse des Kindes (1932; The Psychoanalysis of Children, 1932, 19503), which dealt with the child's love-hate relationship with the mother and with introjection. Her monograph, Love, Guilt and Reparation (in Love, Hate and Reparation, written with Joan Riviere, 1937), stressed that the instinctual urges of the child are experienced as unconscious fantasy. Her study of these processes was an important contribution to the understanding of infantile development. Melanie Klein remains one of the best-known psychoanalysts of her time; her theories remain both influential and controversial.


H. Segal, Introduction to the Work of Melanie Klein (1964), includes bibliographies; J.A. Lindon, in: F.G. Alexander et al. (eds.), Psychoanalytic Pioneers (1966), 360–72. add. bibliography: odnb online; P. Grosskuth, Melanie Klein: Her Life and Work (1986); J. Segal, Melanie Klein (1992); O. Weininger, Melanie Klein: From Theory to Reality (1992).

[Louis Miller]

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