Freud has little to say about "the dim and shadowy era" of earliest infancy. It was Melanie Klein, one of the greatest of Freud's disciples, whose pioneering investigations illuminated the baby's most primitive fantasies. The small baby, dominated by overpowering feelings of love and hate towards the mother, projects them outwards and introjects what it perceives of her, Overwhelmed, it splits itself and its mother into Good and Bad. Later, the baby has to "reassemble" the mother and come to terms with its own ambivalent emotions - an extremely painful process which underlies depression in adults. These developments preceding the Oedipus complex were discovered by Klein using her revolutionary "play technique" and are at the heart of her system. This collection of her writings is edited and introduced by one of Britain's feminist thinkers, the author of "Psychoanalysis and Feminism" and herself a practising psychoanalyst. It shows how much Klein has to offer: in understanding and treating psychotics, in revising Freud's ideas about female sexuality, in showing how fantasy operates in everyday life.
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