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(p. 129) On ‘A Study of Envy and Gratitude’ by Melanie Klein 

(p. 129) On ‘A Study of Envy and Gratitude’ by Melanie Klein
(p. 129) On ‘A Study of Envy and Gratitude’ by Melanie Klein

Donald W. Winnicott

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date: 30 October 2020

Winnicott discusses Klein’s paper, ‘A Study of Envy and Gratitude’, as a study of the infant within the analysand, an infant that cannot be directly observed, and extends the discussion of penis envy to an earlier stage, breast envy. Winnicott complains that infancy here is approached in the way Freud looked at the toddler, through the analysis of children and adults. What is missing from this picture of Freud’s and Klein’s is the infant as a real baby with a mother. For Winnicott, the infant is not engaged in splitting love from hatred so much as in fusing into his own erotic potential the essential motility and the variable aggressive components of normal infant growth. To talk of hatred in this context is, for Winnicott, to indicate that earliest infancy is not being described.

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