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(p. 315) The Beginnings of a Formulation of an Appreciation and Criticism of Klein’s Envy Statement 

(p. 315) The Beginnings of a Formulation of an Appreciation and Criticism of Klein’s Envy Statement
Chapter:
(p. 315) The Beginnings of a Formulation of an Appreciation and Criticism of Klein’s Envy Statement
Author(s):

Donald W. Winnicott

DOI:
10.1093/med:psych/9780190271381.003.0053
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date: 11 December 2019

In this piece, Winnicott formulates his appreciation and his criticism of Melanie Klein’s paper on envy at the 1955 IPA Congress, and her book Envy and Gratitude. He asserts that the human infant is too immature to experience envy as described by Klein and that inherited or innate aggression cannot be assumed until the mixture of heredity and environment is properly understood. He gives two clinical examples from his own analytic work and shows that the early pre-objective reality experience of the infant, to which the mother (analyst) must adapt, allows for a progression of self from unconscious to more conscious awareness, of need and dependence on the external and the real. If this gradual progress goes well, envy need not be posited. If it doesn’t go well, the infant self (within the adult patient) may attack and show aggression at the mother’s (analyst’s) failure to respond or adapt appropriately.

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