To the renowned psychoanalyst, philosopher, and linguist Julia
Kristeva, Melanie Klein (1882--1960) was the most original
innovator, male or female, in the psychoanalytic arena. Klein
pioneered psychoanalytic practice with children and made major
contributions to our understanding of both psychosis and autism.
Along the way, she successfully introduced a new approach to the
theory of the unconscious without abandoning the principles set
forth by Freud. In her first biography of a fellow psychoanalyst,
the prolific Kristeva considers Klein's life and intellectual
development, weaving a narrative that covers the history of
psychoanalysis and illuminates Kristeva's own life and work.
Kristeva tells the remarkable story of Klein's life: an unhappy
wife and mother who underwent analysis, and -- without a medical or
other advanced degree -- became an analyst herself at the age of
40. In examining her work, Kristeva proposes that Klein's "break"
with Freud was really an attempt to complete his theory of the
unconscious. Kristeva addresses Klein's numerous critics, and, in
doing so, bridges the wide gulf between the clinical and
theoretical worlds of psychoanalysis.
Klein is celebrated here as the first person to see the mother
as the source of not only creativity, but of thought itself, and
the first to consider the place of matricide in psychic
development. As such, Klein is a seminal figure in the evolution of
the provocative ideas about motherhood and the psyche for which
Kristeva is most famous. Klein is thus, in a sense, a mother to
Kristeva, making this book an account of the development of
Kristeva's own thought as well as Klein's.
Subjects: Psychology, History
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