Melanie Klein and the Maternal
At the core of Melanie Klein’s theory of the infantile mind is her understanding that the object is present from the beginning of life and is crucial to the structuring of mental life. Her emphasis on the early maternal includes the mother’s mind and her role in helping the child relate to real persons in a lively and creative way. Of course, Klein understood that the mother, like the child, is capable of destructive feeling that must be navigated and increasingly tolerated throughout the life cycle. This includes primary envy, which Klein posited as a root force in the infant’s mind.
This conversation, among four psychoanalysts who have had a longstanding relationship with the thinking of the contemporary Kleinians, will take up several central aspects of Klein’s notion of the maternal and will include time for conversation with the audience.