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Melanie Klein

Melanie KleinAKA Melanie Reizes Klein

Born: 30-Mar-1882
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: 22-Sep-1960
Location of death: London, England
Cause of death: Natural Causes
Remains: Cremated, Golders Green Crematorium, London, England

Gender: Female
Religion: Atheist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Psychologist

Nationality: England
Executive summary: The Psychoanalysis of Children

British psychoanalyst Melanie Klein attended college only briefly, studying history at the University of Vienna, but abandoned her formal studies when she married. She continued reading voraciously, however, and became interested in Sigmund Freud's work when she read his book On Dreams. After this she sought out a student of Freud's and underwent psychoanalysis herself, and then began her landmark work on the psychoanalysis of children. Since children, of course, cannot be expected to lie on a couch and reveal details of their childhood in conversation with a therapist, Klein's approach was "play therapy" she would observe children at play. Under the theory that children's actions with toys such as a mommy-doll and daddy-doll could show their earliest fantasies and anxieties, her research showed that the unconscious thoughts of children could be to some extent revealed and understood through careful observation of their nonverbal behavior.

A contemporary of Freud, she remained distant from him and his daughter, psychologist Anna Freud, who thought little of Klein or her theories. Klein's work soon became and remains very influential on the emerging field of child psychology, but during her lifetime she was generally unwelcome in most academic circles, due to her gender, her lack of education, and to some extent her own difficult nature. She ended her work with children in the late 1940s, and spent the last decade of her career providing analysis for adults, including students of psychoanalysis. Her daughter, the psychoanalyst Melitta Schmideberg-Klein, married an associate of Freud's, and after a professional and personal falling-out in the mid-1930s, mother and daughter never spoke to each other again.

Sister: Emily
Brother: Emmanuel
Sister: Sidonie
Husband: Arthur Stephen Klein (engineer, dated 1901-03, m. 1903, div. 1922, three children)
Daughter: Melitta Schmideberg-Klein (psychologist, b. 1904, d. 1983)
Son: Hans Klein (engineer, b. 1907, d. 1934)
Son: Eric Klein (b. 1914)

    High School: Vienna Gymnasium, Vienna, Austria
    University: University of Vienna (attended 1901-03)
    Teacher: Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute (1921-26)
    Teacher: London Institute of Psychoanalysis, London, England (1926-60)

    British Psychoanalytic Society
    Naturalized UK Citizen
    Austrian Ancestry
    Jewish Ancestry

Author of books:
The Psychoanalysis of Children (1932)
Love, Hate and Reparation (1937)
Contributions to Psychoanalysis, 1921-1945 (1948)
Envy and Gratitude (1957)
Narrative of a Child Analysis (1961, posthumous)
Our Adult World and Other Essays (1963, posthumous)
Envy and Gratitude & Other Works (1975, posthumous)
The Selected Melanie Klein (1986, posthumous)

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