228 Chapters
Medium 9781912567270

1. Melanie Klein's Vision of Projective Identification

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

Although her earlier work had borne the stamp of an emphasis on the concreteness of psychic reality and thus of internalised objects (the structural elements of the superego), and established that the mechanisms of defence were implemented by unconscious phantasies, it was not until the 1946 paper on schizoid mechanisms, that Melanie Klein embarked on a path that clearly distinguished her work from Freud's, following a direction already indicated by Abraham's ‘Short study of the libido’. While she never abandoned the distinction between life and death instincts, her methods of description moved more and more away from differentiating between ego and id in clinical phenomena in favour of talking of the self. This was ushered in by the description of splitting processes, in which parts of the self not only embraced id aspects but also internal object aspects (Narrative of a Child Analysis, 1961, notes to the 24th session).

The thrust of ‘Notes on some schizoid mechanisms’ is, as its title suggests, towards defining mechanisms characteristic of the paranoid-schizoid position, therefore of the first part of the first year of postnatal life, and consequently the source of points of fixation, in her view, for the psychoses: that is schizophrenias, paranoia and manic-depressive states. ‘The persecutory fears arising from the infant's oral-sadistic impulses to rob the mother's body of its good contents, and from the anal-sadistic impulses to put his excrements into her (including the desire to enter her body in order to control her from within) are of great importance for the development of paranoia and schizophrenia’ (1946; Works, III, p. 293).

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Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

THE sources of information at our disposal—published works, letters, biography, society minutes, autobiographies and memoirs— do not, of course, separate out from the life of Freud the particular thread of his investigations of clinical psychopathology nor do the particular papers given in reference lend themselves to classification as “clinical”. Yet this is a very distinct category of Freud’s scientific work and an area of relation and interaction with colleagues. Surely in the period we are studying, embracing the later World War I period and its aftermath, the problems of the organisation, development and preservation of psycho-analysis as a scientific discipline and as a “movement” (whatever that means) occupied—or even overshadowed—much of his thought, as it found its way into print. Particularly the conflicts with Adler and later Jung dominate such papers as “The History of the Psycho-analytic Movement” and the “Wolf-Man” case history.

Jones relates how, to relieve Freud of some of this burden, the “Committee” was formed in 1912, but the disruption of communication during the war, not to mention Freud’s own nationalistic enthusiasm at its start and despair toward its finish, probably prevented this group’s protective mission from realisation.

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Medium 9781912567454

24. The Architectonics of Pornography

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

While it is always a danger that psychoanalytic definitions may be taken out of context and applied unintelligently for obsessional control in the social sphere, the hazard must be faced if a guide is to be afforded, in the realm of aesthetics, to the artist and the serious scholar and critic for drawing differentiations of a valid and useful sort between the representation of passion in art and literature and its misrepresentation in pornography. This brief paper, one trusts, will be of no use to courts of law, Lords Chamberlain or compilers of one index or another, but may help the artist and his patrons to traverse with lessened anxiety and guilt the scorching borderland.

In my dialogue with Adrian Stokes in Painting and the Inner World I have drawn upon discoveries related to psychic structure to emphasise the necessity of recognising the individual and social forces which invade the art world for destructive purposes. I have attempted to reinstate the term ‘evil’ in its juxtaposition to ‘good’ to differentiate this realm of value judgement in aesthetics from the more technical realm of ‘success’ in representation (or ‘transformation’ as Bion has more recently called it) and communication. Such a theoretical structure in aesthetics, based on psychoanalytical concepts of motivation and responsibility, lend themselves to application in the consulting-room only, for they are bound up absolutely with the psychoanalytical method for investigation of the mind. But experience in the consulting room should enable us to derive indicators of a structural, rather than descriptive, sort, for our external judgement of works of art as objects – aesthetic objects.

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Medium 9781912567546

8. Eighth Week: Sessions 40–45: The Phenomenology of Hypochondria: its Differentiation from Psychosomatic Pheomena or Somatic Delusions

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub


Eighth week: sessions 40–45

The phenomenology of hypochondria: its differentiation from psychosomatic phenomena or somatic delusions

This is the week following Mrs Klein's return from her nine days in London. It starts on the Tuesday and goes through to include Sunday and is a week that is very sharply divided. In the first session Richard is very persecuted about coming back to X and persecuted also by Mrs Klein. He does not really regain his relationship to her until the next session when he confesses his infidelity or, really, betrayal of her during the break. He had apparently seduced his mother by telling her she was a better analyst than Mrs Klein because she was his mother. Once Mrs Klein has related this to the breast-transference, contact is restored.

In the week before Mrs Klein went away she seemed to be emphasizing castration anxiety and only sporadically recognizing the infantile transference to the breast and the horizontal splitting of the mother into the breast-mummy upstairs and a very sexual and potentially bad and seductive mummy downstairs. This is the material that presents itself immediately in the Tuesday session, where he seems to have externalized that split on to his good mother at home and Mrs Klein as the bad mummy, surrounded or filled with poisonous nettles and toadstool babies. Again he stamps on his rivals and again the phantasy of being poisoned comes out when he gets his sore throat. That theme of the splitting of the mother into the idealized light blue breast-mummy who gives him his shredded wheat and this bad old woman genital spitting yellow stuff now also invades the Empire drawings so that it looks like a horrid bird which has black stuff falling out of it. (This is the material Mrs Klein used for her 1945 paper ‘The Oedipus complex in the light of early anxieties’.) When he cannot keep the split going, Richard either gets a sore throat or feels that he has poison dripping down inside him. It is instructive to note how different is this confusional and persecuted state from the paranoid delusion of being poisoned by the secret German spies, Cook and Bessie.

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Medium 9781855752405

5. Keats’s “Ode to Psyche”

Meltzer, Donald Karnac Books ePub

Meg Harris Williams

Keats’s “Ode to Psyche” is one of the most beautiful and original poems in the English language, though rarely recognized as such. More usually it is taken as his slightly stumbling first effort at a personal ode form before the better-known Great Odes: more straightforward in its emotional tone, and less susceptible to convenient forms of cynical modernist interpretation. The poem is a joyous hymn to inspiration. It has its doubts and its questions, but they are answered immediately by the poet himself—leaving nothing for the critical intellect to do. Indeed, nobody could answer them but the poet, since they are questions of vision, not of value or interpretation—asking, what is he seeing? not, what does it mean? What can a well-qualified critic do with a poem in which he is so evidently regarded as superfluous? There are, of course, cynical solutions which can help the reader evade the impact of the poem. It has been taken as voyeuristic self-indulgence; it has been taken as a political or social allegory of literary pedigree—the lower-middle-class young poet claiming that it is time for him to supersede those jaded old Olympians (Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, etc.). “Quite the little poet!” as one of Keats’s acquaintances described him (to his humorous disgust) during his lifetime (letter in Gittings, 1987, p. 212.).

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