Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Klein, Melanie

  • Pamela Cooper-WhiteEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9098

Melanie Klein (1882–1960) was born in Vienna, Austria, the youngest of four children, to Moriz Reizes, a medical doctor, and Libussa Deutsch, his young second wife. Moriz was born into an Orthodox Jewish family and was intended by his parents to study for the rabbinate, but he rebelled and attended medical school. Melanie was close to her strong, domineering mother, but emulated her emotionally remote and intellectual father. A brilliant and unorthodox first-generation psychoanalyst, she rose to become one of the foremost theorists and practitioners of her time and is credited with founding the “object relations” school of psychoanalysis. At the same time, her personal life was shadowed by loss and tragedy, and it is perhaps no coincidence that much of her writings focused on themes of depression and manic depression, psychic splitting, the death instinct, envy, and reparation.

Melanie’s life was marked by a series of tragic and traumatic losses – the death of her beloved older sister...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Union Theological SeminaryNew YorkUSA