Skip to navigation

melanie klein trust

Melanie Klein Trust

Furthering the psychoanalytic theory
and technique of Melanie Klein

1945-60 Building for the future

Dates

1945

Melitta Schmideberg leaves the UK, now separated from her husband Walter, and moves to New York. She will live there until 1961, working with adolescent delinquents.

Klein spends August on a farm with her daughter-in-law Judy and grandchildren Michael and Diana.

1946

On 4th December Klein gives her paper, 'Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms' to the British Society. This is one of the most important works of Klein’s career, and a pivotal moment in psychoanalytic thought, as she details the concepts of ego-splitting and projective identification.

After much debate within the British Society, the ‘A’ and ‘B’ groups, and what becomes known as the 'Middle Group', are at last established as an urgent means of resolving the on-going and irreconcilable differences between the Anna Freudians and Kleinians. The bitter arguments that have raged through the Society for years are now at least partly assuaged, and the Society looks like it will survive.

1947

John Rickman, a British psychoanalyst who has been in analysis with Freud, Ferenczi and Klein, is elected president of the British Society. As a member of the 'Middle Group' - neither Anna Freudian nor Kleinian - Rickman's appointment is a deliberate effort to preserve neutral government of the Society.

1948

Susan Isaacs dies of cancer on 12th October, at the age of 63.

1949

At the sixteenth Psychoanalytic Congress in Zurich, Klein sees her daughter Melitta for the first time in four years. They do not speak.

1951

In preparation for the celebration of Klein’s 70th year, her colleagues and friends publish Developments in Psychoanalysis, including essays by Heimann, Isaacs, Riviere, Klein, and others.

Klein’s former lover Chezkel Zvi Kloetzel dies on 27th October.

1952

Ernest Jones organises a dinner at Kettner’s (29 Romilly St, Soho) to celebrate Klein’s 70th birthday.

In photograph, clockwise from left: [sitting] Marion Milner, Sylvia Payne, Eric Klein, Roger Money-Kyrle, Clifford Scott, Paula Heimann, James Strachey, Gwen Evans, [unknown], Michael Balint, Judy Klein (wife of Eric Klein), [standing] Melanie Klein, Enest Jones, Herbert Rosenfeld, Joan Riviere, Donald Winnicott

1953

After a period of illness and dizzy spells (and a brief spell in hospital), thought to be brought about by excessive tiredness and overwork, Klein sells her house at Clifton Hill and moves to a smaller flat at 20 Bracknell Gardens, West Hampstead.

Klein begins work on her autobiography. Rediscovered among Roger Money-Kyrle's archived papers in 2015, the autobiography was transcribed by Robert Hinshelwood and published in 2016. Download the autobiography.

1954

Walter Schmideberg, Klein’s estranged son-in-law, dies of an ulcerous illness in Switzerland, by now long separated from his wife Melitta.

 

1955

On 1st February Klein establishes the Melanie Klein Trust, something she has thought of doing for several years. She invites Wilfred Bion, Paula Heimann, Betty JosephRoger Money-Kyrle, and Hanna Segal to be trustees, and puts in £600 to get it going.

New Directions in Psychoanalysis is published.

Klein attends the Geneva Congress, held on 24th-25th July. On the first day, Klein delivers a paper, 'A Study of Envy and Gratitude.' It is among the most controversial of all Klein’s papers, and elicits a heatedly critical reaction. Paula Heimann, by now no longer on good terms with Klein, is among those critical of the paper’s assertions.

On 24th November Klein writes to Heimann, asking her to resign as trustee of the newly established Melanie Klein Trust. Spelling the end of their long and close friendship, Heimann soon after also leaves the Kleinian group.

1956

Klein, with the help of previous analysand Elliott Jaques, starts to sort through and order her notes on Richard. These notes will become Narrative of a Child Analysis, her only full-length account of a single analysis.

On 6th May the Society marks Freud’s centenary year.

Donald Winnicott is elected president of the British Society.

1957

The highly controversial Envy and Gratitude is published in June, expanded from Klein’s 1955 Geneva Congress paper with the help of Elliot Jacques.

On her 75th birthday, Klein is given a Victorian garnet and gold set of jewellery by the British Society.

1958

Ernest Jones dies on the 11th February, at the age of 79.

Listen to a recording of Melanie Klein's voice made at around this time.

Transcription: "[I know] quite a distinguished analyst in Berlin, who said that at times sometimes months passed in which [he] wasn’t saying a word. So that was [definitely] an attitude which I don’t think was shared neither by Freud, nor by Abraham. I have good reasons to think it was not shared by Freud either and I definitely know it was not shared by Abraham. But, if I compare the interpretations of today with the interpretations given even at the time by Abraham, there are much more interpretations given and what is mostly important is they go deeper, they establish a connection more with the unconscious."

1959

After previously being taken up and then unfinished by French psychoanalyst and philosopher Jacques Lacan, Klein’s Psycho-Analysis of Children is finally published in a French translation by Françoise and Jean-Baptiste Boulanger.

Klein reads her paper, 'Our Adult World and Its Roots in Infancy' to an audience of sociologists in London.

Klein gives her paper, 'On the Sense of Loneliness' at the Copenhagen Congress in July. In it she explores the yearning for an unattainable return to the baby’s first experience of an entirely devoted mother figure. The paper will later be published as part of Envy and Gratitude and Other Works 1946-1963.

1960

In the spring Klein is diagnosed with anaemia, and is increasingly exhausted and physically weak.

During the summer Klein goes to Switzerland, to Villars-sur-Ollon, determined to regain her health. Her son Eric joins her, but by this time she has grown dangerously ill. She returns to England and is immediately taken to hospital. Colon cancer is diagnosed and Klein has an operation at the start of September. The operation seems at first to have been successful, but complications arise after she falls out of bed and breaks a hip. Melanie Klein dies on 22nd September.

She is cremated at Golders Green Crematorium, her funeral attended by many friends and colleagues. Melitta is not there.

Read Hanna Segal's review of Grosskurth's Melanie Klein: Her World and Her Work

Download a transcript of a 1983 BBC Radio 3 documentary about Klein's life and ideas. Made by Professor Richard Wollheim, the documentary featured a range of contributors including Betty Joseph, Elliott Jaques, Katharina Jones (Mrs Ernest Jones), Hanna Segal, Marion Milner and Jo Sandler.