Some make a distinction between phantasy and fantasy and, while not without controversy (Laplanche and Pontalis, 2012), the former generally refers in Kleinian language to unconscious, prelinguistic, early stages of development, where reality is not yet differentiated from imagination. According to the Kleinians, it is through phantasy that the infant comprehends the world: imagines it, relates feelings to objects, makes distinctions between inside and outside, comes to have thoughts about the world and relates to it (i.e. through projection and introjection). ‘Infantile feelings and phantasies leave, as it were, their imprints on the mind, imprints that do not fade away but get stored up, remain active, and exert a continuous and powerful influence on the emotional and intellectual life of the individual’ (Klein, 1975, p. 290). For Kleinians, phantasies are essential to our understanding not only of development but also more generally of thought, behaviour and the internal object world. Phantasy may also function in the formation and maintenance of object relations: good and bad objects are produced through projection and introjection. Phantasy enables the construction of identity and, through projection, social relations with others. Phantasies, thus, modify experience and the surrounding world by infusing it with meaning and significance.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Fantasy (vs Phantasy)
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number