“… the intersubjective matrix of envy…”*

From: The Tiredness of Rosabel (1908), by Katherine Mansfield:

“…”Oh, one moment, Madam,” she had said. “I think perhaps I can show you something that will please you better.” She had run up, breathlessly, cut the cords, scattered the tissue paper, and yes, there was the very hat—rather large, soft, with a great, curled feather, and a black velvet rose, nothing else. They had been charmed. The girl had put it on and then handed it to Rosabel.

“Let me see how it looks on you,” she said, frowning a little, very serious indeed. Rosabel turned to the mirror and placed it on her brown hair, then faced them.

“Oh, Harry, isn’t it adorable,” the girl cried, “I must have that!” She smiled again at Rosabel. “It suits you, beautifully.”

A sudden, ridiculous feeling of anger had seized Rosabel. She longed to throw the lovely, perishable thing in the girl’s face, and bent over the hat, flushing…”

From: An Inspector Calls (1945), by J.B. Priestley:

“Sheila: I’d gone in to try something on. It was an idea of my own – mother had been against it, and so had the assistant – but I insisted. As soon as I tried it on, I knew they’d been right. It just didn’t suit me at all. I looked silly in the thing. Well, this girl had brought the dress up from the workroom, and when the assistant – Miss Francis – had asked her something about it, this girl, to show us what she meant, had held the dress up, as if she was wearing it. And it just suited her. She was the right type for it, just as I was the wrong type. She was very pretty too – with big dark eyes – and that didn’t make it any better. Well, when I tried the thing on and looked at myself and knew that it was all wrong, I caught sight of this girl smiling at Miss Francis – as if to say: ‘doesn’t she look awful’ – and I was absolutely furious. I was very rude to both of them, and then I went to the manager and told him that this girl had been very impertinent – and – and – (she almost breaks down, but just controls herself.) How could I know what would happen afterwards? If she’d been some miserable plain little creature, I don’t suppose I’d have done it. But she was very pretty and looked as if she could take care of herself. I couldn’t be sorry for her.”

Julie Gerhardt (2016) Libidinal and Destructive Envy: Relationally Speaking, “I can be like you, therefore I am”, Psychoanalytic Perspectives (13:1):

“…The present paper explores two different but interrelated types of envy: (a) libidinal envy and (b) destructive envy. The description of libidinal envy draws upon Freud’s (1917) theory of melancholia as an unprocessed identificatory response to a lost object, as well as Benjamin’s (1995) ideas about the early need to be/feel like an ideal other. A discussion of *the intersubjective matrix of envy (Benjamin, 1988, 1995) follows. The distinction between libidinal and destructive envy is based on Rosenfeld’s (1987) distinction between libidinal and destructive narcissism. Because envy is claimed to be universal (Hill & Buss, 2008; Schoeck, 1966), I discuss Klein’s assertion that envy has a biological basis from the perspective of its evolutionary value…”

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