Freud Museum London: Psychoanalysis Podcasts A treasure trove of ideas in psychoanalysis. History, theory, and psychoanalytic perspectives on a diverse range of topics. www.freud.org.uk

April 13, 2018  

Ms Ann Murphy

SESSION 3: ‘Experience’ & ‘Encounter’ in Practice & theory

Session three begins with each discussant giving a brief, informal talk (10 mins each) on the speaker’s understanding of the two terms ‘experience’ and ‘encounter’ based on the discussant’s practice as a clinician and/or an artist and/or a theorist. ‘Experience’ and ‘encounter’ are two central concepts underpinning the book Clinical Encounters in Sexuality.

Ms Ann Murphyis a clinical psychologist, psychoanalytic psychotherapist and visual artist. She was a founder and Director of the MSc in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in the Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine at Trinity College Dublin. She lectures on psychoanalysis, particularly Melanie Klein and Wilfred Bion, on post-graduate courses at Trinity College Dublin and St Vincent’s University Hospital Dublin, and is a training analyst and clinical supervisor. She has a private practice in Dublin. She contributed to two recent publications: The Winnicott Tradition, edited by Margaret Boyle Spelman and Frances Thomson-Salo (Karnac 2015), and Clinical Encounters in Sexuality. Ann has exhibited in a number of venues, including The Lab, Dublin, Dublin Castle, PS2 Belfast, and Mermaid Arts Centre, County Wicklow. She is at the beginning of an interdisciplinary collaboration with psychoanalytic psychotherapist and cultural theorist Noreen Giffney, which will bring together visual arts practice with clinical psychoanalytic thinking.

 

 

 

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April 13, 2018  

Sasha Roseneil

SESSION 2: What Might Clinical Psychoanalysis Learn from Queer Theories of Sexuality?

Session two begins by talking about the Introduction (by Noreen) and Afterword (by Eve) to Clinical Encounters in Sexuality, before broadening out the discussion to consider the ways in which queer theories of sexuality might enrich and enliven clinical psychoanalytic considerations of sexuality. The session begins with four brief, informal responses (10 mins each), followed by discussion with delegates.

Professor Sasha Roseneil is Professor of Sociology and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Essex, and a group analyst. She has written extensively on transformations in gender, sexuality and personal relationships, and on social movements, citizenship and feminist and queer politics. She has just started a new Wellcome Trust funded project, ‘The Practice, Politics and Provision of the Talking Therapies since the 1960s’, and will be publishing a new book, The Tenacity of the Couple Norm in 2018 (with Isabel Crowhurst, Tone Hellesund, Ana Cristina Santos and Mariya Stoilova).

 

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April 13, 2018  

Professor Caroline Bainbridge

SESSION 1: Theories of Sexuality 113 Years after Freud’s ‘Three Essays’

Session one considers the continued importance and influence of Freud’s ‘Three Essays’ for contemporary considerations of sexuality, as well as more recent contributions by writers working in clinical contexts and academia. The session begins with four brief, informal responses (10 mins each) to Freud’s ‘Three Essays’, followed by discussion with delegates.

Professor Caroline Bainbridge is Professor of Psychoanalysis and Culture in the Department of Media, Culture and Language at the University of Roehampton. She is Director of the Media and the Inner World research network which she organises with Professor Candida Yates. She has a number of editorial responsibilities, working as the Film Section Editor for the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, and Series Editor (with Candida Yates) of the ‘Psychoanalysis and Popular Culture’ book list published by Karnac Books. She is the author of A Feminine Cinematics: Luce Irigaray, Women and Film (2008) and The Cinema of Lars von Trier: Authenticity and Artifice (2007); and the co-editor of Media and the Inner World: Psycho-cultural Approaches to Emotion, Media and Popular Culture (2014); Television and the Inner World: Psycho-cultural Perspectives (2013); and Culture and the Unconscious (2007).

 

 

 

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April 13, 2018  

Mr David RICHARDS

SESSION 2: What Might Clinical Psychoanalysis Learn from Queer Theories of Sexuality?

Session two begins by talking about the Introduction (by Noreen) and Afterword (by Eve) to Clinical Encounters in Sexuality, before broadening out the discussion to consider the ways in which queer theories of sexuality might enrich and enliven clinical psychoanalytic considerations of sexuality. The session begins with four brief, informal responses (10 mins each), followed by discussion with delegates.

Mr David Richards is a psychodynamic psychotherapist in private practice, working with individuals and couples and as a supervisor. He has worked in the NHS and voluntary sector, initially within the HIV field in the 1990s and then for many years managing a community counselling service for older adults. He is also a Senior Tutor on the MSc in Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy at Birkbeck, University of London. He has a long-standing interest in questions of sexuality and identity, and is a member of the Advisory Group on Sexual and Gender Diversity within the British Psychoanalytic Council, where he also currently serves on the Executive with a portfolio of diversity.

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April 13, 2018  

Dr Fintan Walsh

SESSION 1: Theories of Sexuality 113 Years after Freud’s ‘Three Essays’

Description: Session one considers the continued importance and influence of Freud’s ‘Three Essays’ for contemporary considerations of sexuality, as well as more recent contributions by writers working in clinical contexts and academia. The session begins with four brief, informal responses (10 mins each) to Freud’s ‘Three Essays’, followed by discussion with delegates.

Dr Fintan Walsh is Reader in Theatre and Performance and Co-Director of the Centre for Contemporary Theatre at Birkbeck, University of London. He researches within the fields of modern and contemporary drama, theatre and performance studies, focusing on questions of subjectivity, identity, and cultural politics; affective experience and public intimacy; socially engaged performance, in particular queer art practices. A concern for the survival tactics of bodies, subjects and communities under inordinate pressure or distress unites this research, leading to books that examine sacrificial aesthetics and practices (Male Trouble: Masculinity and the Performance of Crisis [2010]); the relationship among psychoanalysis, therapeutic cultures and performance (Theatre & Therapy [2012]); and the theatrical and social work of minoritarian performance (Queer Performance and Contemporary Ireland: Dissent and Disorientation [2016]). Fintan is currently working on a project on theatre and contagion.

 

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April 13, 2018  

Ms Karla Black

SESSION 3: ‘Experience’ & ‘Encounter’ in Practice & Theory

Session three begins with each discussant giving a brief, informal talk (10 mins each) on the speaker’s understanding of the two terms ‘experience’ and ‘encounter’ based on the discussant’s practice as a clinician and/or an artist and/or a theorist. ‘Experience’ and ‘encounter’ are two central concepts underpinning the book Clinical Encounters in Sexuality.

Ms Karla Black is a visual artist from Scotland. She was nominated for the Turner Prize and represented Scotland at the 54th Venice Biennale. She has exhibited at many international institutions, including the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) in Dublin, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, Dallas Museum of Art, the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow, the Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin, the Kunsthalle Nürnberg in Nuremberg, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zürich, Kunstverein in Hamburg, Modern Art Oxford in England, David Zwirner Gallery in New York, Galerie Gisele Capitain in Köln, and the Inverleith House in the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. Her work is in Museum collections worldwide, including the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Tate Gallery, London. A number of books have been published on her work. Her sculpture, ‘There Can be No Arguments’, is the cover image for Clinical Encounters in Sexuality.

 

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April 13, 2018  

Dr Olga Cox Cameron

SESSION 1: Theories of Sexuality 113 Years after Freud’s ‘Three Essays’

Description: Session one considers the continued importance and influence of Freud’s ‘Three Essays’ for contemporary considerations of sexuality, as well as more recent contributions by writers working in clinical contexts and academia. The session begins with four brief, informal responses (10 mins each) to Freud’s ‘Three Essays’, followed by discussion with delegates.

Dr Olga Cox Cameron is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Dublin, Ireland for the past thirty years. She lectured in psychoanalytic theory and also on psychoanalysis and literature at St Vincent’s University Hospital and Trinity College Dublin from 1991 to 2013, and has published numerous articles in national and international journals, including The Letter: Irish Journal for Lacanian Psychoanalysis, Lacunae: APPI International Journal for Lacanian Psychoanalysis, The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, Studies in Gender and Sexuality and American Imago among others. She is also a member of Lacunae’s editorial board. She is the founder of the annual Irish Psychoanalysis and Film Festival, which will be in its ninth year in 2018 with the theme: ‘Freud’s Question: What Does a Woman Want?’ Olga is currently lecturing on the MSc in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy at Trinity College Dublin on ‘Psychoanalysis and Cinema’.

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April 13, 2018  

DR Meg-John Barker

SESSION 2: What Might Clinical Psychoanalysis Learn from Queer Theories of Sexuality?

Session two begins by talking about the Introduction (by Noreen) and Afterword (by Eve) to Clinical Encounters in Sexuality, before broadening out the discussion to consider the ways in which queer theories of sexuality might enrich and enliven clinical psychoanalytic considerations of sexuality. The session begins with four brief, informal responses (10 mins each), followed by discussion with delegates.

Dr Meg-John Barker is the author of a number of popular books on sex, gender, and relationships, including Queer: A Graphic History (with Julia Scheele); How To Understand Your Gender (with Alex Iantaffi); Enjoy Sex (How, When, and IF You Want To) (with Justin Hancock); Rewriting the Rules, The Psychology of Sex; and The Secrets of Enduring Love (with Jacqui Gabb). They have also written numerous books, articles, chapters, and reports for scholars and counsellors, drawing on their own research and therapeutic practice. In particular they have focused their academic-activist work on the topics of bisexuality, open non-monogamy, sadomasochism, non-binary gender, and Buddhist mindfulness. Barker is currently a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the Open University. They co-founded the journal Psychology & Sexuality and the activist-research organisation BiUK, through which they published The Bisexuality Report. They have advised many organisations, therapeutic bodies, and governmental departments on matters relating to gender, sexual, and relationship diversity (GSRD). They are also involved in facilitating many public events on sexuality and relationships, including Sense about Sex and Critical Sexology

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April 13, 2018  

Dr Lisa Baraitser

SESSION 3: ‘Experience’ & ‘Encounter’ in Practice & Theory

Session three begins with each discussant giving a brief, informal talk (10 mins each) on the speaker’s understanding of the two terms ‘experience’ and ‘encounter’ based on the discussant’s practice as a clinician and/or an artist and/or a theorist. ‘Experience’ and ‘encounter’ are two central concepts underpinning the book Clinical Encounters in Sexuality.

Dr Lisa Baraitser is Reader in Psychosocial Studies in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. She was recently awarded a Collaborative Award (£1.2 million) by the Wellcome Trust for ‘Waiting Times’, a five-year cycle of research with Professor Laura Salisbury, on temporality and care in health contexts (mental health treatment, the GP encounter, and end of life care). She is the author of Maternal Encounters: The Ethics of Interruption (Routledge 2009) and Enduring Time (Bloomsbury 2017), and the editor of A Feeling for Things, a collection of essays on the work of Jane Bennett which is forthcoming from punctum books. She is the general co-editor of the online, peer-reviewed journal Studies in the Maternal, and formerly general co-editor of the journal Studies in Gender & Sexuality (Routledge). She is co-convener of Mapping Maternal Subjectivities, Identities and Ethics (MAMSIE), an international interdisciplinary research network. She has engaged in training in psychology, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Lisa is a psychodynamic psychotherapist in independent practice, and a Candidate at the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London. She was previously the Artistic Director of an experimental theatre collective known as PUR.

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April 13, 2018  

Dr Ona Nierenberg

SESSION 1: Theories of Sexuality 113 Years after Freud’s ‘Three Essays’

Session one considers the continued importance and influence of Freud’s ‘Three Essays’ for contemporary considerations of sexuality, as well as more recent contributions by writers working in clinical contexts and academia. The session begins with four brief, informal responses (10 mins each) to Freud’s ‘Three Essays’, followed by discussion with delegates.

Dr Ona Nierenberg is a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City and a Senior Psychologist at Bellevue Hospital Center, where she was Director of HIV Psychological Services for thirteen years. She is also a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center, a member of Après-Coup Psychoanalytic Association, New York, an Overseas Member of the Association for Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy in Ireland, and an Honorary Member of Lacan Toronto. Her reviews, essays and articles have been published internationally in books and journals, including papers on psychoanalysis, sexuality and the discourse of science, as well as on licensing and the question of lay analysis. Among her current interests are the history of psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic institutionalization and transmission, and fate and chance.

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April 13, 2018  

Raluca Soreanu

SESSION 2: What Might Clinical Psychoanalysis Learn from Queer Theories of Sexuality?

Session two begins by talking about the Introduction (by Noreen) and Afterword (by Eve) to Clinical Encounters in Sexuality, before broadening out the discussion to consider the ways in which queer theories of sexuality might enrich and enliven clinical psychoanalytic considerations of sexuality. The session begins with four brief, informal responses (10 mins each), followed by discussion with delegates.

Dr Raluca Soreanu is Wellcome Trust Fellow in Medical Humanities in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. She is a psychoanalyst in private practice, an associate member of the Círculo Psicanalítico do Rio de Janeiro (CPRJ), and of the Instituto de Estudos da Complexidade (IEC), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is the author of Working-through Collective Wounds: Trauma, Denial, Recognition in the Brazilian Uprising (forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan 2018) and of various articles in psychoanalytic theory and psychosocial studies. She is studying the Balint Archives, held by the British Psychoanalytical Society, with a four-year research project supported by the Wellcome Trust that looks at the relationship between psychoanalysis and medicine in Michael Balint’s group work with medical doctors. She has recently joined the research team of the ‘Waiting Times’ Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award, led by Dr Lisa Baraitser and Professor Laura Salisbury. She has a particular interest in the work of the psychoanalysts Sándor Ferenczi and Michael Balint. She is convener of the Psychoanalysis Working Group at Birkbeck.

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January 19, 2018  

Jonathan Sklar
Thinking on the Border - Memory and the Trauma in Society

How does an individual human being return from the far reaches of certain terrible experiences?

From the trenches of the Somme. From the sewers of the Warsaw Ghetto. From cities bombed to oblivion such as Dresden, Coventry or the Atomic destruction of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. To the random bombings around the World today and attacks on the meaning of life, or mass movements of people risking death to escape violence and death. And these continuing tragedies contributing to the severe rise in anti-immigrant rhetoric and prejudice.

Walter Benjamin developed a view that prior to the First World War, experience was passed down through the generations in the form of folklore and fairy tales. “With the war came the severing of the red thread of experience” which had connected previous generations. (XI The Storyteller). “The fragile human body that emerged from the trenches was mute, unable to narrate the ‘force field’ of destructive torrents and explosions” that had engulfed it. It was as if the good enriching soil of the fable had become the sticky mud of the trenches, which would bear no fruit but only moulder as a graveyard. “Where do you hear words from the dying that last and that pass from one generation to the next like a precious ring?” Benjamin asks in Experience and Poverty.

In this psychosomatic paper I will give an intellectual and emotional account of being in such experiences.

Jonathan Sklar is an Independent Training Analyst of the British Psychoanalytical Association and a current member of the IPA board. He is a Past Vice-President of the European Psychoanalytical Federation (EPF) and teaches three times a year in Chicago and regularly in East Europe and South Africa. Publications include Landscapes of the Dark – History, trauma, psychoanalysis (2011) and Balint Matters - Psychosomatics and the Art of Assessment (2017) both published by Karnac Books

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January 19, 2018  

Olivia Humphreys
Oneironauts - the Dream Travellers

Synopsis
In the ten years since she died, my mother has made regular appearances in my dreams. 'Oneironauts - the Dream Travellers' considers how these 'meetings' between us have changed over time.

Olivia Humphreys is a radio producer and documentary filmmaker living in London.
Her radio work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service, WNYC and ABC Radio National, and her films have been screened in over fifty festivals worldwide.

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January 19, 2018  

Caroline Bainbridge (author and lecturer)
On the Experience of a Melancholic Gaze

This talk focuses on Lars von Trier’s 2011 film, Melancholia, decribed as ‘a beautiful film about the end of the world’ and interlocking personal and global tragedy. Drawing directly on my personal emotional response to the film, and referring to a profound incapacity to talk about it for many years after my initial encounter with it, I will turn to object relations psychoanalysis to think about what such experience has to say about our lived emotional relationship to cinema and its role in shaping and articulating psychological states. The talk touches on debates about the cinematic gaze and the role of film as a psychological argument and considers whether film might be seen as offering a form of therapeutic encounter for viewers.

Caroline Bainbridge is Professor of Culture and Psychoanalysis at the University of Roehampton. She is author of The Cinema of Lars von Trier (2007) and A Feminine Cinematics (2008), and co-editor of several volumes on psychoanalysis and culture, including Television and Psychoanalysis (2013) and Media and the Inner World (2014), and special editions of journals including Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, and Free Associations. The latter collections arise from the AHRC-funded Media and the Inner World research network, which Caroline co-directs. She is Film Editor of The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, and series co-editor of the ‘Psychoanalysis and Popular Culture’ list for Karnac Books. She writes enthusiastically on matters of gender, psychoanalysis, and feminism, and is an advocate of a return to psychoanalytic ideas in her home discipline of Media and Cultural Studies.

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January 19, 2018  

Deborah Levy (writer)
in conversation with Katie Lewis (psychotherapist)
In this session Deborah Levy will read from and talk about her work and discuss its relation to the themes of mourning and melancholia.

Deborah Levy is a playwright, novelist, and poet. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company and she is the author of novels including Beautiful Mutants, Swallowing Geography, Billy and Girl, and the Booker-shortlisted Swimming Home. Her latest novel is Hot Milk, about the fraught relationship between a young woman and her dying mother. Her dramatisations of Freud's case histories of Dora and the Wolfman were broadcast on Radio 4 in 2012.

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January 19, 2018  

Jessa Fairbrother
Conversations with my mother

Synopsis
Conversations with my mother is my work on maternal loss, made during the period in which I lost my remaining parent to cancer while simultaneously experiencing miscarriage and failed fertility treatments. I will perform the text piece to this work, accompanying projected images of original hand-made photographs which are burned, stitched and hand-marked.

Jessa Fairbrother is an artist who explores the familiar and the personal, where yearning, performance and a needle meet each other in photography. After obtaining a BA in English from Durham University, studying at drama school and working in regional journalism, she later lectured in photography before completing an MA in Photographic Studies from the University of Westminster in 2010. She is the recipient of bursaries and honourable mentions in the UK, Europe and Canada and had a solo show in 2017 at the Vittoria Street Gallery in Birmingham City University. In 2016 she produced Conversations with my mother as a limited edition Artist Book which is held in the international collections of Yale Center for British Art (US) as well as libraries at the Victoria and Albert Museum (UK) and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (US).

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January 19, 2018  

Ken Robinson:

Who is it that can tell me who I am?': King Lear and The Last Laugh 

This paper considers the failure to mourn the loss of role and identity in retirement and redundancy, using the examples of King Lear and W. F. Murnau’s silent film The Last Laugh (1924).

Ken Robinsonis a psychoanalyst in private practice in Newcastle upon Tyne, a Member and former Honorary Archivist of the British Psychoanalytical Society and Visiting Professor of Psychoanalysis at Northumbria University. He is a training analyst for child and adolescent and adult psychotherapy in the North of England and lectures, teaches and supervises in the UK and Europe. Before training as a psychoanalyst he taught English Literature and the History of Ideas in University and maintains an interest in the overlap between psychoanalysis, the arts and humanities. He is especially interested in the nature of therapeutic action, trauma, and creativity. Recent publications include "Empathy, tact and the freedom to be natural" American Journal of Psychoanalysis (2014), "On not being able to symbolise" British Journal of Psychotherapy (2014), and "The ins and outs of listening as a psychoanalyst" Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication (2015). He has contributed the introduction to the first volume of the Collected Works of Winnicott, edited by Lesley Caldwell and Helen Taylor Robinson (2017) and has a forthcoming essay on "Creativity in everyday life" in Donald W. Winnicott and the History of the Present ed. Angela Joyce (Karnac).

 

 

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December 8, 2017  

Joanna Ryan in discussion with Barry Watt

Class and psychoanalysis - Joanna Ryan

What does psychoanalysis have to say about the emotional landscapes of class, the hidden injuries and disavowed privileges? How does class figure in clinical work and what part does it play in psychotherapeutic trainings?

In these times of increasing inequality, Joanna Ryan will discuss aspects of her timely new book Class and Psychoanalysis: Landscapes of Inequality, exploring what can be learned about the psychic formations of class, and the class formations of psychoanalysis. Addressing some of the many challenges facing a psychoanalysis that aims to include class in its remit, she holds the tension between the radical and progressive potential of psychoanalysis, in its unique understandings of the unconscious, with its status as a mainly expensive and exclusive practice.

The aim of this evening’s discussion, part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis, is to open up debate about this important but neglected subject.

“Class and Psychoanalysis is a text of great importance. Joanna Ryan writes in a clear and objective way about the neglect of social class in psychoanalysis, yet behind this objectivity is a passionate involvement that will strike a chord with all concerned psychoanalysts and psychotherapists. The book presents the best available overview of the history, theory and practice of psychoanalysis in relation to social class, combining this with interview material from the author’s own studies of psychotherapists to give a detailed and compelling picture of how class enters the consulting room. Engaging with this profound yet accessible book is essential for all who care about class injuries and how we might find ways to respond to them.” - Stephen Frosh, Professor of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck, University of London

Joanna Ryan, Ph.D., is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist; she has worked widely in clinical practice, teaching and supervision; in academic research; and in the politics of psychotherapy. She is co-author (with N. O'Connor) of Wild Desires and Mistaken Identities: Lesbianism and Psychoanalysis; co-editor (with S. Cartledge) of Sex and Love: New Thoughts on Old Contradictions; author of The Politics of Mental Handicap and many other publications.

Barry Watt is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, a senior psychotherapist at the Psychosis Therapy Project, a member of The Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis and a social housing activist and campaigner.

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December 1, 2017  

Bella Freud (Fashion designer) in conversation with Amanda Harlech (Creative consultant and writer):

Bella Freud is a London-born fashion desiigner and film maker. She is renowned for her signature jumpers Je t’aime Jane, Ginsberg is God and 1970. Fans of her work include Alexa Chung, Laura Bailey, Kate Moss and Alison Mosshart. Bella Freud launched her eponymous label in 1990 and won Most Innovative Designer at the London Fashion Awards in 1991, when she produced a Super 8 short film ‘Day at the Races’ as an alternative to a fashion show. Bella continued to produce films and seasonal catwalk shows and in 1999 began her fashion film collaboration with John Malkovich. Between 2004 and 2006 Bella was appointed head of womenswear for the relaunch of Biba. She has also consulted for Miss Selfridge and Jaeger.

In 2011 Bella co-wrote an experimental short film Submission with Bafta winning director Martina Amati and in 2013 she art directed the short film Je T’Ecoute, starring Lara Stone, which screened at White Cube Bermondsey. Bella’s directorial debut was ‘Girl Boils Egg’, a two minute film commissioned by Nick Knight for SHOWstudio.com

Bella has an ongoing Blank Canvas collaboration with Fred Perry and a range of perfume and scented candles inspired by her signature sweaters. The first Bella Freud stand alone store is located at 49 Chiltern Street, London.

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December 1, 2017  

Shaun Cole (biog)
The ‘Great Masculine Renunciation’ Re-assessed

Dr Shaun Cole is Associate Dean Postgraduate Communities at London College of Fashion. He was formerly Head of Contemporary Programmes at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where he curated several exhibitions, most notably Graphic Responses to AIDS (1996), Dressing the Male (1999) and Black British Style (2004). He is Vice Chair of the Costume Society UK and associate editor of the journal Fashion Style and Popular Culture. He was consultant on exhibitions A Queer History of Fashion (FIT New York) and Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s (V&A, London). Shaun Cole has also written and lectured on the subject of menswear and gay fashion and his publications include ‘Don We Now Our Gay Apparel’: Gay Men’s Dress in the Twentieth Century (2000), Dialogue: Relationships in Graphic Design (2005) The Story of Men's Underwear (2010) and Fashion Media: Past and Present (2013).

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December 1, 2017  

Philip Mann:
The Dandy : Pathological Hero of Modernism

Philip Mann was born in Hanover, Germany, and moved to England in 1988 where he acquired a degree in the History of Art (First Class Honours). He went on to work with the Archigram group of architects, curating their major retrospective in Vienna in 1994. Since then he has written for various publications, notably Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Vogue. He is often invited to lecture about matters sartorial-dandiaecal in Vienna, New York, Bern and, of course, London. Mann has worked intermittently on what has become The Dandy at Dusk since 1998. It will be published by Head of Zeus in October, 2017.

 

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December 1, 2017  

Zowie Broach:

Introductory Thoughts

Zowie Broach is the head of fashion at London’s Royal College of Art. She first attracted attention for co-founding avant-garde fashion label, BOUDICCA. Launched in 1997 with her partner, Brian Kirkby. the line of highly conceptual designs and architecturally inspired tailoring became known for its non-conformist approach to commerce – for the first five years, Broach’s brand didn’t actually produces clothes for sale, other than private orders for friends. Consistently blurring the lines between fashion and art, Broach and Kirkby’s work has been displayed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as the Art Institute of Chicago.

Alongside her role as a designer and artist, Zowie Broach has been involved in fashion education for over a decade. Teaching for eight years at the University of Westminster in London, Parsons School of Design at The New School in New York, SAIC in Chicago and Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Between 2009 and 2011, Broach was appointed designer in residence at London College of Fashion.

As the head of fashion at the Royal College of Art, Broach has put an emphasis on the importance of artistic and intellectual experimentation, telling NY TIMES in June 2017: “From the moment I arrived here, I made it clear that I want these students to feel equipped to ask urgent questions,” and adding, “They need to feel a sense of ownership over their own cultures. They are the future, after all. It is my job is to make them feel empowered and confident enough to have strong, distinctive points of view." After the RCA’s 2015 MA graduate fashion show, the first under Broach’s instruction, Suzy Menkes declared Broach’s appointment heralded a “new era” in London fashion.

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December 1, 2017  

Valerie Steele:

Freud and Fashion

Valerie Steele is director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she has organized more than 25 exhibitions since 1997, including The Corset, London Fashion, Gothic: Dark Glamour; Daphne Guinness, A Queer History of Fashion, Dance and Fashion and Proust’s Muse.

She is also the author or editor of more than 25 books, including Paris Fashion, Women of Fashion, Fetish: Fashion, Sex and Power, The Corset, The Berg Companion to Fashion, and. Fashion Designers A-Z: The Collection of The Museum at FIT. Her books have been translated into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian. In addition, she is founder and editor in chief of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, the first peer-reviewed, scholarly journal in Fashion Studies.

Steele combines serious scholarship (and a Yale Ph.D) with the rare ability to communicate with general audiences. As author, curator, editor, and public intellectual, Valerie Steele has been instrumental in creating the modern field of fashion studies and in raising awareness of the cultural significance of fashion. She has appeared on many television programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show and Undressed: The Story of Fashion. Described in The Washington Post as one of “fashion’s brainiest women” and by Suzy Menkes as “The Freud of Fashion,” she was listed as one of “The People Shaping the Global Fashion Industry” in the Business of Fashion 500: (2014 and 2015).

 

 

 

 

 

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December 1, 2017  

Mary Wild:
Cinematic repetition in The Duke of Burgundy and Paterson

Mary Wild’s contribution to the Symposium will be to locate and analyse repetition compulsion, uncanny excess of life, and the Nietzschean eternal return in two recent cinema releases: Peter Strickland's The Duke of Burgundy (2014), about a woman who tests the limits of her relationship with her lesbian lover, and Jim Jarmusch's Paterson (2016), a quiet observation of the triumphs and defeats of daily life along with the poetry evident in its smallest details. The Freudian death drive will be shown to have very little to do with the desire for self-destruction, or for the return to an inorganic state; it is rather, as Slavoj Zizek says in The Parallax View, “the very opposite of dying – a name for the ‘undead’ eternal life itself, for the horrible fate of being caught in the endless repetitive cycle of wandering around in guilt and pain.”

Mary Wild is the creator of the popular PROJECTIONS lecture series (psychoanalysis for film interpretation), which has been running regularly at Freud Museum London since 2012. She teaches in the Humanities department at City Lit and is featured in the Shoreditch House cinema events programme. She has produced similar events at ICA, BFI, NYU and Central Saint Martins. Her interests include cinematic representations of identity, the unconscious, hysteria, neoliberal economics, mental illness and love. 

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December 1, 2017  

Gwion Jones
Eternal Recurrence: An obsessional nightmare?

If we interrogate Nietsche’s notion of eternal recurrence in the light of Lacan’s pronouncements on repetition from Seminar 11, of a failed attempt at mastery over desire, we arrive at a very different appreciation of its dialectic. Using this question as my starting point I propose to apply Lacan's thesis to the psychical operation of magical notions of time in particular, as manifest in obsessional neurosis, thereby extrapolating its implications for the wider themes of the symposium; namely the operation of mythic narratives in human subjectivity more generally, and of the abiding lure of spiritual ideas of fate and destiny. The aim of this argument is to follow a path originally laid down by Jacques Derrida in reconceptualising the influence of Nietzsche on the development of Freud’s metapsychology, through this pathologisation of Nietsche’s seminal thesis.

Gwion Jones is a psychoanalyst working in private practice as well as lecturer in psychology at Coventry University.

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December 1, 2017  

Dany Nobus
Freud’s Nietzsche: Eternal Recurrence, Symptomatic Acts and the Practice of Gift-Giving.

For his seventieth birthday on 6 May 1926, Otto Rank sent Freud a precious gift from Paris: the special edition of the Musarionausgabe of Nietzsche’s complete works. To Rank’s wife, Freud expressed how pleased he was with the unexpected present; to Ernest Jones, he conceded that it had clearly been a symptomatic act on Rank’s part. Nonetheless, when time came for Freud to pack his belongings in 1938, he could not leave the volumes behind, and they currently occupy a central place in his library at Maresfield Gardens. Over the years, Rank’s gift has been interpreted in different ways, yet little has been said about Freud’s acceptance of this Nietzsche, and even less about whether he actually read any of the books. And what happened to the Nietzsche Freud had bought in 1900, and of which he said to Fließ that he would hope to find words in it for much that had remained mute in him?

Dany Nobus is Professor of Psychoanalytic Psychology at Brunel University London, where he also convenes the MA Programme in Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Society. In addition, he is the Chair of the Freud Museum London, and the author of numerous publications on the history, theory and practice of psychoanalysis. In April 2017, he was presented with the Sarton medal of the University of Ghent for his contributions to the history and theory of psychoanalysis, which coincided with the publication of a new book entitled The Law of Desire: On Lacan’s “Kant with Sade”.

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December 1, 2017  

Sebastian Gardner
Figures of Thought and Unconscious Configurations in Nietzsche and Freud

I begin by rehearsing briefly the interpretative difficulties familiarly posed by Nietzsche's conception of eternal recurrence. Is eternal recurrence a cosmological or metaphysical hypothesis? Is it a metaphorical formulation of some doctrine of Nietzsche's? Or a thought-experiment with diagnostic value? Or a fiction with ethical and therapeutic import? I suggest that, although the idea of eternal recurrence makes sense as a piece of metaphysics, the indeterminacy of its status – its resistance to classification ¬– is integral to its meaning, as Nietzsche conceives it. In order to address the further question, concerning how eternal recurrence may be related to psychoanalytic theory, I take up the suggestion, found in hermeneutical construals of Freud, that the unconscious exhibits a ''causality of fate''. This allows us, I suggest, to join Nietzsche and Freud on a single conceptual plane without confusing their fundamentally distinct projects.

Sebastian Gardner is Professor of Philosophy at University College London. His interests are in Kant, post-Kantian idealism, C19 German philosophy, aesthetics, and the philosophy of psychoanalysis. He is the author of Irrationality and the Philosophy of Psychoanalysis (CUP, 1993), Kant and the 'Critique of Pure Reason' (Routledge, 1999), and Sartre's 'Being and Nothingness' (Continuum, 2009). The Transcendental Turn (OUP), a collection of papers co-edited with Matthew Grist, appeared in 2015.

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November 10, 2017  

Following a widely attended talk earlier this year, Professor Craig Clunas returns for another fascinating exploration into Freud’s Chinese collection as part of Asian Art in London 2017.

Freud's passion for, and avid collecting of antiquities is well known, but attention has tended to focus on the objects he owned from the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean; Greece and Rome, and Ancient Egypt. His Chinese collections, begun later in life, are by contrast less well known and relatively little-discussed, even though Chinese objects were literally staring him in the face as he sat at his desk, as many now-iconic images show. His beloved dogs were in a sense 'Chinese' too (and certainly had Chinese names). This lecture looks at Freud's Chinese objects, and at knowledge about those objects, situating him in the context of late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century ideas of the ‘East', and examining some surprising parallels with his close contemporary, the archaeologist Sir Marc Aurel Stein (1862-1943).

Craig Clunas is Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford, and the first scholar of Asian art to hold this Chair. He has worked as a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as teaching art history at the universities of Chicago and Sussex, and at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Visual China Research Centre, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou. In 2014 he co-curated the British Museum exhibition, 'Ming: 50 Years that Changed China'. His most recent book, based on the 2012 Mellon lectures delivered at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, is ‘Chinese Painting and its Audiences’ (2017).

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November 10, 2017  

Author's Talk: Eric Smadja

In Freud and Culture, we explore the representations of society and culture that Freud developed in the course of his work and we shall distinguish two periods. Distinct from contemporary sociological and anthropological conceptions, they led to his construction of a personal socio-anthropology that was virulently criticised by the social sciences. But what exactly is meant here by “culture” and “society”? Do we mean Freud’s own Viennese society or Western “civilised” society in general? In addition, Freud was interested in historical and “primitive” societies from the evolutionist perspective of the British anthropologists of his time. Our work considers the interrelationship between these different societies and cultures, and raises many questions. What constitutes a culture? What are its essential traits, its functions, its relationships with society, for example. Moreover, we present the Freudian central notion of Kulturarbeit, which is constructed from a strictly Freudian perspective.

Eric Smadja is a psychiatrist, a psychoanalyst, a member of the Société psychanalytique de Paris and of the International Psychoanalytical Association, a couples psychoanalyst. He is also an anthropologist, an associate member of the American Anthropological Association and a member of the Society for Psychological Anthropology.

In 2007, he was awarded the IPA’s Prize for “Exceptional Contribution made to Psychoanalytical Research”.

His works are pluri and interdisciplinary in nature and his current research deals with : “Freud, Durkheim and Mauss: on Symbolism and Symbolization”

He is the author of the following books:

Laughter (Le Rire) “Que sais-je” series, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, April 1993 (1st ed.), September 2011 (4th ed.); 1st English edition, September 2013 (College Publications, London);

The Oedipus Complex, Crystallizer of the Debate between Psychoanalysis and Anthropology (Le complexe d’Œdipe, cristallisateur du débat psychanalyse/anthropologie), Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2009. An English forthcoming edition by Routledge in June 2017.

- The Couple: A Pluridisciplinary Story (Le Couple et son Histoire) Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, March 2011 (1st edition) ; 1st English edition in June 2016 (Routledge).

Couples in Psychoanalysis (Ed.) (Couples en psychanalyse) (Dir.), Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, May 2013.

Freud and Culture (Freud et la Culture), Paris : Presses Universitaires de France, September 2013 ; A first English Edition by Karnac Books and The International Psychoanalytical Association.

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November 10, 2017  

Panel discussion: Joseph Berke, Stephen Frosh, Tali Loewenthal and Anthony Stadlen

Predominantly, Sigmund Freud saw himself as an objective scientist. Initially, he gained renown as an anatomist, being the first person to dissect the testicles of an eel. Subsequently he made major contributions to histology and neurology, particularly through his study of Aphasia. Yet he became famous for his study of subjectivity and intersubjectivity.

At the same time, he decried religion, including his own, as mired in magic and superstition. And he repeatedly denied that his work was a 'Jewish science,' even though he and almost all the founding fathers of psychoanalysis were Jewish, and his basic discoveries were rooted in the Jewish mystical tradition. That was the overt Freud.

The covert Freud confessed that he was "not at all a man of science," rather an emotional "conquistador and adventurer." Moreover he maintained mystical texts in his library and, at times, studied with a distinguished Kabbalist, Rabbi Alexandre Safran.

In 1977 on the creation Sigmund Freud Chair of Psychoanalysis at the Hebrew University, his daughter, Anna, addressed the issue of her father's work being a "Jewish science." She said that however much psychoanalysis may be dismissed for being unscientific or overly Jewish, she now believed that the term could now serve as a "title of honor."

The discussants will consider whether this is still, or ever was, the case.

JOSEPH BERKE

MD, FRSM, FDAmBMPP
Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, Individuals and Families
Co_Founder, Arbours Association
Founder and Director, Arbours Crisis Centre
Lecturer and Writer
Books include, Mary Barnes: Two Accounts of a Journey Through Madness ( with M. Barnes) Why I Hate You and You Hate Me and most recently The Hidden Freud: His Hassidic Roots

STEPHEN FROSH

Pro-Vice-Master and Professor in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of many books and papers on psychosocial studies and on psychoanalysis, including Feelings, Psychoanalysis Outside the Clinic, A Brief Introduction to Psychoanalytic Theory, and The Politics of Psychoanalysis. He has written two books on psychoanalysis and Jewish identities: Hate and the Jewish Science: Anti-Semitism, Nazism and Psychoanalysis, and Hauntings: Psychoanalysis and Ghostly Transmissions.

TALI LOEWENTHAL

Dr Naftali Loewenthal was born in Haifa but was brought up in London. He is an adjunct lecturer at the Dept of Hebrew and Jewish Studies of UCL, lecturing in Jewish Spirituality. He authored Communicating the Infinite: the Emergence of the Habad School (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990) and many scholarly articles. His forthcoming book with the Littman Library is entitled “Hippy in the Mikveh, Essays on Habad Thought and History”.

He also directs the Chabad Research Unit, an educational organisation running study groups and producing ‘Friday Night’ for discussion at the Shabbat table, and teaches Religious Studies in the Lubavitch Senior Girls School. He is married to Professor Kate-Miriam Loewenthal. They have a large family.

ANTHONY STADLEN

Anthony Stadlen is an existential and psychoanalytic psychotherapist (UKCP, BPC), Daseinsanalyst (IFDA Independent Effective Member for UK), family analyst and teacher. Research Fellow of Freud Museum 1988-90. Since 1979 has conducted historical research on the paradigm case studies of Freud, Binswanger, Boss, Laing, Esterson, and other therapists. Author of many papers including 'Was Dora wel ziek?' in Vrij Nederland (1985); 'Freud's Judaism: Renewal and Betrayal' in Is Psychoanalysis Another Religion (1993, published by Freud Museum); 'The Madhouse of Being' in Daseinsanalyse (2007). Convenor since 1996 of Inner Circle Seminars, London, an existential, phenomenological search for truth in the foundations of psychotherapy. Lay leyener (Torah scroll reciter) and chazan (cantor) at Belsize Square Synagogue.

 
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Professor Dany Nobus is joined by eminent scholar, author, journalist and psychoanalyst Élisabeth Roudinesco to discuss her latest book, Freud: In His Time and Ours.

Freud: In His Time and Ours by Elisabeth Roudinesco

Élisabeth Roudinesco offers a bold and modern reinterpretation of the iconic founder of psychoanalysis. Based on new archival sources, this is Freud’s biography for the twenty-first century—a critical appraisal, at once sympathetic and impartial, of a genius greatly admired and yet greatly misunderstood in his own time and in ours.

Roudinesco traces Freud’s life from his upbringing as the eldest of eight siblings in a prosperous Jewish-Austrian household to his final days in London, a refugee of the Nazis’ annexation of his homeland. She recreates the milieu of fin de siècle Vienna in the waning days of the Habsburg Empire—an era of extraordinary artistic innovation, given luster by such luminaries as Gustav Klimt, Stefan Zweig, and Gustav Mahler. In the midst of it all, at the modest residence of Berggasse 19, Freud pursued his clinical investigation of nervous disorders, blazing a path into the unplumbed recesses of human consciousness and desire.

“Through seamlessly and eloquently weaving together details from Freud’s time and our own, [Roudinesco] provides a refreshingly new and welcome account—warts and all.”—Janet Sayers, Times Higher Education

“What makes Freud: In His Time And Ours…such a captivating read, is the author’s ability to explain what are often complex, deeply-layered, and dark taboo subjects, into a language that is easily understood… [A] brilliant biography.”—J. P. O’Mallery, The Irish Examiner

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September 8, 2017  

Taking his latest novel An English Guide to Birdwatching as a starting point, Nicholas Royle talks with psychoanalyst and writer Adam Phillips about how literature and psychoanalysis can speak to and of each other.

An English Guide to Birdwatching

Dazzling in its linguistic playfulness and formal invention, An English Guide to Birdwatching explores the rich hinterland between fact and fiction. In its focus on birds, climate change, the banking crisis, social justice and human migration, it is intensely relevant to wider political concerns; in its mischievous wit and wordplay, it pushes the boundaries of what a novel might be. Royle’s novel engages deeply with Freud, especially in the context of ‘the uncanny’.

“This is a novel operating at the outer edges of the form, deep in the avant-garde... play[ing] brilliantly in the fertile ground between fiction and memoir. An English Guide to Birdwatching is Rachel Cusk rewritten by Georges Bataille, full of strange sex, sudden violence and surreal twists. Illuminated throughout with gorgeous illustrations by Natalia Gasson, this is a novel that will charm, unsettle and baffle in equal measure.”

Alex Preston, Financial Times

An English Guide to Birdwatching is available from the Freud Museum Shop.

Nicholas Royle has been Professor of English at the University of Sussex since 1999. He established the MA/PhD programme in Creative and Critical Writing in 2001 and is founding director of the Centre for Creative and Critical Thought. He has published many critical books, including Telepathy and Literature (1991), The Uncanny (2003) and Veering (2011), as well as numerous essays about Freud, literature and psychoanalysis. His first novel, Quilt, was published in 2010.

Adam Phillips is a practising psychoanalyst and a visiting professor in the English department at the University of York. He writes regularly for the London Review of Books, the Observer and the New York Times, and he is General Editor of the Penguin Modern Classics Freud translations. In his latest publication In Writing (Hamish Hamilton, June 2017) Phillips celebrates the art of close reading and asks what it is to defend literature in a world that is increasingly devaluing language.

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In The Not-Two, Lorenzo Chiesa examines the treatment of logic and God in Lacan’s later work.

The Not-Two: Logic and God in Lacan

Chiesa draws for the most part from Lacan’s Seminars of the early 1970s, as they revolve around the axiom "There is no sexual relationship." Chiesa provides both a close reading of Lacan’s effort to formalize sexual difference as incompleteness and an assessment of its broader implications for philosophical realism and materialism.

Chiesa argues that "There is no sexual relationship" is for Lacan empirically and historically circumscribed by psychoanalysis, yet self-evident in our everyday lives. Lacan believed that we have sex because we love, and that love is a desire to be One in face of the absence of the sexual relationship. Love presupposes a real "not-two." The not-two condenses the idea that our love and sex lives are dictated by the impossibility of fusing man’s contradictory being with the heteros of woman as a fundamentally uncountable Other. Sexual liaisons are sustained by a transcendental logic, the so-called phallic function that attempts to overcome this impossibility.

Chiesa also focuses on Lacan’s critical dialogue with modern science and formal logic, as well as his dismantling of sexuality as considered by mainstream biological discourse. Developing a new logic of sexuation based on incompleteness requires the relinquishing of any alleged logos of life and any teleological evolution.

For Lacan, the truth of incompleteness as approached psychoanalytically through sexuality would allow us to go further in debunking traditional onto-theology and replace it with a “para-ontology” yet to be developed. Given the truth of incompleteness, Chiesa asks, can we think such a truth in itself without turning incompleteness into another truth about truth, that is, into yet another figure of God as absolute being?

Lorenzo Chiesa is a philosopher who has published extensively on psychoanalysis. His works in this field include Subjectivity and Otherness: A Philosophical Reading of Lacan (MIT Press, 2007); Lacan and Philosophy: The New Generation (Re.press, 2014); The Not-Two: Logic and God in Lacan (MIT Press, 2016); and The Virtual Point of Freedom (Northwestern University Press, 2016). Since 2014, he has been Visiting Professor at the European University at Saint Petersburg and at the Freud’s Dream Museum of the same city. Previously, he was Professor of Modern European Thought at the University of Kent, where he founded and directed the Centre for Critical Thought.

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June 29, 2017  

In his latest publication In Writing acclaimed psychoanalyst and writer, Adam Phillips celebrates the art of close reading and asks what it is to defend literature in a world that is increasingly devaluing language in this enjoyable collection of essays on literature.

Through an exhilarating series of encounters with – and vivid readings of – writers he has loved, from Byron and Barthes to Shakespeare and Sebald, Phillips infuses the love of writing with deep insights drawn from his work as a practicing psychoanalyst to demonstrate, in his own unique style, how literature and psychoanalysis can speak to and of each other.

For Adam Phillips - as for Freud and many of his followers - poetry and poets have always held an essential place, as both precursors and unofficial collaborators in the psychoanalytic project. But the same has never held true in reverse. What, Phillips wonders, at the start of this deeply engaging book, has psychoanalysis meant for writers? And what can writing do for psychoanalysis?

He discusses how literature and psychoanalysis can speak to and of each other with psychoanalyst and writer, Josh Cohen.

'Reading Phillips, you may be amused, vexed, dazzled. But the one thing you will never be is bored.'
Observer

'It is a pleasure simply to hear him think.'
Sunday Telegraph

Adam Phillips is a practising psychoanalyst and a visiting professor in the English department at the University of York. He writes regularly for the London Review of Books, the Observer and the New York Times, and he is General Editor of the Penguin Modern Classics Freud translations. His most recent book is In Writing and he recently curated an exhibition, The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined, at the Barbican, London.

Josh Cohen is a psychoanalyst in private practice and Professor of Literary Theory at Goldsmiths University of London. He is the author of four books and numerous articles on psychoanalysis, modern literature and cultural theory, including How to Read Freud and, most recently, The Private Life: Why We Remain in the Dark. He is currently completing a book on inertia on psychic and cultural life, provisionally titled Not Working.

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June 8, 2017  

Freud biographer and practising psychoanalyst, Joel Whitebook, discusses his new book Freud: An Intellectual Biography

Offering a radically new portrait, Whitebook reconsiders Freud in light of recent developments in psychoanalytic theory and practice, gender studies, philosophy and cultural theory. He explores the man in all his complexity alongside a new interpretation of his theories that overturns many stereotypes that surround him.

An elegant foray into the man and his mind...rich and illuminating.
Guardian

Despite all attempts to bury him, Freud remains the ultimate revenant, haunting the 21st century. Whitebook shows how relevant many of Freud’s ideas remain.
Martin Jay, University of California, Berkeley

Joel Whitebook is a philosopher and psychoanalyst who maintained a private practice in New York City for twenty-five years. He is currently on the faculty of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, and he is the Director of the University's Psychoanalytic Studies Program.

 
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May 22, 2017  

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The Freud Museum is delighted to announce the exhibition of a new sculpture, Sleeping Beauty, by internationally renowned contemporary artist Franko B, coinciding with Refugee Week 2017 and our latest exhibition, The Best Possible School: Anna Freud, Dorothy Tiffany Burlingham and the Hietzing School in 1920s Vienna. The Museum will also display pieces from Franko B’s series Still Life, in which the artist documented homelessness on the streets of London between 1999 and 2002. The photographs reflect upon the lives of the most vulnerable in our society and reference Franko B’s personal biography.

Sleeping Beauty is a sculpture of a deceased refugee child, presumed to be from Syria, hand carved in marble using traditional methods in the style of Baroque sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Like Bernini, Franko B's practice is engaged with an aesthetic dialogue between the sacred and profane. However, in Franko B’s latest sculpture, the sacred is found in the figure of the child rendered eternally in marble and the profane within ourselves, our leaders, our states and institutions - crystallised in our collective failure to address the worst human crisis since the Second World War.

The practice of mass consumption and appropriation of imagery is key in Franko B’s art. It reflects upon the saturation of our cultures with images, a phenomenon that has only intensified in the age of the Internet. The action of stitching and painting these works on canvas, or in this case carving in marble is a deliberate attempt to bring the ephemera of our culture into carefully considered physical form. In these gestures of permanence, Franko B has made an impossibility of mindless deletion, of forgetting and of censorship.

Franko B (b. Milan 1960) is a contemporary artist whose practice spans drawing, installation, performance and sculpture. Over the years he has built up a diverse and sizable body of work and has gained international acclaim for his contribution to contemporary art.

Franko B Lives and works in London and is Professor of Sculpture at l’Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti di Torino, Italy, he is also a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, London and Northampton University. He has presented work internationally at; Tate Modern; ICA (London); South London Gallery; Arnolfini (Bristol); Palais des Beaux Artes (Brussels); Beaconsfiled (London); Bluecoat Museum (Liverpool); Tate Liverpool; RuArts Foundation (Moscow); Victoria and Albert Museum (London); Freud Museum (London); PAC (Milan); Contemporary Art Centre (Copenhagen) and many more. His works are in the collections of the Tate, Victoria and Albert Museum, South London Gallery, the permanent collection of the City of Milan and a/political, London.

The source image for Sleeping Beauty was taken by Syrian artist Khaled Barakeh and was shared on social media in August 2015, before being removed by moderators for a content violation.

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Claudia Rankine described the poems in Alsadir’s first book as 'lawless,' ‘provocative, and 'heart-breaking' as they converse from the inside out… come alive in the back and forth of a mind attempting to understand what it means to be in relation to. ’Fourth Person Singular continues to blow open the relationship between self and world in a working through of lyric shame, bending poetic form through fragment, lyric essay, aphorisms mined from the unconscious, and pop-up associations, to explore the complexities, congruities, disturbances - as well as the beauty - involved in self-representation in language. As unexpected as it is bold, Alsadir's ambitious tour de force demands we pay new attention to the current conversation about the nature of lyric – and human relationships – in the 21st century.

She talks to psychoanalyst and writer Josh Cohen about poetry, dreams, shame and related topics.

Praise for Fourth Person Singular:

‘To read Fourth Person Singular is to fall in love – that’s all I can say to capture the experience of being so scarily and exhilaratingly close to someone else’s thoughts on every vital page. Alsadir’s work is, as ever, full of astute observations and insights driven by a deep intellect, alive to the world and our fears, pressures, dreams and ideas. But there’s something greater here too: a unity of form and content, process and delivery which transfigures the conceptual and the lyric. I don't remember the last time I've read something which is at once so alive and so vigorously smart and ambitious; uniquely self-aware, caustically funny whilst constantly generous and compassionate. The rare joy of a writer finding the exact form for their voice and their mission. Essential reading.’

--Luke Kennard

'Fourth Person Singular is poetry that is neither verse nor exactly prose poetry, but aphorism, perception, quotation, annotation, a squeezing between the gaps in the windows and doorways of experience seeking for air. It is more than its pieces: it is a whole that is a form of understanding. It is that whole that is the complex and revelatory poem.'

--George Szirtes

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The Freud Memorial Lecture 2017

The 2017 Freud Memorial Lecture provides a rare opportunity to hear the world-renowned psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Salman Akhtar.

The so-called widening scope of psychoanalysis has led to emphasis upon psychodynamic constellations of splitting, projective identification, and other 'primitive' defences at the cost of inattention to the mechanism of repression. This presentation seeks to undo this trend by noting the profound and pervasive significance of repression in mental life. By carefully going over Freud's 1915 paper on Repression, this presentation will unmask four important binaries (primal vs. defensive, pushed down vs pulled under, banished vs. returned, and successful vs. failed) in this concept. The work of repression in pathologies organized around splitting etc. will also be highlighted. Ample social and clinical vignettes will be offered to illustrate the ideas proposed in this talk.

Professor Salman Akhtar is one of the most creative and prolific psychoanalysts writing today and has authored, edited or co-edited more than 300 publications including books on psychiatry and psychoanalysis and several collections of poetry. He has been a supporter of the Freud Museum for many years, and we are honoured that he is giving this prestigious lecture.

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April 4, 2017  

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William Rose’s novel The Strange Case of Madeleine Seguin is set in the rich and decadent world of the intelligentsia in Fin de Siècle Paris.

The book centres on the institution of the Salpetriere hospital. In the book the Salpetriere has progressed from its previous incarnation as a 'warehouse' for societies undesirables to a kind of human museum filled with subjects for Charcot to study. Rather than a prison, the hospital has become a laboratory for the vivisection of the hysterical mind. As theories of hysteria and female madness morph from animalistic and anatomical degeneracy to those of psychological trauma, the doctors at the Salpetriere in the novel drift towards Freudian theory. One of these young doctors named Lamond writes a letter to Freud in which he describes the unconscious as 'a veritable Salpetriere of the psyche which harbours ideas and emotional ventures we can scarce dare even think of'.

The church is another reoccurring theme in the novel, and parallels are drawn illustratively between religion and a kind of hysterical theatre. Charcot draws parallels in his studies between the behaviour of various saints and of those in the grip of a hysterical attack. Indeed, the concept of possession is present both in the occult and quasi-religious rituals that were becoming popular in the Fin de Siecle and also in the theatrical hypnotism Charcot performs on his patients at the public lectures held in the Salpetriere for the titillation of the aristocratic intelligentsia. The figure of Charcot represents the conflict between science and religion, and the church is a sinister force in the novel, providing a steady undercurrent of menace and tension which drives the plot forward and captures the attention.

Another thread of the novel is the development of the school of symbolist artists. We are introduced through a young artist to the intellectual salons of the ‘Mardistes’, including the poet Mallarme. The excursions into the artistic Parisian demi-monde add to the atmospheric milieu and set the scene which allows us to better understand the world in which these events happen. Indeed, the novel raises an interesting question over the differences between hysteria and the decadent decay into neurasthenic self-absorption.

The novel beautifully illustrates the skilfully interwoven threads of hysteria, art, the occult, and the Parisian fin de siècle demi monde and intelligentsia. Tension builds with a steady bubbling undercurrent of devil worship and the impending threat of the femme fatale. Hysteria is explored in the context of these societal factors and ideals of femininity, and this brings to mind the role of these factors and our ideals in our modern concepts of mental illness.

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Raul Moncayo in conversation with Dany Nobus

raul-moncayo-language-sinthome-jouissance-nomination.jpgLacan's Seminar XXIII on the Sinthome represents the culmination of a Seminar that spanned over two decades and represents an evolution of his thought where previous concepts are not abandoned but rather recontextualized within the context of new theory. As the topological knot of three represents the first theory presided by the Symbolic, the knot of four represents the final theory presided by the Real and a new conception of the symptom. Until recently Seminar XXIII was only available in English thanks to Cormac Gallagher unofficial translation, but now the official translation has been published as well as Raul Moncayo's commentary on the same.

Raul Moncayo is supervising analyst, founding member, and faculty of the San Francisco Bay Area Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis (LSP). He has a private practice of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, supervision, and consultation. Dr. Moncayo has published five books and many papers in professional journals and has over thirty years of clinical experience including being training director for many years of a large psychiatric clinic in San Francisco and being faculty at many universities both locally and internationally. His latest work, Lalangue, Sinthome, Jouissance, and Nomination: A Reading Companion and Commentary on Lacan's Seminar XXIII on the Sinthome, is published by Karnac.

Dany Nobus is Professor of Psychoanalytic Psychology at Brunel University London, where he also convenes the MA Programme in Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Society. In addition, he is the Chair of the Freud Museum London, and the author of numerous publications on the history, theory and practice of psychoanalysis. In April 2017, he will be presented with the Sarton medal of the University of Ghent for his contributions to the history and theory of psychoanalysis, and this will coincide with the publication of a new book entitled The Law of Desire: On Lacan’s “Kant with Sade”.

 

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Re-reading Freud's 1905 edition of Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality

This book presentation is devoted to the newly translated and annotated English edition of Freud’s 1905 Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (Verso, 2016).

Freud’s publication is one of the grounding texts of 20th-century European thinking. In it Freud develops a highly innovative theory of sexuality for which pathology serves as a model to understand human existence. Freud published this text five times during his lifetime. In the book presentation, the editors will highlight the potential of the text in its relevance for contemporary psychoanalytic theory. This potential concerns three main issues. First, the text is important as regards its theory of sexuality: infantile sexuality is seen as strictly autoerotic and without an object, and hence, cannot be described in oedipal terms – Freud’s first theory of sexuality is a non-oedipal theory. Second, Freud opts for a very interesting, "pathoanalytic“ perspective on sexuality, when using the psychoneuroses (especially hysteria) as the model to understand the general human sexual constitution. Third, Freud offers a profound critique of heteronormative and functional theories of sexuality and the perversions in his contemporary psychiatric and sexological literature. Re-reading the Three Essays shows that we have to reconsider the genesis of Freudian thinking, and psychoanalysis’ potential in contemporary debates on sexuality, gender and normativity. 

Biographies:

Philippe Van Haute is Professor at the Center for Contemporary European Philosophy, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and Extraordinary Professor of philosophy at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He is a psychoanalyst of the Belgian School for Psychoanalysis and a founding member of the Société internationale de psychanalyse et de philosophie/ International Society for Psychoanalysis and Philosophy. He has published numerous books, among them Against Adaptation (2002), Confusion of Tongues (with Tomas Geyskens, 2004), From Death Drive to Attachment Theory (with Tomas Geyskens, 2007), and A Non-oedipal Psychoanalysis? (with Tomas Geyskens, 2012). He is the coeditor of the book series Figures of the Unconscious (Louvain University Press).

Herman Westerink is Lecturer at the Center for Contemporary European Philosophy, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and Extraordinary Professor at the University of Leuven, Belgium. He is a member of the Société internationale de psychanalyse et de philosophie/International Society for Psychoanalysis and Philosophy. He has published numerous books and articles on psychoanalysis, including A Dark Trace: Sigmund Freud on the Sense of Guilt (2009) and The Heart of Man’s Destiny (2012). He is Editor of the book series Sigmund Freud's Werke: Wiener Interdisziplinäre Kommentare.

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Celebrity, Pornography and the Psychoanalysis of Self-Representation

Gareth Longstaff

Using the original concept of ‘Bodies that Stutter’ this paper focuses on the representational intersections between celebrity and pornography online.

To do this it will consider how contemporary practices of self-representation on digital and networked media (captured in the practice of the ‘selfie’) frame a rhetoric of desire as jouissance. The dialogue between queer and psychoanalytic theory will also inform the discussion to consider how performative bodies that have ‘mattered’ (Judith Butler, 1993) and unconsciously ‘muttered’ (Tim Dean, 2000) now ‘stutter’. Using the work of Jacques Lacan to reposition Tim Dean's and Judith Butler's concepts of bodies that matter and bodies that mutter, this stuttering body, which is embedded in late capitalist discourses of celebrity and pornography, is reflective of the hesitancy, frustration, exhilaration, and repetition that it subversively contains, as well as remaining vulnerable to metonymic contiguity and transposition of a symbolically normative language it cannot control. ‘Bodies that Stutter’ are also the bodies that attempt to express a powerful jouissance. through a language of the ‘personal’ and the metaphorical signifier. Yet, unlike Imaginary bodies that rely upon ego, the ‘Bodies that Stutter’ are subject to an impersonal Other that underpins how their desire is expressed metonymically – through this process they symbolically-stutter.

A lot like desire, or slips of the tongue and pen, stuttering is reliant upon stops and starts, structure and chaos, satisfaction and dissatisfaction. It is also something that cannot be contained or applied to one body above another or indeed one identity and/or identity type. This paper uses the contextual focus of the micro-celebrity selfie and its ubiquity on social networking sites to suggest that bodies that stutter form a practice of ‘symbolic stuttering’ that might well occur in multiple, ambiguous, and oblique ways.

Gareth Longstaff is a lecturer in media and cultural studies at Newcastle University. Both his teaching and research interests are primarily concerned with queer sexuality, celebrity, discourses of self-representation, pornography and psychoanalysis. Gareth works at the intersection of how these are connected to other dimensions of queer, cultural, philosophical, mediated and social life and in his upcoming monograph ‘Bodies that Stutter: Celebrity, Pornography and the Psychoanalysis of Self Representation’ his approach to these issues engages and applies queer theory and crossing of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis to the impersonality of desire and the mediated screening of the self in self-representational photography, pornography/sexual representation, and digital / networked media.

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February 3, 2017  

Lacanian psychoanalyst Bruce Fink discusses his latest work, Lacan on Love.

Quintessentially fascinating, love intrigues and perplexes us, and drives much of what we do in life. As wary as we may be of its illusions and disappointments, many of us fall blindly into its traps and become ensnared time and again. Deliriously mad excitement turns to disenchantment, if not deadening repetition, and we wonder how we shall ever break out of this vicious cycle.

Can psychoanalysis – with ample assistance from philosophers, poets, novelists, and songwriters – give us a new perspective on the wellsprings and course of love? Can it help us fathom how and why we are often looking for love in all the wrong places, and are fundamentally confused about “what love really is”?

In this lively and wide-ranging exploration of love throughout the ages, Fink argues that it can. Taking within his compass a vast array of traditions – from Antiquity to the courtly love poets, Christian love, and Romanticism – and providing an in-depth examination of Freud and Lacan on love and libido, Fink unpacks Lacan’s paradoxical claim that “love is giving what you don’t have.” He shows how the emptiness or lack we feel within ourselves gets covered over or entwined in love, and how it is possible and indeed vital to give something to another that we feel we ourselves don’t have.

This first-ever commentary on Lacan’s Seminar VIII, Transference, provides readers with a clear and systematic introduction to Lacan’s views on love. It will be of great value to students and scholars of psychology and of the humanities generally, and to analysts of all persuasions.

Lacan on Love: An Exploration of Lacan's Seminar VIII, Transference is published by Polity. Available from the Freud Museum Shop.

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Analytic psychotherapist and art historian, Robert Snell joins us to discuss his forthcoming book, Portraits of the Insane: Théodore Géricault and the Subject of Psychotherapy.

In the gloomy aftermath of the 1789 Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, the French painter Théodore Géricault (1791–1824) made a series of portraits of patients in an asylum or clinic. The paintings are unprecedented: they show people designated as insane as ordinary, unique individuals. They point to a new, essentially democratic conception of the human being, sane or mad, as available for relationship and communication: a ‘therapeutic subject’. Made during a period of massive social, cultural, and economic transformation, they register a critical moment in the history of subjectivity, and connect us to some living roots of psychoanalysis.They challenge us profoundly, in our own conflicted era, to find responses in ourselves to the stranger in our midst.

‘The scope of this book is remarkable. Robert Snell’s meditation on five portraits of mad people by Géricault is the springboard for a fascinating cultural investigation. He surveys two centuries of change in the understanding of human nature, and considers how this is reflected in changing approaches to the treatment of madness.The breadth and depth of scholarship on offer here is exceptional, and this admirable book is an object lesson in the relation of psychoanalysis to the history of ideas.’ — Michael Parsons, British Psychoanalytical Society and French Psychoanalytic Association

Robert Snell is an analytic psychotherapist and art historian, a member of the British Psychotherapy Foundation, and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Therapeutic Education at Roehampton University.

 

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Karin Nohr and Sebastian Leikert: Dr Kundry's Failure

The first part of this lecture sets out to investigate reasons for the well-known fact that Wagner's music and in particular his opera Parsifal evokes divergent feelings and promotes polarization among the audience. After exploring the semantic system of music which Leikert calls ‘kinaesthetical’, three principles are put forth that organize it: repetition, seduction, ritualization. Whereas religious ritualization is conservative and norm-orientated, the ethical orientation of art is creative and encourages the subject to broaden in autonomy and in the recognition of their inner world including their conflicts and the tragic aspects of life. The second part of the lecture discusses the question, if and how Wagner in Parsifal contributes to this progressive aim by analyzing the composer’s concept of empathy (Mitleid) and focusing on the Parsifal-Kundry relationship.

Karin Nohr was born in Hamburg, Germany, where she studied literature and psychology. For 20 years she worked as a psychoanalyst and lecturer focusing on the use of imagination in the therapeutic process (book publication: Bahrke, Nohr, Katathym Imaginative Psychotherapie. Lehrbuch der Arbeit mit Imaginationen in psychodynamischen Psychotherapien. Springer 2013) Having all her life played a musical instrument and having completed her training in classical singing, she wrote her Masters’ Thesis on the inner concepts musicians develop of their musical instruments (book publication: Karin Nohr, Der Musiker und sein Instrument. Tübingen, edition diskord 1997, Reprint Psychosozialverlag 2010). Many publications on both themes were to follow, among them one on Tristan and Isolde by Richard Wagner. Karin Nohr was a founding member of the German Society for Psychoanalysis and Music (www.psychoanalyse-und-musik.de); she has been on the board of this association ever since and been responsible for two annual conferences. Since 2010 she has stopped clinical work and has turned to novel writing. Her publications include: Herr Merse bricht auf. Knaus (Random House 2012) and Vier Paare und ein Ring (Knaus 2013). Both novels have been reprinted as pocket books. She lives in Berlin and in Dünsche/Wendland.

Dr Sebastian Leikert is a practicing Psychoanalyst and Training Analyst based in Saarbrücken in Germany. His main research interests include the psychoanalysis of music and the relationship between aesthetical and psychical processes. His recent publications include ‘Beauty and Conflict – Outline of a General Psychoanalytic Aesthetics’ (2012) and, as editor, ‘On the Psychoanalysis of the Aesthetical Process in Music, Cinema and Painting’ (2015). His article, written for the International Journal of Psychoanalysis entitled, ‘For Beauty is nothing but the barely endurable onset of Terror’ – outline of a general psychoanalytic aesthetics’ is forthcoming. He is also the Chairman and co-founder of the German Society for Psychoanalysis and Music.

 

In our conference 'Wagner, Freud and the End of Myth' (2013) we argued that by taking the mythic dimension and bringing it into the human realm, Wagner anticipated Freud in his depiction of unconscious processes of the mind. It could be said that Freud and Wagner were dealing with the same stuff - the “fundamental psychosexual issues that affect us all” as Barry Millington put it, and for that reason a fruitful dialogue can exist between their two bodies of work.

The present conference is entirely devoted to Wagner’s final masterpiece, Parsifal, and explores whether this sublime, troubling and contentious work prefigures psychoanalytic insight or resists psychoanalytic interpretation. As a story of compassion and redemption, which nevertheless describes a world of perversion and mental anguish, what can Parsifal tell us about the secret springs of human desire and the conflicts of human nature? And how did Wagner manage to create it?

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Patrick Carnegy in conversation with Robert Lloyd

Since he first visited Bayreuth in 1967 as music critic for The Times, Patrick Carnegy's principal research interest has been the stage history of Wagner's works. He was the first person to be appointed Dramaturg (literary and production adviser) at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. His interests also include Shakespeare and he was Stratford-upon-Avon theatre critic for The Spectator from 1998 - 2013. Dr Carnegy's books include Faust as Musician (1973), a study of Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus, and Wagner and the Art of the Theatre (2006) which won a Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award, and in the USA a George Freedley Memorial Award for its 'outstanding contribution to the history of the theatre'. His current work is on Wagner's indebtedness to Shakespeare, on which subject he is lecturing at home and abroad as a contribution to the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death.

 

In our conference 'Wagner, Freud and the End of Myth' (2013) we argued that by taking the mythic dimension and bringing it into the human realm, Wagner anticipated Freud in his depiction of unconscious processes of the mind. It could be said that Freud and Wagner were dealing with the same stuff - the “fundamental psychosexual issues that affect us all” as Barry Millington put it, and for that reason a fruitful dialogue can exist between their two bodies of work.

The present conference is entirely devoted to Wagner’s final masterpiece, Parsifal, and explores whether this sublime, troubling and contentious work prefigures psychoanalytic insight or resists psychoanalytic interpretation. As a story of compassion and redemption, which nevertheless describes a world of perversion and mental anguish, what can Parsifal tell us about the secret springs of human desire and the conflicts of human nature? And how did Wagner manage to create it?

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Patrick Carnegy: Syberberg's Parsifal and the soul of Germany

Hans Jürgen Syberberg's 1982 film of Parsifal is a psychological exploration of the opera, its roots in Wagner's mind, and its historical afterlife. Abstracted from Amfortas's body, his wound, carried about on a cushion by two female pages, becomes a symbol of Germany's unassuaged shame and guilt, an object of fascination and horror until it can be healed. When Kundry's kiss awakens Parsifal's sexuality, Syberberg sensationally replaces the male hero by a female Parsifal. His idea, in Jungian terms, is that the animus cannot itself complete the therapeutic journey through the psychic labyrinth, for this is given only to the anima, which here also embodies the soul of Germany. Patrick Carnegy offers some reflections on the wondrous complexity and resonance of this brilliant film.

Since he first visited Bayreuth in 1967 as music critic for The Times, Patrick Carnegy's principal research interest has been the stage history of Wagner's works. He was the first person to be appointed Dramaturg (literary and production adviser) at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. His interests also include Shakespeare and he was Stratford-upon-Avon theatre critic for The Spectator from 1998 - 2013. Dr Carnegy's books include Faust as Musician (1973), a study of Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus, and Wagner and the Art of the Theatre (2006) which won a Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award, and in the USA a George Freedley Memorial Award for its 'outstanding contribution to the history of the theatre'. His current work is on Wagner's indebtedness to Shakespeare, on which subject he is lecturing at home and abroad as a contribution to the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death.

 

In our conference 'Wagner, Freud and the End of Myth' (2013) we argued that by taking the mythic dimension and bringing it into the human realm, Wagner anticipated Freud in his depiction of unconscious processes of the mind. It could be said that Freud and Wagner were dealing with the same stuff - the “fundamental psychosexual issues that affect us all” as Barry Millington put it, and for that reason a fruitful dialogue can exist between their two bodies of work.

The present conference is entirely devoted to Wagner’s final masterpiece, Parsifal, and explores whether this sublime, troubling and contentious work prefigures psychoanalytic insight or resists psychoanalytic interpretation. As a story of compassion and redemption, which nevertheless describes a world of perversion and mental anguish, what can Parsifal tell us about the secret springs of human desire and the conflicts of human nature? And how did Wagner manage to create it?

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Tom DeRose: Wagner, Freud and Nietzsche in Berlin

With reference to Dmitri Tcherniakov’s recent Berlin production, this paper will consider the relationship between the character of Gurnemanz in Wagner’s Parsifal and Nietzsche’s conception of the ascetic priest in On the Genealogy of Morals. Although Gurnemanz appears as an un-biased narrator, something akin to the Evangelist in a Bach Passion, just how far removed from the action is he? I will suggest that the insights of Freud and René Girard can help us to gain a deeper understanding not only of this ‘all knowing’ story-teller, but also of the violence which lies at the heart of social systems. 

Tom DeRose is Volunteer Coordinator at the Freud Museum where he helps to organise conferences and runs the Freud Museum reading group. He studied History and Philosophy and has a longstanding interest in the operas of Richard Wagner. 

 

In our conference 'Wagner, Freud and the End of Myth' (2013) we argued that by taking the mythic dimension and bringing it into the human realm, Wagner anticipated Freud in his depiction of unconscious processes of the mind. It could be said that Freud and Wagner were dealing with the same stuff - the “fundamental psychosexual issues that affect us all” as Barry Millington put it, and for that reason a fruitful dialogue can exist between their two bodies of work.

The present conference is entirely devoted to Wagner’s final masterpiece, Parsifal, and explores whether this sublime, troubling and contentious work prefigures psychoanalytic insight or resists psychoanalytic interpretation. As a story of compassion and redemption, which nevertheless describes a world of perversion and mental anguish, what can Parsifal tell us about the secret springs of human desire and the conflicts of human nature? And how did Wagner manage to create it?

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Mark Berry: Interpreting Wagner’s Dreams: Staging Parsifal in the Twenty-First Century

Parsifal, like all of Wagner’s dramas, has much to tell us at the intersection of authorial intention and latent content. What is revealed and what is repressed? Dreams were certainly of great importance to Wagner, perhaps most famously in his claim that the Prelude to Das Rheingold had come to him in ‘a kind of somnambulistic state … the feeling of being immersed in rapidly flowing water,’ and indeed in the dramatic material of a number of his works. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is explicitly concerned with the formation of an artwork initially revealed in a dream world. That offers an interesting way to consider stagings of his works too, and their claims to fidelity or otherwise at a textual or allegedly ‘deeper’ level. I shall consider the work ‘itself’ and its adamant claim to stand apart from the operatic repertoire as a Bühnenweihfestspiel (‘stage-festival-consecration-play’) to be confined to his artistic temple at Bayreuth. I shall also consider two particular productions: Stefan Herheim (Bayreuth, 2008-12) and Dmitri Tcherniakov (Berlin, 2015-). How do directors and performers navigate the historical, social, cultural, and psychological distances and conflicts between Wagner’s intentions, his ability and inability to fulfil and perhaps even to transcend those intentions, and the needs of contemporary theatres and audiences? What is gained and what is lost? What, again, is revealed and what is repressed?

Dr Mark Berry is Senior Lecturer in Music at Royal Holloway, University of London. He read History at the University of Cambridge, where he remained for postgraduate and postdoctoral study. He is the author of Treacherous Bonds and Laughing Fire: Politics and Religion in Wagner’s Ring (Ashgate, 2006) and After Wagner: Histories of Modernist Music Drama from ‘Parsifal’ to Nono (Boydell Press, 2014) and has written widely on musical, intellectual, and cultural history from the later seventeenth century to the present day. He is at present writing a biography of Arnold Schoenberg for Reaktion Books and co-editing the Cambridge Companion to Wagner’s ‘Ring of the Nibelung’. He reviews concert and opera performances regularly, and is the author of the ‘Boulezian’ blog.

 

In our conference 'Wagner, Freud and the End of Myth' (2013) we argued that by taking the mythic dimension and bringing it into the human realm, Wagner anticipated Freud in his depiction of unconscious processes of the mind. It could be said that Freud and Wagner were dealing with the same stuff - the “fundamental psychosexual issues that affect us all” as Barry Millington put it, and for that reason a fruitful dialogue can exist between their two bodies of work.

The present conference is entirely devoted to Wagner’s final masterpiece, Parsifal, and explores whether this sublime, troubling and contentious work prefigures psychoanalytic insight or resists psychoanalytic interpretation. As a story of compassion and redemption, which nevertheless describes a world of perversion and mental anguish, what can Parsifal tell us about the secret springs of human desire and the conflicts of human nature? And how did Wagner manage to create it?

 

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Eva Rieger: Kundry’s Kiss and the Fear of Female Desire: A Gender Perspective

“Wagner’s operas are largely dramas of incestuous feelings and urges” writes James M. McGlathery (in Wagner’s Operas and Desire). Lawrence Dreyfus has also made it clear that Wagner was obsessed with sexuality, and this obsession determined the composition of operas such as Tannhäuser, Walküre and Tristan and Isolde. In his opera Parsifal, Wagner creates a female character who shows active sexual desire, and then exorcises her qua Woman for precisely that reason. Whereas men can desire women, the opposite is regarded as dangerous. In previous works, Wagner gives women like Elsa, Brünnhilde, Elisabeth and Sieglinde the power to love in a “feminine” way, but unlike Kundry they do not think of sex. I will trace the role of Kundry as she was developed by Wagner from 1865 onwards, using the development of her role to deduce which characteristics of her personality were important to him. A further clue is given by the music which speaks to us and opens up psychological insights. With respect to the semi-religious content of Parsifal, I find that the idea of gender equality is jettisoned here, which means that one can debate whether Kundry’s death is the result of Wagner’s antisemitism or his antifeminism. Finally, the question arises why Wagner should condemn women’s sexuality in such a manner (and thereby condemn the women themselves), although he was dependent on the emotional and physical love of women throughout his life.

Eva Rieger was Professor of Musicology at the University of Bremen until 2000, when she moved to Vaduz, Liechtenstein. She has worked primarily on the issue of gender and musicology and written biographies of Nannerl Mozart, Minna Wagner and Friedelind Wagner. The latter was published in English (Boydell 2013), as was a study of the female roles in Richard Wagner's operas entitled Wagner’s Women (Boydell 2011). Her book on the singer Frida Leider will be published in 2016 (Frida Leider. Sängerin im Zwiespalt ihrer Zeit (Olms)).

 

In our conference 'Wagner, Freud and the End of Myth' (2013) we argued that by taking the mythic dimension and bringing it into the human realm, Wagner anticipated Freud in his depiction of unconscious processes of the mind. It could be said that Freud and Wagner were dealing with the same stuff - the “fundamental psychosexual issues that affect us all” as Barry Millington put it, and for that reason a fruitful dialogue can exist between their two bodies of work.

The present conference is entirely devoted to Wagner’s final masterpiece, Parsifal, and explores whether this sublime, troubling and contentious work prefigures psychoanalytic insight or resists psychoanalytic interpretation. As a story of compassion and redemption, which nevertheless describes a world of perversion and mental anguish, what can Parsifal tell us about the secret springs of human desire and the conflicts of human nature? And how did Wagner manage to create it?

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