The Freud Museum

Events Archive

21 September 2017 - 7 December 2017
Thursdays 6.30pm - 8.30pm

Introducing Freud at the Freud Museum

12 Week Evening Course

Tutor: Keith Barrett BA PhD

As Freud is so frequently referred to it is often assumed that we already know everything about him, but the superficial manner in which his life and ideas are normally discussed conceals the fact that his writings and the thought behind them have always been poorly understood, despite the controversy that has raged around his ideas since they first became internationally known.

Freud scholarship took a significant step forward in January 2017 with the publication, by Cambridge University Press, of Joel Whitebook’s ‘Freud: an Intellectual Biography’ – the first major re-assessment of his work since the last century, and the first comprehensive study to draw on the results of thirty-five years of ‘Freud Studies’, and to take into account the vital import of the feminist critique of Freud, as well as the profound changes in our understanding of Freud brought about by advances in psychoanalysis itself.

Taking our cue from this, the course will introduce not only Freud’s classic writings but also the results of the most recent scholarship devoted to the re-assessment of his achievements - and the current state of play in the principal debates surrounding his legacy.

Each session will begin from selected passages from Freud’s writings (all the readings are taken from ‘The Freud Reader’ edited by Peter Gay), and the course will offer the opportunity to familiarise (or re-familiarise) oneself directly with his actual words, clarifying the import of his most important concepts and theories, as well as his approach to the practice of psychoanalysis. We will place Freud’s writings accurately in their historical context – while also bringing into focus the relevance of his work to debates that are taking place at the present time.

The course will be accessible to beginners but is also designed for those already familiar with Freud’s work who wish to acquaint themselves with the results of the latest research and scholarship and update themselves on the intellectual issues and controversies surrounding it.

Week 1: Introduction: The nature and status of psychoanalysis: perspectives and debates. (p3 – 17 & p783 – 796)

Week 2: Hysteria (1): What is (or was) ‘Hysteria’? A ‘female malady’? The case of ‘Anna O’: dissociation, hypnosis and the ‘cathartic method’. Hypnosis in Freud’s early practice as a psychotherapist. (p60 – 78)

Week 3: Hysteria (2): Symptoms as the outcome of ‘defence’: from hypnosis to ‘free association’. From the ‘Lucy R’ case to the ‘seduction theory’. Freud and childhood sexual abuse. The debate over Freud’s abandonment of the ‘seduction theory’ (p78 – 86 & p96 – 113)

Week 4: Dreams (1): Freud’s method for revealing the meaning of dreams, and how he discovered it. Examples of Freud’s dream interpretations, including his most important example of dream interpretation: his own dream of ‘Irma’s Injection’. Current assessments of the ‘Irma’ dream and its interpretation by Freud. Freud’s theory of dreams. (p129–172).

Week 5: Dreams (2): Freud’s use of his own dreams in his ‘self-analysis’. His reconstruction of his own early childhood, and the way this has been assessed by scholars and psychoanalysts. The limitations of self- analysis. The mother in Freud’s self-analysis. The role of dreams in psychodynamic psychotherapy. (p111-126)

Week 6: Sexuality (1): What Freud meant by ‘Infantile sexuality’. Freud’s ‘stages’ of psychosexual development. The Oedipus complex and its central role in neurosis and in the formation of the self. Criticisms of Freud’s theory of the Oedipus complex. The Oedipus complex in later psychoanalysis. (p 239 – 293)

Week 7: Sexuality (2): Sexuality in adulthood. Perversion, heterosexuality and homosexuality and their relationship to experiences in childhood. Freud’s theories on the subject of ‘love’. His later theory of the neuroses. The psychoanalytic view of the nature and functions of human sexuality. (p387 – 400 & p443 – 481)

Week 8: The Principles of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (1): The ‘Dora’ case and Freud’s understanding of the role of ‘transference’. Feminist critiques of ‘Dora’. Freud’s ‘Papers on Technique’. (p172 –239 & p356 – 387)

Week 9: The Principles of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (2): The ‘Rat Man’ case and Freud’s understanding of ‘Obsessional Neurosis’. Freud’s view of religion as a ‘collective obsessional neurosis’. Freud’s ‘Totem and
Taboo’ and the break with Jung. (p309 –350 & p356 – 387)

Week 10: Narcissism and the Death instinct. (p545 – 562 & p601 – 617)

Week 11: Mourning and the structure of the psyche. (p584 – 589 & 626 – 645)

Week 12: Freud’s later views on the difference between the sexes. (p670 – 678)



Whitebook, J. ‘Freud: an intellectual biography’ (Cambridge U. P. 2017)

Phillips, A. ‘Becoming Freud: the making of a psychoanalyst’ (Yale U.P. 2014)

Thurschwell, P. ‘Sigmund Freud ( 2nd edition)’ (Routledge 2009)

Frosh, S. ‘A brief introduction to psychoanalytic theory’
(Palgrave Macmillan 2012)

Makari, G. ‘Revolution in Mind: the creation of psychoanalysis’ (Harper 2008)

Zaretsky, E. ‘Secrets of the soul: a social and cultural history of psychoanalysis’
(Knopf 2004).

Breger, L. ‘Freud: Darkness in the midst of vision’ (Wiley 2000)

Micale, M. ‘Hysterical men: the hidden history of male nervous illness’
(Harvard U. P. 2008)

Rabate, J-M. ‘Literature and Psychoanalysis’ (Cambridge U.P. 2014)

Appignanesi, L. ‘Freud’s Women’ (Penguin 1997)
& Forrester, J

Grosz, S. ‘The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves’.
(Vintage 2014)

Minsky, R. ‘Psychoanalysis and gender: an introductory reader’
(Routledge, 1996).

Bergman, M., ‘The anatomy of loving: The story of man’s quest to know what
love is’ (Columbia U. P. 1987).

Malan, D. ‘Individual psychotherapy and the science of psychodynamics’
(Butterworths 1995)

This website uses cookies to ensure we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website. Find out more about our cookie policy.