This course will provide an introduction to Freud's thought. Beginning with Freud's origins in Darwinian evolution and empirical science, students will be introduced to Freud's model of the mind and the practice of psychoanalysis. We will see the relation of psychoanalysis to Freud's worldview and that of his Viennese contemporaries. Of particular interest to students will be the intersection of psychoanalysis with other cultural and intellectual movements of the twentieth century including Feminism, Marxism, anthropology and art.
Session 1: Doctor of love
We introduce the basic structure of neurosis and the psychology of dreams. This is intrinsically linked with the method of psychoanalysis: we introduce the basics of technique and compare psychoanalysis with other available psychotherapies such as suggestion, hypnosis and behavioural.
Reading: ‘On Psychotherapy’ (1904) – 22pp & ‘Contributions to the Psychology of love: Degradation in Erotic life’ (1912) - 10pp
Session 2: The model of the mind
This session introduces each of the models of the mind developed by Freud in his practice. It consists of a number of points-of-view, from which every psychic event may be interpreted: the topographic or dynamic (conscious and unconscious quality); the structural (id, ego and superego); the economic (pleasure and unpleasure); the genetic (a developmental point of view); and the neo-Freudian model of adaptation, which sought to encompass ‘normal’ or academic psychology within the general psychoanalytic model of the mind.
Reading: ‘Some psychological Consequences of the Anatomical Difference between the Sexes’ (1925) – 12pp
Session 3: The Psychology of Normality Pt 1
The question of what is ‘normal’ remains—rightly or wrongly— at the forefront of clinical discussions of mental health. We look at Freud’s concept of normality, and the educative or moral dimension of psychoanalytic practice. His concept of sublimation and the relation of id, ego and superego and integrally related to this question of the normal, and what should be the aim of psychoanalytic treatment and cultural critique.
Reading: ‘Screen Memories’ (1899), - 30pp
Session 4: The Psychology of Normality Pt 2
We continue the study of Freud’s thought as a study of analogy and symbol. From the Darwinian roots of his concept of instinct—or ‘drive’—and his psycho-anthropology to the study of childhood, variant sexuality and works of art, we find Freud constructing and deconstructing what it is to be human. In this session we look at the theory of art by analogy to the dream, and the place of science in Freud’s worldview.
Reading: ‘The Theme of the Three Caskets’ (1925) - 12pp
Session 5: Psychosis, psychoanalysis and twentieth century culture.
We turn finally from neurosis to psychosis, which confronts psychoanalysis with its other: philosophy. We examine the major divisions of culture and personality as set out in his major work, Civilisation and Its Discontents. In passing, we will note how these later cultural views relate to a modified understanding of the limits of psychoanalytic treatment as represented in his late papers, and we try to make some evaluation, in broad terms, of the currency of the psychoanalytic diagnosis of modern man.
Further Reading: ‘Negation’ (1925) - 8pp
The Case of Elizabeth von R (1893). Chapter 3, Studies in Hysteria.
Mourning and Melancholia (1917)