Freud and the Ancient Greeks: Tragedy, Philosophy and Therapy

Online course with Tom DeRose in three parts, as part of 'Tracing Freud on the Acropolis' exhibition programme.

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8 November, 4:00 pm - 22 November, 6:00 pm

£15 – £40

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This course is taking place online only. The course will take place on Wednesdays, 16:00 – 18:00 GMT. All registrants will receive a Zoom Link in their confirmation email from Eventbrite after booking. All registrants will also receive access to the recording after each course. This event is held as a Zoom Webinar and participants will not be visible.

When Freud experienced a ‘feeling of derealisation’ whilst standing on the hill of the Acropolis, it occurred against the history of a lifetime’s engagement with the problems first raised by thinkers in ancient Greece. From translating a passage from Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex for a school exam to discovering the proto-drive theory of the pre-Socratic philosopher Empedocles in his 80s, Freud’s interest in ancient Greek tragedy and philosophy was formative and sustained.

This course charts the affinities between Freud and ancient Greek thought from his early, co-authored work, Studies on Hysteria, to his late, troubling masterpiece, Civilisation and its Discontents.

Each course can be booked individually (£15) or booked for the full three weeks (£40). Each week will focus on these themes:

  • Week 1 – Freud and Aesthetics: Aristotle, tragedy, and the cathartic cure
  • Week 2 – Freud and Metaphysics: Plato, dreams, and the problem of desire
  • Week 3 – Freud and Ethics: Human flourishing to ordinary unhappiness

The course will be delivered online by the Freud Museum’s Research Manager Tom DeRose, and will focus on the themes of aesthetics, metaphysics and ethics.

Readings will be circulated in advance of each session.


Bursary – A limited number of £15 bursary places will be available for those under financial hardship. Priority will be given to UK unemployed and PIP/ESA claimants. Click here to apply.


The purpose of this course is to raise funds for the Freud Museum London, which receives no regular public income.


8 November, 4:00 pm
22 November, 6:00 pm
£15 – £40
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