Freud Museum Reading Group- Two Papers on Masochism

An eight week online reading group

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10 September, 5:30 pm - 5 November, 7:00 pm


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From the beginning of Freudian psychoanalysis, masochism proved to be problematic. If human’s are guided by the ‘pleasure principle’, instinctively avoiding ‘unpleasure’, how can the self-harming and self-destructive instinct of masochism be explained? Why does it seem that some people are driven to seek pain, rather than pleasure? How can we understand the desire for pain from an ‘economic’ point of view? In this reading group we will explore two of Freud’s most intense engagements with the problem of masochism, beginning with his fascinating text on beating phantasies, ‘A Child is Being Beaten’ (1919), and finishing with the ground-breaking, ‘The Economic Problem of Masochism’ (1924), in which he offers his definitive answer to the problem of masochism.


This reading group takes places on the occasion of the 100 year anniversary of the publication of ‘The Economic Problem of Masochism’.


Group Facilitator:

Tom DeRose is Research Manager at the Freud Museum London. His research focusses on the cultural and philosophical aspects of Freudian theory. His most recent publication is ‘The Battle for the Voice: Psychoanalysis and Music’, in ed. Tambling, The Bloomsbury Handbook to Literature and Psychoanalysis (Bloomsbury, 2023). His forthcoming chapter ‘Freud’s Changing Views on Sadomasochism’, will be published in, ed. Akhtar and Crilley, The Joy of Torment (Karnac, 2024).



The group will meet from 10 September – 5 November, with a reading week on 15 October. Weekly meetings will take place online on Tuesdays, 17.30 – 19.00 BST. All attendees will be emailed the recording of each session afterwards to catch up. The group’s capacity is limited to 10 people only.


Tickets: £128

Freud Museum Members and Patrons receive 20% off the standard ticket price on all events, courses, conferences and On Demand programming.

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


10 September, 5:30 pm
5 November, 7:00 pm
Event Category:




The Freud Museum

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