Freud on War and Death

A public reading to mark the centenary of Armistice Day.

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11 November, 2018, 1:30 pm - 5:00 pm

£5 – £9

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A shared reading of Freud’s essay ‘Thoughts for the Times on War and Death’ (1915) and the exchange of letters between Einstein and Freud, ‘Why War?’ (1932).

The texts will be read aloud by 15 readers – friends and practitioners of psychoanalysis. Listeners are free to come and go as they wish.

In the first half of “Thoughts for the Times…” Freud writes about the disillusionment of war, the speed with which civilized nations can turn against each other with hate and loathing, and the shameless lust for power which citizens are then supposed to sanction in the name of patriotism.

John Singer Sargent, Gassed, 1919.

In the second part, Freud turns his thoughts towards hatred and death. He reminds us that in each loved person there is also something of the stranger, the other, the outsider – something which lends itself to be hated, an idea that Lacan will later coin as ‘hainamouration’.

The 1932 exchange of letters between Einstein and Freud was an initiative of the League of Nations, who wished to prompt intellectuals to exchange letters on subjects calculated to serve the common interests of the League and of intellectual life. Einstein was one of the first to be approached, and it was he who suggested Freud, who immediately agreed.  Their exchange was published in German, French and English simultaneously, in March 1933. It was, however, banned in Germany.

The event recalls the exhibition, “Why War?” staged by the Freud Museum in 2014. Together, these events frame and remember what has been endured and what can be learned from the suffering of previous generations, and other nations, in the hope of avoiding catastrophic repetitions in our own time.

Readers include:

  • David Bell, psychoanalyst, BPAS, Tavistock
  • Lotte Bredt, child psychotherapist, sculptor
  • Don Campbell, psychoanalyst, BPAS, Portman Clinic
  • Emily Costanzo, journalist
  • Francine Danniau, psychoanalyst, writer, Belgium
  • Renée Danziger, psychoanalyst, BPAS, UCL
  • Stephen Gee, psychotherapist, Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis
  • Yannis Grammatopoulos, University of East London
  • Anouchka Grose, psychoanalyst, writer, CFAR
  • Michael Kennedy, psychoanalyst, CFAR
  • John Haney, poet, PoetrySlabs
  • Susana Huler, psychoanalyst, New Lacanian School
  • Werner Leber, general practitioner, Tower Hamlets.
  • Stefan Marianski, Freud Museum
  • Carol Seigel, director, Freud Museum
  • Iro Zoubopoulou, psychotherapist

Organised and coordinated by Janet Haney (Laboratory for Lacanian Politics) and Ivan Ward (Freud Museum)

Laboratory for Lacanian Politics

Organised in collaboration with the Laboratory for Lacanian Politics.


11 November, 2018
1:30 pm - 5:00 pm
£5 – £9
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