The Freud Museum

Events Archive

10 November 1997

Freud and the Literary

Conference Report

Chairman, psychoanalyst Dr Malcolm Pines, reminded the knowledgeable audience of 100 of the particular appropriateness of the location of the Conference, the Architectural Association, overlooking a leafy Bedford Square. This is the heart of Bloomsbury where the "Bloomsbury Group" were early enthusiasts for psychoanalysis in the UK - members included psychoanalysts Adrian and Karin Stephen, Alix and James Strachey, the latter editor and chief translator of the "Standard Edition" of Freud's works, which was published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf's Hogarth Press.

Coincidentally, the papers given by Professor Mary Jacobus and Professor Edward Timms both dealt with Virginia Woolf.

Mary Jacobus' "Freud and the scene of reading" was a dense and fascinating study of the process of writing and reading and reminded us of the importance of having "a room of one's own", whilst Professor Timms' "Freud, Bloomsbury and the hidden agenda of English Modernism" argued for an earlier knowledge of Freud's work by Woolf than is usually belived. He included amusing sketches of the atmosphere of "Bloomsbury" and life at the Hogarth Press, and illustrated his thesis with reference to the novel "To the Lighthouse".

A joint paper, "The poet and the psychoanalyst: Mediums of transmission", was given by Drs Julia Borossa and Caroline Rooney, also on a Modernist poet, Hilda Doolittle - "HD". The subject of their paper was her "poetic" account of her analysis with Freud, published as "Tribute to Freud".

The day ended with a rousing paper by Professor Peter L. Rudnytsky, "'Does the Professor talk to God?': Countertransference and Jewish identity in the case of Little Hans", which presented some new documentary material concerning the "Little Hans" case history.

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