Full program below:


SATURDAY, APRIL 26, 2014 @ 1:00 – 4:00 pm at Wilson Hall, 234 Herrick Road, Newton Centre MA



Moderated by ADAM PHILLIPS

In this program, three distinguished critics respond to Freud’s classic paper, “Remembering, Repeating and Working-Through” (1914), the fifth of his six Papers on Technique written a century ago. Freud in this brief yet subtle essay addresses the question of how psychoanalysis works, and how it differs from other forms of treatment. “The main instrument for curbing the patient’s compulsion to repeat,” he writes, “and for turning it into a motive for remembering, lies in the handling of the transference” (154).

Beyond those profound clinical questions, Freud has given us an essay on the universal conflicts of stasis and change, recurrence and discovery, habit and transformation: elements in human life in general, as well as in the clinical realm. Freud uses the terms “illness” and “real life.” Between those two realms, he posits an “intermediate region,” a “Tummelplatz” or playing field: Freud’s metaphor for the transference arena where the compulsion to repeat, which is the patient’s way of remembering, may deploy itself. Freud calls this “Tummelplatz” an “intermediate region between illness and real life through which the transition from the one to the other is made.”

We invite an imaginative art historian, an innovative literary critic, and intellectual historian, and a uniquely lively writer on theatre, music and most recently on “reading” to look at that Tummeplatz and respond to it in their own terms. The conversation was guided by Adam Phillips who combines the clinical perspective with that of a brilliant writer. That is what, in addition to their erudition and scholarship, all four of these panel participants are – like Sigmund Freud – writers, in the best sense of the word.

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Stephen Greenblatt is the John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. He has written extensively on Shakespeare, the Renaissance, culture and new historicism (cultural poetics). His most recent book, “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern” (2011), won the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize.

Joseph Leo Koerner is the Thomas Professor of History of Art and Architecture and Senior Fellow at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University. Author of several books, he is currently writing and directing a documentary film on the “Vienna Interior 1900-1938.”

Wendy Lesser is the editor of “The Threepenny Review” and the author of ten books, most recently “Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books” (2014). She has received many awards and fellowships, including from the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Adam Phillips is a world renowned psychoanalyst and essayist, and a visiting professor in the English Department at the University of York. He is general editor of the Penguin Modern Classics translations of Sigmund Freud and a regular contributor to the London Review of Books. His latest of many books is “One Way and Another; New and Selected Essays” (2013).

About Solange Skinner:

Solange Skinner, PhD is the author of eleven books and numerous political and anthropological articles and scholarly papers. Her books include The Nauruans: Nature and Supernature. A distinguished anthropologist, psychologist, author and teacher, she served as Professor of Sciences Po, IEP and was Head of a French Scientific Mission in Fiji for five years. Dr. Skinner also taught political science in Paris and anthropology at the University of Guam. She also holds doctoral degrees in both anthropology and psychology from the University of Paris – Sorbonne; masters’ degrees in philosophy, psychology and art history; a diploma in oceanic languages; and she has received training in psychoanalysis and group dynamics.