To Die One’s Own Death – Thinking with Sigmund Freud in a Time of Pandemic

47. Sigmund Freud Lecture by Jacqueline Rose

September 23, 2020, 7:30 pm CET

It is a hundred years since the tragic loss of Freud’s daughter, Sophie Halberstadt-Freud, to the Spanish flu shortly after the end of World War One. In this lecture which, due to Covid 19, has been postponed from Freud’s birthday to the day of his death, Jacqueline Rose will argue that this historic moment – of grief, pandemic and war – had an even more decisive impact on Freud’s meditations than has previously been recognised. Freud’s writings on the death drive collide with, and are fuelled by, an increasingly urgent engagement with our innermost psychic and biological relationship to the past and, at the same time, with the cruelty and injustice of the world.  Today, as we confront the darkness of the hour, psychoanalysis has never been more urgently needed. What can we still learn from Freud’s thought about how to live and how to die in our own troubled times?


Jacqueline Rose is Professor of Humanities and Co-Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University of London. Internationally known for her writing on feminism, psychoanalysis, literature, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, her writing has been translated into many languages. Her books include Jacques Lacan and the école freudienne (editor with Juliet Mitchell and translator) (1982), Sexuality in the Field of Vision (1986), reprinted in the series Verso Radical Thinkers, The Haunting of Sylvia Plath (1991), States of Fantasy (1996), The Question of Zion (2005), Women in Dark Times (2014), and the novel Albertine (2001). A Jacqueline Rose Reader was published in 2011. Her latest book, Mothers – An Essay on Love and Cruelty, was published in 2018. A regular writer for The London Review of Books, she is a co-founder of Independent Jewish Voices in the UK, and in 2018 was a member of the jury for the Booker Prize. On Violence and On Violence Against Women will be published early next year. She is a Fellow of the British Academy.


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Photo: Jacqueline Rose (c) Mia Rose

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