Freud’s Goddesses at Freud Museum London
Freud described the bond between mother and infant son as the “purest example of unchangeable affection.” Yet in the theories and mythologies on which he builds the project of psychoanalysis the question of motherly, indeed female, agency and desire is studiously avoided. Similarly, having many female interlocutors whose intelligence he greatly respected, Freud professed ignorance of answer to the question “what does a woman want?” Despite this, Freud’s texts and his collection of antiquities are replete with forceful female presences. As he drew parallels between ancient mythology and early childhood, early goddesses are often compared or conflated with mothers. Through discussing some of the goddesses that attracted Freud’s admiration and awe, this talk aims to throw new light on what Freud called the “dark continent” of woman.
Frederika Tevebring is a research fellow at The Warburg Institute. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literary Studies from Northwestern University. Her research explores how ancient Greece has been reconstructed in German intellectual history, in museums, poetry, and scholarship. She is particularly interested in mythological figures that have troubled idealizing notions of ancient Greece.
Part of an exciting series of events which coincide with ‘Between Oedipus and the Sphinx: Freud and Egypt‘ on display from 7 August – 13 October 2019.