Training Seminars 2009 – 2010 London


3 October – 7 November 2009 [24th left free for conference],

Death and Temporality in Lacan, Kristeva and Laplanche: Anastasios Gaitanidis (and Tessa Adams)

The aim of these seminars is to critically engage with Lacan’s, Kristeva’s and Laplanche’s attempts to reformulate the relations between the death drive, the timelessness of the unconscious, and the movement of temporalisation involve a psychoanalytic reworking of the Hegelian criticism of Heidegger’s account of death and temporality. However, in turning to Hegel’s dialectic of recognition as a counter to the individualism of the analytic of Dasein, they do not intend to replace the latter with the former. Rather, they hope that each problematic will work on the other, contributing to a broader rethinking of both their terms. Thus, by arresting the master-slave dialectic at the moment of misrecognition, they are able to conclude that if (according to Heidegger) temporality is tied existentially to the anticipation of death, and (according to Hegel) death comes from the other, so too must time: it is (mis)recognition which temporalises time out of the fear of death.

Note to Students: Please read the core text below for all the seminars. During the progress of the seminars, the other texts referred to below will be discussed. It is not expected that you will read them all in advance! However, you may wish to read as many as possible.

Core Text:

Osborne, P. (1995). The Politics of Time – Modernity and the Avant-Garde (esp. Ch 3 “Death and Recognition”). London: Verso.

Seminar 1

Heidegger – Death and Time

In this seminar we will critically evaluate Heidegger’s philosophical attempt to uncover the ‘meaning of being’ through the horizon of time, and how the horizon of time in turn is that of Dasein’s Zeitlichkeit, the structure of which is ‘care’, and which is most clearly illuminated in ‘anticipatory resoluteness’, or ‘freedom for death’.6 Death is my authentic possibility, and so reveals what possibility essentially is, thus illuminating the nature of time as that which makes possible any particular possibility.7 Authentic death, then, as disclosed in anticipatory resoluteness as my essential and singular possibility, both has a meaning and is a source of meaning: the meaning of time and being.

Heidegger, M. (1927). Sein und Zeit.  Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. Translated as Being and Time. Trans. J. McQuarrie and E. Robinson. New York: Harper and Row, 1962.

Gaitanidis, A. (1999). “A Critical Examination of Heidegger’s Existential Ontological Account of Death.” In Rob Weatherill (ed.) The Death Drive: New Life for a Dead Subject? London: Rebus Press, 1999, pp. 193 206.

Seminar 2

Hegel – The Dialectic of Recognition: Trial by Death

In this seminar we will examine how Hegel’s dialectic of recognition can be used to illustrate that as a self-interpreting, self-conscious being, Dasein’s individuality cannot be derived from its anticipation of death independently of its relations to others. Rather, Dasein must first, or simultaneously, be constituted as a self-conscious being through its relations with others, in a dialectic of recognition, in order that it may become the kind of being which is capable of anticipating its death as the end towards which it is thrown, and hence of constituting itself existentially as a Being-towards-death.

Hegel, G. W. F. (1807). The Phenomenology of Spirit. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.
Kojève, A. (1933-1939). Introduction á la Lecture de Hegel. Gallimard, Paris. Translated as Introduction to the Reading of Hegel. Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit. Trans. J. H. Nichols. New York: Basic Books, 1969.

Seminar 3

Lacan – Afterwardness and the Death Drive

In this seminar, we will consider how Lacan’s work on the mirror phase and the death drive seems to offer a psychoanalytic mediation of Heidegger’s and Hegel’s accounts of death and temporality. Thus, Lacan uses the idea of the death drive to provide the ontological ground for a death which is always symbolic, exploiting the structure of afterwardsness (Nachtraglichkeit) to explain the ‘lag’ between its role in the specular dialectic of the mirror phase as the source of the child’s fear of bodily damage, and the emergence of existential temporality for the child within the realm of the symbolic. The temporalisation of time for the child by the death drive, he argues, happens ‘afterwards’.


Lacan, J. (1948). ‘Aggressivity in Psychoanalysis’. In Écrits: A Selection. Trans. A. Sheridan. London: Tavistock, 1977, pp. 8 29.

Lacan, J. (1949). ‘The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the ‘I’ as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience.’ In Écrits: A Selection. Trans. A. Sheridan. London: Tavistock, 1977, pp. 1 7.

Lacan, J. (1953). ‘Function and Field of Speech in Psychoanalysis’. In Écrits: A Selection. Trans.  A. Sheridan. London: Tavistock, 1977, pp. 30 113.

Lacan, J. (1953 54). Seminar I: Freud’s Papers on Technique. Trans. J. Forrester. New York: Norton, 1988.

Lacan, J. (1964). The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. [Seminar XI]. Trans. A. Sheridan. London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-analysis, 1977, & Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979.

Seminar 4

Kristeva – Death, the Mother and the Imaginary Father

In this seminar, we will examine how Kristeva attempts to trace back the signification of death by an Imaginary Other (father) to the independence of the (m)other. It is the freedom of the (m)other, she argues, in the form of the possibility of the refusal of recognition, which brings death (and hence time) into the world of the child.


Kristeva, J. (1977). Desire in Language. A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art. Trans. T. S. Gora, A. Jardin, & L. S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982.

Kristeva, J. (1982). Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Trans. L. S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia University Press.

Kristeva, J. (1983). Tales of Love. Trans. L. S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia University Press, 1987.

Seminar 5

Laplanche – Timelessness, Death and the Unconscious

In this final seminar, we will discuss Laplanche’s assertions that the death drive and temporality are inextricably linked with the constant process of translating, de-translating, and re-translating of the (often unconscious) messages inherent in all human relations. On this model, primary repression is nothing other than an active expulsion of something from this constant process of unification, theorisation and temporalisation which is at work first in relation to messages from the outside, and subsequently in relation to what derives from the internal ‘other’. It is precisely such an expulsion which accounts for the timelessness of the unconscious. In this sense, the death drive is in effect that ‘pure culture’ of otherness that we detect in the deepest layers of the unconscious.


Laplanche, J. & Pontalis, J. B. (1967). The Language of Psychoanalysis. Trans. D. Nicholson Smith. London: Karnac Books, 1988.

Laplanche, J. (1976). Life and Death in Psychoanalysis. Trans. J. Mehlman. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Laplanche, J. (1989). New Foundations for Psychoanalysis. Trans. D. Macey. Oxford: Blackwell.

Laplanche, J. (1997). ‘The So-Called ‘Death Drive’: A Sexual Drive’. In R. Weatherill (ed.). The Death Drive: New Life for a Dead Subject? London: Rebus Press, 2000.

Laplanche, J. (1999). Essays on Otherness. Edited by J. Fletcher. London: Routledge.

14 November – 12 December 2009

Reading Freud:  Kirsty Hall (and Angela Kreeger)

Reading Freud always offers new perspectives. I will attempt to integrate, at least partially, Freud into the year’s teaching. A rigorous examination of the roots of Freud’s theories yields fascinating insights. For example, trainees will find that the paper discussed in seminar 3 is already present in essence in the form of a draft in the Freud/Fliess letters. Prior to these seminars, any trainees who have not read much Freud will find it helpful to read A Question of Lay Analysis (1926). This paper presents a good overview of Freud’s theories. It may also be helpful to read Freud’s very short paper “Negation” (1925).
It would be preferable, with the exception of the first seminar, for all students to read the Standard Edition version of Freud in English so that we are studying the same text. These are available either as individual paperbacks or in the now out-of-print Pelican version (albeit with different page numbering).

Seminar 1

The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess 1887-1904 tr. & ed. J. Masson, (1985) Cambridge MA: Harvard.

These letters are fun! A wonderful combination of Freud at his most original and sparkling and at the same time he engages with the wild and truly wacky ideas of Fliess.

Seminar 2

Freud, S. (1950 [1895]) The Project for a Scientific Psychology
This is the most important paper that Freud never published in his life time. It sets the scene for Freud’s complex theories of the unconscious, representation, Nachträglichkeit and much more.

Seminar 3

Freud, S. (1917 [1915]) “Mourning and Melancholia”

Occasionally it is worth proposing a short text for discussion and then submitting it to really close reading.

Seminar 4

Freud, S. (1920) Beyond the Pleasure Principle

This year’s teaching by Anastasios Gaitanidis involves an extensive discussion of the concept of the death drive. Here is the one of the important Freudian contributions to the debate.

Seminar 5

Freud, S. (1937) Analysis Terminable and Interminable

Bernard Burgoyne’s seminars on Lacan will focus on the clinical implications of Lacan’s work. Freud’s late work, pondering some of the problematics of psychoanalysis as a practice, offers an appropriate complement to Lacan.


9 January – 6 February 2010

Bion and Beckett: Stephen Gee (and Jim O’Neill)

Two of the major 20th century figures of modernism met in the 1930s. Samuel Beckett was not yet famous. He suffered from various acute physical symptoms; his writing was inhibited. Wilfred Ruprecht Bion had served in the the First World War, trained as a surgeon and was working as a psychotherapist at the Tavistock clinic. He had not yet met Melanie Klein. Beckett was in analysis with Bion for 2 years. The effect of the encounter on the trajectory of each of them is the subject of fascinating speculation. (Connor S).

Bion and Beckett  produced an analytics and a poetics of the 20th century subject at its most precarious. We start with the papers by Freud and Klein which are often referred to by Bion and are the antecedents of his attempt to form a comprehensive epistemology of thinking in the psychoanalytic clinic. In the realisation of his works  – particularly for theatre, Beckett was exact. ‘Interpretation’ was only expressed by and as a strict attention to the detail of the text and  the precise length of silences and pauses. Bion had an analagous approach to the analytic session. Each hour was the last, or first, without memory or desire for a before and after.

Seminar 1

Freud S     Two Principles of Mental Functioning 1911
A Note on the Unconscious in Psycoanalysis 1912
Klein M      Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms 1946

Seminar 2

Bion WR      Second Thoughts 1967  ‘The Imaginary Twin’
Beckett S     Mercier and Camier 1946

Seminar 3

Connor S       Beckett and Bion 1998  (Available on the web)
Jung    CG     Third Tavistock Lecture 1935   (I will provide)

Seminar 4

Bion  WR      Attention and Interpretation  1970, Chapters 3 and 4
Bekett S       Words and Music 1961

Seminar 5

After Effect: Bion from WW1 to LA
Contemporary influences and critique.
Theories of Mind and No mind:
Eigen, Davidson, Zen
Beckett S,  Nacht and Traume  1982, What Where 1983

13 February – 13 March 2010

Derrida: Chris Oakley (and Alan Pope)

We will be looking at the intricacies of reading, of reading psychoanalytically, via the prism of some of Derrida’s readings and re-readings of Freud.

‘This is what analytic discourse is all about: what can be read. What can be read beyond what the subject has been incited to say. In analytic discourse the signifying utterance is given another reading than what it means’ (Jacques Lacan).  Is this always the case?

Derrida, J ( 1996) Archive Fever,  University of Chicago Press.
Derrida, J (1998 ) Resistances of psychoanalysis,  Stanford University Press.
Barbara Johnson, The Frame of Reference: Poe, Lacan, Derrida in Yale French Studies “Literature and Psychoanalysis” No 55/56 (will photocopy this if needed)

20 & 21 March 2010

On the use of theory – thinking about the ‘Pass’: Peter Wood (and Peter Nevins)

Over this weekend we shall look at how psychoanalytical theory is used. We might ask, ‘what is theory for?’  Questions of ‘understanding’ and perhaps ‘value’ might come into play here. Should we, conversely, think of it in terms of its propensity to ‘move’ us; to shift of from our resting place? We begin thinking about our relation to or with theory. We will think about ideas.

Along the way we might consider the question of psychoanalytical knowledge and reflect upon contemporary scepticisms and enlightenment doubts and with it the ethics, discourse and practice which regulate our use of psychoanalytical ideas, and for that matter the potency of psychoanalytical ideas as they play themselves out in the field.  Do we allow for an ethnography which supposes psychoanalysis to be a frame of reference in which the psychoanalytical gaze might be understood as laden with theory and purpose?  Might we be more radical, and ask, for instance, how do ideas affect the field beyond our own knowing and intention?
None of this is to suppose theory as a monolithic. For instance, Freud was self-consciously contradictory, there are several Sigmund Freuds. Our intentional awareness sharpens as we respond to the question ‘who is Freud for me’?  Shades of Barthes and the death of the author here as a writers’ supposed intentions are displaced by a more reflexive understanding of the reader’s own prism of ideas, text and theory. ‘Reading’ then becomes the issue; not so much ‘what’ do we know but ‘how’ do we know it.

Theory, we acknowledge, is frequently anomalous yet we posture in our supposed mastery of it. We find ourselves non-plussed, thrilled, relieved by an idea. Here is one of the many tensions; we might ask, ‘what do I need to know here’? Do I need to know for them?

Leading up to my Pass I experimented with the use of theory. I had supposed theory to be a way of demonstrating my membership potential.  This led to all sorts of problems which seemed to be more about my showing a mastery of ideas and overcoming my transference to the Site. Much turmoil ensued. Gradually I became more comfortable with the thoughts as they had formed though my analysis, studies and practice. I come back to my relation to psychoanalytical ideas and with this a little more confidence in speaking as the aspirant that I was. Through the vehicle of ideas we will be considering the Pass and your journey towards it. Peter Nevins will be joining us.


1 May – 5 June 2010
[NB: there will be no seminar on 29 May which is a Bank Holiday]

Lacan’s Trajectory: Bernard Burgogyne (and Val Parks)

Lacan’s work spans half a century, from around 1930 to 1980. Different commentators establish the periodisation of his work in a variety of ways: some propose seeing Lacan’s programme for psychoanalysis acquiring a different accentuation and central theme every five years, starting from an initial period prior to 1935. I propose to treat Lacan’s work as falling into three main periods, the first of which stems from the mid-1930s to his Seminar One in 1953; this being flowed by a period which goes from Seminar One to the conclusion of Seminar Eleven in 1954, and the final period extending to Lacan’s last “seminar” in 1980. Lacan’s work can thus be seen to have a beginning, a middle, and an end; the direction of his work follows this division: beginning, middle, end.

What is often called Lacan’s “late” work cannot be understood outside of this shifting history of the problems that Lacan was trying to address. Accordingly I shall sketch the initial phase of Lacan’s work in two sessions; the central phase – where philosophical concepts are becoming more patent as proposed foundations for psychoanalysis, in one session; and I shall conclude with two sessions devoted to Lacan’s later work. I shall stress the intimate connection between Lacan’s conceptualisations and clinical work throughout.

Seminars 1 and 2

1935 – 1953 – Backcloth and Introduction

Seminar 3

Conceptualisations of desire, transference and identification

Seminars 4 and 5

Philosophical concepts, mathemes, and in particular the clinic of Borromean knots.


Seminar One (particularly from November 1953 to 3rd February 1954);

Ecrits (particularly “Beyond the Reality Principle” (1936) and “The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power” (1958);

And the texts in “My Teaching” (below).

Lacan, J ([1975], 1987): The Seminar, Book I: Freud’s Papers on Technique, 1953-54, Cambridge University Press, paperback.
Lacan, J ([1966], 2006): Ecrits – The First Complete Edition in English, translated by Bruce Fink, Norton paperback.
Lacan, J (2009): My Teaching, Verso, paperback.

Other books and articles:

(Ed.) Burgoyne B (2000): Drawing the Soul, Rebus Press, paperback; particularly the article by Nathalie Charraud (pp. 218 – 226);
(Eds.) Ragland E and Milovanovic D (2004): Lacan: Topologically Speaking, The Other Press, paperback;
(Eds.) Voruz V and Wolf  B (2007): The Later Lacan: an Introduction, State University of New York Press, paperback;
and Kazushige S (2004): Being Irrational: Lacan, the Object a, and the Golden Mean, Gakuju Shoin Press, paperback.

Bernard Burgoyne is a psychoanalyst, and Emeritus Professor of Psychoanalysis at Middlesex University. He is a Member of the Association Mondiale de Psychanalyse, and five other national and international psychoanalytic associations. He is a Founder Member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research, and of Therip.  He attended Jacques Lacan’s Seminar in Paris in the late 1970s; he has been presenting a seminar on topology and psychoanalysis at CFAR each term for the past nine years.

12 June – 10 July 2010

A genealogy of object relations through the concept of transference: Haya Oakley (and Kati Gray)

The seminars will outline the main principles of the OR tradition from Freud to present day through the concepts of transference and counter transference. The reading suggested is a guideline given the vast literature already dedicated to the tradition in the UK and beyond so please feel free to read other relevant text. We will also briefly mention the significance of contributions by Fairbairn, Bollas, and Guntrip ( not on the reading list) and I hope we can also address some of the phenomenological critique of the basic principles underpinning the OR tradition.

Balint, M. Primary Love and Psychoanalytic Technique. London: Hogarth Press 1952

Freud, S. Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. SE VII P222 (1905d)

Freud, S. Mourning and Melancholia (1917e) SE XIV 249

Klein, M [1957] (1975) Envy and Gratitude. London Hogarth Press

Searles, H. Countertransference and Related Subjects. International University Press. New York 1984 p373.

Winnicott, D.W. Hate in the Counter Transference (1947) in: Through Paediatrics to Psychoanalysis p194. London Hogarth Press 1978

Wright, K. Vision and Separation Between Mother and Child. FAb, London 1991