‘Freud and the Political’ by Mladen Dolar

Paper by Dr. Mladen Dolar, as published in Theory & Event, Johns Hopkins University Press, Volume 12, Issue 3, 2009. DOI: 10.1353/tae.0.0085

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. . . And, coming from Slovenia, I cannot resist picking out one anecdote, I suppose the most spectacular of all, of an event that happened during Freud’s one brief visit to Slovenia. At Easter holidays in 1898, Freud visited Italy with his brother Alexander, and, on the way back, they stopped at the famous caves of Škocjan, in Slovenia (which are now actually a UNESCO heritage site). He gives his account in a letter to Wilhelm Fliess (14 April 1898), describing “a subterranean river running through magnificent vaults, with waterfalls and stalactites and pitch darkness . . . It was Tartarus itself. If Dante saw anything like this, he needed no great effort of the imagination for his Inferno.” And whom did Freud meet at the bottom of this Tartarus, in the last circle of this Inferno? “The ruler of Vienna, Herr Dr. Karl Lueger,” who happened to be visiting the cave at the same time. . .


Mladen Dolar is Professor and Senior Researcher at the Department of Philosophy, University of Ljubljana since 1982 and has served as the Advising Researcher in Theory at the Jan Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, Netherlands. He is also Professor of Philosophy at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. His principal areas of research are Psychoanalysis, Modern French Philosophy (Lacan, Foucault, Derrida, Badiou, et. al.), German Idealism, and Art Theory, especially Musicology. With Žižek and others, Dolar was the co-founder of the Ljubljana Society of Theoretical Psychoanalysis, whose main aim is to read late 18th cent. and early 19th cent. German Classical Philosophy through the frame of Lacanian psychoanalytic theory. His main field of expertise is the philosophy of Georg W. F. Hegel, on whom he has written several papers, including a two-volume interpretation of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit first published in Slovene between 1990 and 1991. Dolar has lectured extensively across many different Universities in Europe and the United States and is author of hundreds of papers in different scholarly journals and in various collected volumes. Apart from over twelve monograph publications in Slovene, his books published in English most notably include A Voice and Nothing More and Opera’s Second Death, both of which were translated into several languages. His new book The Riskiest Moment is forthcoming with Duke University Press.

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