Seminar VII : 13th January 1960 : p92 : “is desire conscious or unconscious?” : May 4th 2013 Reading Group : (Dream of the Botanical Monograph)

by Julia Evans on April 22, 2013

Notes in preparation for the May 4th Reading Group Meeting

During the 20th April meeting, we moved from questions of ‘Das Ding’ : Seminar VII: Session of 23rd December 1959: p84 near end: ‘The question of Das Ding is still attached to whatever is open, lacking, or gaping at the centre of  our desire’

to  questions around sublimation : Seminar VII : 13th January 1960 : p87: ‘Sublimation is, in effect, the other side of the research that Freud pioneered into the roots of ethical feeling, insofar as it imposes itself in the form of prohibitions, of the moral conscience. It is the side that is referred to in the world in a manner that is so improper and so comical to a sensitive ear – I mean the world outside the field of psychoanalysis – as the philosophy of values’.


A discussion also arose on the nature of sublimation. A question emerged: “is desire conscious or unconscious?” Bruno de Florence proposed that the group returns to Freud’s clinic and discusses one of Freud’s dreams : the Cyclamen dream, also known as the Dream of the Botanical Monograph (see below for further details)


We will explore this further at the meeting on Saturday 4th May.


The text of the dream itself is in Chapter VI, Part A: Dream 1 (The Botanical Monograph), in The Interpretation of Dreams, 1900, Sigmund Freud : “I had written a monograph on a certain plant. The book lay before me and I was at the moment turning over a folded coloured plate. Bound up in each copy there was a dried specimen of the plant, as though it had been taken from a herbarium.”


The Interpretation of Dreams: 1899 published 1900: available The Interpretation of Dreams: 1st November 1899 (published as 1900): Sigmund Freud  or here

Chapter V : The Material and Sources of Dreams : Part (A) Recent and Indifferent Material in Dreams : Dream of the Botanical Monograph (p157)

Quotation from Sigmund Freud’s Analysis: Interpretation of Dreams : op. cit. :

I will now proceed to the question of whether the instigating source of a dream, revealed by analysis, must invariably be a recent (and significant) event or whether an internal experience, that is, the recollection of a psychically important event – a train of thought – can assume the role of a dream-instigator. The answer, based upon a large number of analyses, is most definitely in favour of the latter alternative. A dream can be instigated by an internal process which has, as it were, become a recent event, owing to thought-activity during the previous day.


Saturday 4th May meeting

We begin reading at Seminar VII: Session of  13th January 1960 : p92, 1st paragraph: ‘But our point of departure is the relationship of the libido to the Netz……..’


Saturday May 4th 2013 Room 102, Senate House, University of London : 10.30 to 12.30 : All welcome


Other posts from this reading group are available on : here