According to the Greek tragedy Prometheus Bound, human beings once “had ears but did not understand.” Prometheus then initiated them into a special art of divination, showing them how to catch crucial yet elusive signs in obscure words and calls, grasping truths inaccessible to ordinary perception by a practice of overhearing. This presentation will discuss some ancient customs of grasping omens in chance acts of speech, setting them in relation to the study of slips inaugurated by Freud.
Suggested Readings: Aeschylus: Prometheus Bound. Cicero: On Divination. Freud: The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901). Lacan: “On a Question Prior to Any Possible Treatment of Psychosis” (1957), Écrits.
Daniel Heller-Roazen is Arthur W. Marks ’19 Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University. Most recent books are Absentees: On Variously Missing Persons (2021) and No One’s Ways: An Essay on Infinite Naming (2017).
Fee: $40; for students with ID: $10. Registration details to follow.