On the Couch: Writers Analyze Sigmund Freud with André Aciman, Sheila Kohler, Casey Schwartz, and Daphne Merkin

June 3rd
McNally Jackson Seaport
RSVP Required — see below

Join McNally Jackson and a host of contributors to celebrate this new collection of colorful and candid essays and other pieces about Freud and his legacy today, featuring twenty-five leading writers. 

Filled with insights, provocation, and humor, On the Couch offers an original and nuanced portrait of Freud as a complex figure who, for all his flaws, forever changed how we see ourselves and the world.

W. H. Auden described Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) as "a whole climate of opinion / Under whom we conduct our differing lives." The controversial father of psychiatry and psychoanalysis, Freud charted the human unconscious, brought us the talking cure, and wrote books that now rank among the classics of world literature. In On the Couch, the great analyst is analyzed by some of today's great writers and thinkers, who help us understand the man who has helped us understand ourselves as much, if not more, than anyone else, ever. The result is a fresh, multifaceted reassessment of Freud's continuing relevance and influence on ideas, literature, culture, science, and more.

"At a time when Freud is so easily written off as ‘an anachronism or a punch line,’ when ‘his story is one that many people think they know,’ [On the Couch] pushes against the myth of that single, already-familiar story by offering unique lines of reasoning and association about a vast array of issues related to him. . . . A solid collage of voices to complicate our picture of psychoanalysis." —Kirkus Reviews

"[A] lively volume. . . . Taking tacts both personal and psycholanalytical, these essays paint a fresh, full picture of Freud’s life, work, and indelible cultural impact." —The Millions

André Aciman was born in Alexandria, Egypt, and is an American memoirist, essayist, novelist, and scholar of seventeenth-century literature. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Call Me by Your Name and Find Me, as well as Out of Egypt and other novels, essay collections, and Audible novellas. Aciman is the director of the Writers’ Institute and is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He has written for the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, the New Republic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many other magazines and newspapers. His latest book, Roman Year is being published this autumn.



Sheila Kohler is the author of eleven novels, three volumes of short fiction, a memoir, and many essays. Her most recent novel is Open Secrets published in July, 2020 by Penguin. Her memoir Once We Were Sisters was published in 2017 by Penguin as well as in England and Spain. She has won numerous prizes including the O.Henry and been included in Best American Short Stories and Best American Mystery Stories 2020. Her work has been published in thirteen countries. She has taught at Columbia, Sarah Lawrence, Bennington, and at Princeton since 2008. Her novel, Cracks was made into a film with directors Jordan and Ridley Scott with Eva Green playing Miss G. You can find her blog at Psychology Today under ‘Dreaming for Freud.’

Casey Schwartz is the author of In the Mind Fields: Exploring the New Science of Neuropsychoanalysis and Attention: A Love Story. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Bookforum and the Washington Post, among other publications.




Daphne Merkin is a novelist and critic who has made a name for herself with her often-unnerving candor and forthright attitude towards issues of family, religion, money, and sex as well as her ability to straddle the High/Low cultural divide. Merkin is the author of the novel Enchantment, two essay collections: The Fame Lunches and Dreaming of Hitler, as well as a memoir about her life-long struggle with depression, This Close to Happy. Her latest book, a novel called 22 Minutes of Unconditional Love, was published in July 2020 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Merkin continues to write cultural criticism and book pieces for a variety of publications, including the New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic, Airmail, and the New York Review of Books. Shen has taught writing at the 92nd Street Y, Marymount Manhattan College, Hunter College, and at Columbia University’s MFA program. She lives in New York City.



RSVP Below

In order to keep our events program running in uncertain times, we're asking attendees to hold their place with a $5 voucher, redeemable on the night of the event on any product in store or in our bar & café. If you have a change of heart or plans, write to events@mcnallyjackson.com and we'll gladly refund you and release your spot, up to 24 hours before the event. Thanks for understanding, and for supporting your local bookstore.