Returning to the Diary of Anne Frank in 2024

Returning to the Diary of Anne Frank in 2024

Presenter: Katherine Dalsimer PhD
Discussant: Susan Scheftel PhD

Tuesday, April 2, 2024 at 8 PM

Location: Columbia University Faculty House, 64 Morningside Drive
(enter via 116th St. click here for directions)
or via Zoom

Anne Frank was given her now-famous diary as a 13th birthday present on June 12, 1942, and she wrote her last entry on August 1, 1944, shortly before the Secret Annex was raided by the Nazis and the eight occupants were sent to concentration camps. Only Otto Frank survived.

In describing her approach to this presentation, Dr. Dalsimer writes:

I will discuss three readings of The Diary of Anne Frank at three different points in time. Most people have read her diary at some time; I first read it myself when I was about the same age that Anne was when she wrote it. On that reading, knowing of her death at the age of 15 in Bergen Belsen darkened every page. When I returned to her diary as an adult, it was to write about it in my book Female Adolescence: Psychoanalytic Reflections on Literature, which was published in 1986. Having been haunted by her death on my earlier reading, I was surprised to find how much of life there was in her diary: I saw in Anne a model of not just normal but healthy female development—even as she lived under the most harrowing and terrifying of circumstances. Anne Frank cannot change, but history changes and as individuals we change, and we return to texts altered. I conclude this paper with a third reading, looking at The Diary of Anne Frank in our present historical moment.

Katherine Dalsimer, PhD, is a member of the faculty of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research and the director of its Affiliate Scholars’ Program. She is a Clinical Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. She is the author of Female Adolescence: Psychoanalytic Reflections on Literature and Virginia Woolf: Becoming a Writer, both published by Yale University Press. Most recently she contributed a chapter to The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Psychoanalysis (Cambridge University Press), a volume which won the American Psychoanalytic Association prize for best book of 2024.

Susan Scheftel, PhD, is a faculty member of the Columbia University Center for Training and Research and is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medical Psychology in Psychiatry. She has been the Program Chair of the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine since 2020.

This evening is chiefly an in person event though there will also be a hybrid option.

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