Interpretation of Dreams

ISBN-10: 0199537585
ISBN-13: 9780199537587
Edition: 2008
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Description: One hundred years ago Sigmund Freud published The Interpretations of Dreams, a book that, like Darwin's The Origin of Species, revolutionized our understanding of human nature. Now this groundbreaking new translation--the first to be based on the  More...

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Book details

List price: $14.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 9/15/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 512
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.68" long x 0.87" tall
Weight: 0.792
Language: English

One hundred years ago Sigmund Freud published The Interpretations of Dreams, a book that, like Darwin's The Origin of Species, revolutionized our understanding of human nature. Now this groundbreaking new translation--the first to be based on the original text published in November 1899--brings us a more readable, more accurate, and more coherent picture of Freud's masterpiece. The first edition of The Interpretation of Dreams is much shorter than its subsequent editions; each time the text was reissued, from 1909 onwards, Freud added to it. The most significant, and in many ways the most unfortunate addition, is a 50-page section devoted to the kind of mechanical reading of dream symbolism--long objects equal male genitalia, etc.--that has gained popular currency and partially obscured Freud's more profound insights into dreams. In the original version presented here, Freud's emphasis falls more clearly on the use of words in dreams and on the difficulty of deciphering them. Without the strata of later additions, readers will find here a clearer development of Freud's central ideas--of dream as wish-fulfillment, of the dream's manifest and latent content, of the retelling of dreams as a continuation of the dreamwork, and much more. Joyce Crick's translation is lighter and faster-moving than previous versions, enhancing the sense of dialogue with the reader, one of Freud's stylistic strengths, and allowing us to follow Freud's theory as it evolved through difficult cases, apparently intractable counter-examples, and fascinating analyses of Freud's own dreams. The restoration of Freud's classic is a major event, giving us in a sense a new work by one of this century' most startling, original, and influential thinkers.

Sigmund Freud was the founder of psychoanalysis, simultaneously a theory of personality, a therapy, and an intellectual movement. He was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Freiburg, Moravia, now part of Czechoslovakia, but then a city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. At the age of 4, he moved to Vienna, where he spent nearly his entire life. In 1873 he entered the medical school at the University of Vienna and spent the following eight years pursuing a wide range of studies, including philosophy, in addition to the medical curriculum. After graduating, he worked in several clinics and went to Paris to study under Jean-Martin Charcot, a neurologist who used hypnosis to treat the symptoms of hysteria. When Freud returned to Vienna and set up practice as a clinical neurologist, he found orthodox therapies for nervous disorders ineffective for most of his patients, so he began to use a modified version of the hypnosis he had learned under Charcot. Gradually, however, he discovered that it was not necessary to put patients into a deep trance; rather, he would merely encourage them to talk freely, saying whatever came to mind without self-censorship, in order to bring unconscious material to the surface, where it could be analyzed. He found that this method of free association very often evoked memories of traumatic events in childhood, usually having to do with sex. This discovery led him, at first, to assume that most of his patients had actually been seduced as children by adult relatives and that this was the cause of their neuroses; later, however, he changed his mind and concluded that his patients' memories of childhood seduction were fantasies born of their childhood sexual desires for adults. (This reversal is a matter of some controversy today.) Out of this clinical material he constructed a theory of psychosexual development through oral, anal, phallic and genital stages. Freud considered his patients' dreams and his own to be "the royal road to the unconscious." In The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), perhaps his most brilliant book, he theorized that dreams are heavily disguised expressions of deep-seated wishes and fears and can give great insight into personality. These investigations led him to his theory of a three-part structure of personality: the id (unconscious biological drives, especially for sex), the superego (the conscience, guided by moral principles), and the ego (the mediator between the id and superego, guided by reality). Freud's last years were plagued by severe illness and the rise of Nazism, which regarded psychoanalysis as a "Jewish pollution." Through the intervention of the British and U.S. governments, he was allowed to emigrate in 1938 to England, where he died 15 months later, widely honored for his original thinking. His theories have had a profound impact on psychology, anthropology, art, and literature, as well as on the thinking of millions of ordinary people about their own lives. Freud's daughter Anna Freud was the founder of the Hampstead Child Therapy Clinic in London, where her specialty was applying psychoanalysis to children. Her major work was The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense (1936).

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