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The interpretation of dreams
Freud, Sigmund, 1856-1939.
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Traumdeutung. English
Publication Information:
Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
liv, 458 pages ; 23 cm

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BF1078 .F72 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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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.

Author Notes

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).

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

In her new translation, Crick (emeritus, German, Univ. Coll., London) gives us the first edition of Freud's magnum opus (1900) with historical context and notes on the theory and practice of translation. While this version lacks the fullness of Freud's intellectual development, it reveals the fundamental work clearly and in context. Serious students can have the best of both worlds by comparing Crick's work with James Strachey's 1953 work (a variorum of all eight editions, considered the "standard") in passages of particular interest. This more literal version, not beholden to the psychoanalytic movement and its defense of Freud as scientist, pays respect to Strachey while "attempting to render Freud's varying registers, listening for latent metaphors as well as his grand elucidatory analogies." Here we come closer to Freud's masterly German, yet, as with Strachey, it reads like good English. Recommended for academic and larger general libraries.ÄE. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ., Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This new translation of the first edition of Freud's Interpretation of Dreams emerges on the 100th anniversary of the original. The best-known English version of the book is James Strachey's 1971 translation of Freud's eighth edition (1930), to which Freud had added many notes. The advantage of this present translation version is that it offers readers a chance to appreciate Freud's mind at work creating his theory, without the encumbrance of afterthoughts. The translator (German, University Collee London, UK) emphasizes the "ear for the literary and cultural resonance" of the language; by rendering the text as close to Freud's meaning as possible, she hopes to interest the lay reader as well as the professional in this text, which has been so influential in the history of ideas of the 20th century. Argument over translation has been an integral part of Freud scholarship, and any new translation will certainly be poured over with much interest. Even though the Hogarth press intends to begin producing its new translation of Freud's entire oeuvre in 2000, this volume will have its place. An excellent effort; recommended especially for collections supporting psychology on the graduate level and for professionals. R. H. Balsam; Yale University



From Daniel T. O'Hara and Gina Masucci MacKenzie's Introduction to The Interpretation of Dreams               During the night of July 23-24, 1895, Sigmund Freud (aged thirty-nine) dreamed the dream that came to be known as the "specimen dream" of psychoanalysis, that of Irma's injection. Freud began the analysis of this much-commented-on dream before either his self-analysis or his book about dreams was fully underway. It occupies the entire second chapter of The Interpretation of Dreams (1900). It is significant, as we will later see, that although the dream occurred fifteen months prior to the death (in October 1896) of his eighty-two-year-old father, Jacob, from heart and bladder failure, its secret core deals with their ambivalent relationship. Although Freud said that the greatest loss a man could suffer in life was the death of his father, this dream helps to explain why that loss may also be a bit of a blessing.             The dream of Irma's injection presents a scene in a large hall decorated for the birthday party of Freud's wife, Martha. As the couple greet guests at the entrance, Freud meets his patient "Irma" (actually a composite of two female patients, Anna Lichtheim and Emma Eckstein, with similar "hysterical" complaints) and some of his medical colleagues, all given pseudonyms: Dr. M., the master diagnostician; Otto, Freud's needling friend; and another associate, Leopold. As the dream makes clear, hysterical complaints--such as dizziness and breathlessness without exertion, partial paralysis of a limb, abdominal pains not tied to evident gastric obstructions or dietary excesses, loss of voice, and so on--were at the time taken to be the symptoms of what was termed a hysterical neurosis, particularly in women.             Before he went to bed and had this famous dream, Freud had completed a report for one of these colleagues that justified his treatment for his patient Irma; the report was for the older physician and mentor whom he held in the deepest respect and who appears in the dream as Dr. M. The reason for this sudden bout of conscientious reporting was that earlier that night Otto, a mutual friend and Freud's contemporary who came to dinner that evening with a cheap gift, a rancid bottle of liqueur, mentioned during casual conversation over cigars that he had just treated Irma for an organic symptom, not a neurotic one. In effect, Otto called into serious question Freud's psychological diagnosis and therapeutic treatment--the cathartic talking cure for hysterical symptoms (not quite psychoanalysis yet) that he and Josef Breuer had outlined in their controversial Studies on Hysteria (1895). At this point in his career, Freud still held to the seduction theory of the origin of neurosis and to the technique of cathartic discharge as its cure. He came to believe that it is the memory of unconscious fantasies rather than the memory of real events that inaugurates and sustains neurosis, and that reliving traumatic emotion alone, without analytic insight, is not of any permanent help.             Freud's Irma dream fantastically supplemented his self-justifying report by showing its dreamer to be correct in his original diagnosis of the psychological rather than the organic nature of Irma's ailments. It portrays Freud's friend Otto as a miserly and dangerously bungling fool, his patient Irma as a self-destructively resistant patient who is finally compliant, and the other compliant women in the dream (except his now sixth-time pregnant wife) as dying to have their hysterical secrets also penetrated and cured by this brilliant, if now middle-aged, specialist in nervous diseases, our hero Sigmund Freud.             The most dramatic moment in the dream comes when Freud and his colleagues examine Irma in the middle of the party. They tap her chest and check her body, whose secrets are all visible for the men to see, as if she were naked. She then obliges them by opening wide her mouth to reveal strange and uncanny structures at once reminiscent of the nasal cavity and of the female genitalia. With the addition of white scabrous patches in her mouth suggesting both discharged sperm and syphilitic infection, Irma's degradation, one would think, is complete. It is worsened, however, when Otto, who lacks professional conscientiousness, injects Irma's shoulder with a dirty syringe, causing it to become infected. Despite this, Dr. M. momentarily takes Otto's side in the dream, and tells the other doctors and Irma not to worry, absurdly enough, as dysentery will soon supervene, and all toxins will thus be expelled. At this point, there appears in the dream the incomplete chemical name and formula for an unknown compound, which are reminiscent of both the main ingredient in the cheap liqueur Otto brought to dinner and of what we now term female hormones, the material trigger of a woman's sexuality. By the dream's conclusion, however, the purely physical causes of Irma's ailments have all been superceded by the psychological cause of repressed sexuality, a "drive," as Freud will later term it, that exists on the border between nature and culture.             This dream and its detailed analysis inevitably lead Freud to the conclusion that a dream, any dream, is the disguised "fulfilment of a wish." To go further, the dream fulfills Freud's greatest wish: to lay bare the secret of dreams, which is that the mechanism of dreams is wish fulfillment. This dream of Irma's injection thereby reveals the truth of all dreams by revealing its purely wishful motivation. So certain was Freud of the momentous significance of his discovery about the real meaning of dreams that he immodestly confessed to Wilhelm Fliess--an ear, nose, and throat specialist from Berlin who acted as Freud's theoretical sounding board and who was given to wild biological speculations--that one day there would be a memorial plaque at the door of the house where he first discovered the secret of dreams. (Freud proved a prophet in this respect). Excerpted from The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. vii
Note on the Textp. xxxviii
Note on the Translationp. xl
Select Bibliographyp. xlviii
A Chronology of Sigmund Freudp. lii
The Interpretation of Dreamsp. 1
Explanatory Notesp. 417
Index of Dreamsp. 441
General Indexp. 444