The Future of an Illusion

Overview

Of the various English translations of Freud's major works to appear in his lifetime, only one was authorized by Freud himself: The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud under the general editorship of James Strachey.
In the manner of the eighteenth-century philosophe, Freud argued that religion and science were mortal enemies. Early in the century, he began to think about religion psychoanalytically and to discuss it in his writings. 'The Future ...

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Overview

Of the various English translations of Freud's major works to appear in his lifetime, only one was authorized by Freud himself: The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud under the general editorship of James Strachey.
In the manner of the eighteenth-century philosophe, Freud argued that religion and science were mortal enemies. Early in the century, he began to think about religion psychoanalytically and to discuss it in his writings. 'The Future of an Illusion' (1927), Freud's best known and most emphatic psychoanalytic exploration of religion, is the culmination of a lifelong pattern of thinking.

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Editorial Reviews

Frank J. Sulloway
"This new edition and translation of Sigmund Freud's The Future of an Illusion has much to recommend it. The Introduction, in particular, is a gem of insightful analysis of the conflicting motives and logical inconsistencies that characterize Freud's arguments in this controversial essay. In laying bare the contradictions inherent in this work, Dufresne brings a fresh and incisive understanding to a book that, despite well-justified skepticism about its scientific merits, remains a thought-provoking and quintessentially Freudian explication of religious belief."
Daniel Burston
"This new Broadview Press edition is a wonderful example of rigorous and imaginative scholarly collaboration. Gregory Richter provides a lucid and lively translation, and some searching reflections on the problems of translation, while Todd Dufresne contextualizes Freud's puzzling, late life assault on organized religion, and his equivocal embrace of Enlightenment positivism. Oskar Pfister, one of the book's earliest and most cogent critics, is also discussed with admirable clarity and charm. Bravo!"
Thomas Kemple
"Gregory C. Richter's fluent new translation shows one of Freud's most popular books to be as clear, colloquial, and compelling as anything else by the master of psychoanalysis, and Todd Dufresne's entertaining introduction makes a good case for its surprising contemporary relevance, in spite of its often puzzling arguments."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393008319
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/1989
  • Series: Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud
  • Edition description: The Standard Edition
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 190,704
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) is one of the twentieth century's greatest minds and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology. His many works include The Ego and the Id; An Outline of Psycho-Analysis; Inhibitions; Symptoms and Anxiety; New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis; Civilization and Its Discontent, and others.

Peter Gay is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the National Book Award winner The Enlightenment, the best-selling Weimar Culture, and the widely translated Freud: A Life for Our Time. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction, Todd Dufresne
Sigmund Freud: A Brief Chronology
Translator's Note, Gregory C. Richter
The Future of an Illusion
Appendix A: "The Illusion of a Future": Oskar Pfister's Response to Freud's The Future of an Illusion
Appendix B: Other Works by Freud and Pfister on Religion
Sigmund Freud, "Obsessive Actions and Religious Practices" (1907)
From Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo (1913)
From Sigmund Freud, "Scientific Interest in Psychoanalysis" (1913)
From Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents (1930)
From Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism (1939)
From Oskar Pfister, On the Psychology of Philosophical Thought (1923)
References
Index

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2005

    Freud...one of my candles in the dark

    In this book Freud shows how the need for religion and a god who will protect us at all times stems from the helplessness of our childhood. Basically, there comes a point in our adolescence when we realize that we will die one day. This thought is much too threatening for our immature and underdeveloped brain to deal with. In order to satisfy our infantile wish of never dying, primitive humans invented a god figure who will save us from the inevitability of this. Freud shows how the protection we received from our mother/father/guardian easily converts, in our older age, to the concept of god. If logic, reasoning and science are the tools you use to run your life read this book. If faith is the method in which you acquire your information, read at your own risk.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2007

    You can't believe everything

    I felt that I should put in a comment if this is considered a review. I read the book about twenty years ago when I started college. I was and still am, a Born Again Christian. The book, to me, had alot of mistakes form a man who totally did not understand true Christianity, despite his knowledge.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2002

    My God! -- or a lack there of...

    First things first, I'm a high school senior and at first this book is intimidating. People pointed and laughed when they saw that I was reading "for fun." Fortunately, and this is one of the best decisions of my life, I persisted. I'd never been very clear as to what my feelings were on religion, so I decided to read a selection of religious papers advocating religion and giving logical points confirming God's existence, then making myself familiar with atheistic theories. After doing both, Freud's "The Future of an Illusion" being my atheistic selection and a collection of papers attempting to use mathematical evidence to back up The Bible being my religious selection, I made my choice overwhelmingly to do away with any thoughts of religion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2000

    Powerful yet soft

    I am a devoted follower of many of Freud's psychological theories (except those sexist ones), and this is one of the best books I've read by him. Without resorting to insults or blantant attacks on Christianity, he goes to show that religion is a sociological disease and must perish or take us all down with it. He could have been a little harsher, though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 1999

    Don't let 'Freud' turn you off from this book!

    I first read this book in college, and I was mesmerized. I have since bought myself another copy, and I have purchased several for friends. Now, I am NOT a Freudian with regard to psychology, but Freud does have a very clear way of writing. This book details the logical argument for atheism yet remains respectful of religion. If you are an atheist/agnostic and have trouble putting your beliefs into intelligent words, this book is for you!!! It analytically explains the psychological reasons for religion, thereby validating it, but it does intelligently state why religion is not likely related to truth or fact in any way. A wonderful, intelligent book...Freud--who knew?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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