Freud on the Psychology of Ordinary Mental Life

Freud on the Psychology of Ordinary Mental Life

by Susan Sugarman

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442204034
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 05/16/2010
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 5.38(w) x 8.51(h) x 0.57(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Susan Sugarman, professor of psychology at Princeton University, where she also teaches in the Council of the Humanities, is the author of empirical and theoretical works on the cognitive development of children. Attracted by Freud's investigative tactic of using the child to understand the adult, she has written more recently on Freud, including Freud on the Acropolis: Reflections on a Paradoxical Response to the Real.

Table of Contents

Foreword vii

Acknowledgments xiii

Part I Theory and Method

1 Introduction to the Inquiry 3

2 The Pleasure Principle 9

3 Meaning and Determinism and the Search for Anomalies 17

4 Conscious and Unconscious, Repression, and Development 29

5 Developmental Analysis as Investigatory Tool 33

Part II Studies

6 Getting Lost in Someone Else's Story: “Creative Writers and Daydreaming”(1908) 39

7 Why We Laugh at Something Funny: Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious (1905) 43

8 The Experience of the “Uncanny”: “The 'Uncanny'” (1919) 61

9 The Paradox of Surprise in the Face of Certainty: “A Disturbance of Memory on the Acropolis” (1936) 71

10 What Makes Choice Difficult When It Is: A Freud-Inspired Excursion 89

11 Mourning and Mental Health: “On Transience” (1916), “Mourning and Melancholia” (1917) 101

References 107

Index 113

About the Author 119

What People are Saying About This

Britt-Marie Schiller

An extraordinary work on ordinary mental life. As Susan Sugarman, with great clarity and ease, creates wonder at and appreciation for the remarkable insight and generativity of Freud's mind, she also recreates for the reader the pleasures of discovering how remarkable are the workings of the healthy mind in the realm of ordinary experience. This is a perfect book for introducing undergraduates to Freud's theory of mind and its development. (Dr. Britt-Marie Schiller, Webster University and St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute)

Lorraine McCune

In Freud on the Psychology of Ordinary Mental Life Sugarman finds the hidden developmentalist in Freud. Beyond consideration of psychopathology, we learn the value of Freud's theory for understanding adult mental life through the lens of childhood. Phenomena as apparently simple as jokes and as mysterious as the "uncanny" are revealed in a deeper way through this application of this extraordinary theory to the ordinary. (Lorraine McCune, Rutgers University)

Virginia R. Youngren

Professor Sugarman brings a highly refreshing reading to the writing of Freud, which has been deadened for readers by several generations of dogmatists and pedants. From her vantage point as a modern developmental psychologist, Sugarman is particularly able to appreciate and convey Freud's unique strategy of using the child to understand the adult negotiating the psychological twists that lie hidden in everyday mental life. She vivifies Freud's descriptions of being "lost" in a novel, captured by a piece of humor, taken aback by the uncanny. She then applies Freud's analytic tools to make original observations about why the process of making ostensibly mundane choices is actually rife with conflict. This is a valuable and lively book. (Virginia R. Youngren, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School & the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute)

Robert Schwartz

In this insightful and delightful book, Freud on the Psychology of Ordinary Mental Life, Sugarman skillfully explores Freud's explanations of a number of common but anomalous phenomena such as jokes, daydreams and experiences of the uncanny. Her concern, though, is less with the details of the cases than with the methods Freud employs in these studies. Sugarman argues convincingly for the continued significance of Freud's approach, suggesting how the findings of developmental psychology can be used to go beyond Freud in both the application and scope of his method. The final chapters are a rich case study of what can be gained by so doing. Sugarman explores the puzzling everyday experience of the "self-inflicted" discomfort people have when faced with trivial choices between which of two dishes to order from the menu or which of two hats on offering to buy. Her penetrating exploration and analysis of the phenomenon is a gem. (Robert Schwartz, University of Wisconsin)

Carol Rigolot

After years of leading Princeton students through Freud's ideas, Susan Sugarman is the ideal guide for all readers seeking to understand this cultural giant. She walks us through Freud in clear, engaging prose, rich with her own examples and informed by decades of reading and teaching. Sugarman shows how Freud can illuminate features of human life from indecision over a restaurant menu to grief over a loved one. (Carol Rigolot, Executive Director of the Humanities Council, Princeton University)

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