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The Interpretation of Dreams

The Interpretation of Dreams

4.1 40
by Sigmund Freud, Ritchie Robertson (Editor), Joyce Crick (Translator)

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This ground-breaking work, which Freud considered his most valuable, forever changed the way we think about our dreams. In it, Freud made this century's startling discoveries about why we dream, what we dream about, and what dreams really mean.

Now, in this definitive translation by James Strachey, Freud's timeless exploration of



This ground-breaking work, which Freud considered his most valuable, forever changed the way we think about our dreams. In it, Freud made this century's startling discoveries about why we dream, what we dream about, and what dreams really mean.

Now, in this definitive translation by James Strachey, Freud's timeless exploration of the dream world is clearly and precisely rendered. Including dozens of case histories and detailed analyses of actual dreams, THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS remains an invaluable tool in helping us all discover the truth about ourselves.

• What does a dream about a loved one's death mean?

• What is the significance of anxiety dreams?

• What do dreams of swimming, failing, or flying symbolize?

• What is expressed in dreams about baldness or loss of teeth?

• What are the most common dreams and why do we have them?

Editorial Reviews

Jeff Gordinier
There are few things more self-indulgent than keeping a dream journal, but the king of shrinks makes a persuasive case that understanding yourself starts with understanding that nightmare about the octopus, the train, and Heidi Klum. (After all, your subconscious helps you root out the things you can't say out loud: I'm afraid, or I'm ashamed.) Let the efficiency experts brag about maximizing each minute of your day; Freud salvages the lost hours of your night.
Library Journal
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.--E. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ., Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Times Literary Supplement
Freud considered The Interpretation of Dreams his most important work. Its thesis-like opening pages slowly give way to a long, packed work of quirky brilliance - what one might see as a Decameron-like framework for tales of secret suffering in high bourgeois Vienna. The writing alternates between theoretical, analytic and narrative. Freud examines around 250 dreams with a verbal skill and humour which, the translator says, have given her delight. But the Dreambook not only displays imagination. It unfolds a theory of how human imagination works. In effect, Freud attributes to the unconscious the power of a writer brilliantly deploying the classical tropes to transform his material. For many of us, fascinated by the wordplay which infected the Joyce of Finnegans Wake, and by the interface of philosophy and metaphor, this is why we read The Interpretation; nothing to do with psychoanalysis.

With parallel observations on behaviour and humour in The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901) and The Joke and its Relation to the Unconscious (1905), Freud tries to catalogue the mind's inventiveness against a backdrop of modern philosophy. There is something of Locke and Hume, but also of Brentano's phenomenology, in his account of how we represent the world to ourselves, how our mental representations link up with words, how objects come to be thought about by association with each other, and what it is for an object to exist only in the mind. This eclectic philosophical mixture underlies his account of the unconscious. The three books, led by the Dreambook, with its wonderful exploration of language, are the key to the French Freud. Anglo-American psychoanalysis has looked to, and found, a quite different Freud. The Anglophone world has been partly misled by James Strachey, translator and editor of the Standard Edition. Strachey made key errors, like "instinct" for Trieb, and "mind" for Seele. Worse by far, he thought Freud was talking about structures rather than processes. He introduced pseudo-medical Latin and terrible un-English abstractions like "ideational", following Ernest Jones's instruction to make Freud appeal to scientists. Freud's own style was much more familiar. He would never have written, as Strachey had him do in his Latrine Dream: "I micturated."

Joyce Crick insists that, given Strachey's persistent overall value, and status as a classic, she is not out to fix what ain't bust. But she is right to get rid of "cathexis", "coenaesthesia", "ideational" and so on at a stroke. She probably won't change minds already made up on Freud, but with her brief to give us a new Interpretation of Dreams one hundred years after it first appeared in November 1899, she provides a fresh introduction to a man better approached as a fascinating writer and thinker than a discredited scientist. . . .

Time magazine
“The groundbreaking masterwork that launched psychoanalysis”
Psychology Today
“Freud’s classic. Freud has been a dominant force in Western thinking and here’s the book that started it all.”
The Economist
“[An] epoch-making book”

Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
Oxford World's Classics Series
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.40(d)

Read an Excerpt



In the pages that follow I shall bring forward proof that there is a psychological technique which makes it possible to interpret dreams, and that, if that procedure is employed, every dream reveals itself as a psychical structure which has a meaning and which can be inserted at an assignable point in the mental activities of waking life. I shall further endeavour to elucidate the processes to which the strangeness and obscurity of dream are due and to deduce from those processes the nature of the psychical forces by whose concurrent or mutually opposing action dreams are generated. Having gone thus far, my description will break off, for it will have reached a point at which the problem of dreams merges into more comprehensive problems, the solution of which must be approached upon the basis of material of another kind.

I shall give by way of preface a review of the work done by earlier writers on the subject as well as of the present position of the problems of dreams in the world of science, since in the course of my discussion I shall not often have occasion to revert to those topics. For, in spite of many thousands of years of effort, the scientific understanding of dream has made very little advance--a fact so generally admitted *'in the literature that it seem unnecessary to quote instances in support of it. In these writings, of which a list appears at the end of my work, many stimulating observations are to be found and a quantity of interesting material bearing upon our theme, but little or nothing that touches upon the essential natureof dreams or that offers a final solution of any of their enigmas. And still less, of course, has passed into the knowledge of educated laymen.

It may be asked what view was taken of dreams in prehistoric times by primitive races of men and what effect dreams may have had upon the formation of their conceptions of the world and of the soul; and this is a subject of such great interest that it is only with much reluctance that I refrain from dealing with it in this connection. I must refer my readers to the standard works of Sir John Lubbock, Herbert Spencer, E. B. Tylor and others, and I will only add that we shaft not be able to appreciate the wide range of these problems and speculations until we have dealt with the task that lies before us here---the interpretation of dreams.

The prehistoric view of dreams is no doubt echoed in the attitude adopted towards dream by the peoples Of classical antiquity. They took it as axiomatic that dream were connected with the world of superhuman beings in whom they believed and that they were revelations from gods and daemons. There could he no question, moreover, that for the dreamer dreams had an important purpose, which was as a rule to foretell the future. The extraordinary variety in the content of dreams and in the impression they produced made it difficult, however, to have any uniform view of them and made it necessary to classify dreams into numerous groups and subdivisions according to their importance and trustworthiness. The position adopted towards dreams by individual philosophers in antiquity was naturally dependent to some extent upon their attitude towards divination in general.

In the two works of Aristotle which -deal with dreams, they have already become a subject for psychological study. We are told that dreams are not sent by the gods and are not of a divine character, but that they are 'daemonic,' since nature is 'daemonic' and not divine.

Dreams, that is, do not arise from supernatural manifesta-tions but follow the laws of the human spirit, though thelatter, it is true, is akin to the divine. Dreams are definedas the mental activ ity of the sleeper in so far as he isasleep.'

Aristotle was aware of some of the characteristics of dream-life. He knew, for instance, that dreams give a magnified construction to small stimuli arising during steep. 'Men think that they are walking through fire and are tremendously hot, when there is only a slight heating about certain parts.' And from this circumstance he draws the conclusion that dreams may very well betray to a physician the first signs of some bodily change which has not been observed in waking.

Before the time of Aristotle, as we know, the ancients regarded dreams not as a product of the dreaming mind but as something introduced by a divine agency; and already the two opposing currents, which we shall find influencing opinions of dream-life at every period of history, were making themselves felt. The distinction was drawn between truthful and valuable dreams, sent to the sleeper to warn him or foretell the future, and vain, deceitful and Worthless dreams, whose purpose it was to mislead or destroy him.

The Interpretation of Dreams. Copyright © by Sigmund Freud. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

The Father of Psychoanalysis, Freud ranks among the most important figures in Western psychology, and this is his most famous work. Freud is responsible for the theories behind parapraxis (Freudian slips), dreams as wish fulfillment, the Oedipus complex, repression, the unconscious mind, and other concepts.

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The Interpretation of Dreams 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
veroniccamccoy More than 1 year ago
In this book full of the interpretations of dreams, I found it very compelling, some of the facts and studies of why we dream the way we do. Sigmund relates scenarios and dream experiences to his studies. There are plenty of theories from not so well know philosophers that related quite well to what he was talking about. Lots of information covering almost every aspect of dreams... I recommend this book to anybody who would like to study dreams or learn about their dreams.
KatyScarlettDT More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for one of my term papers and I found that even after the research for the paper was done, I wanted to read the rest of the book. This book showcases Freud's innovative technique for psychoanalysis. It was an extremely interesting read, and it gives you something to think about. This book was put together with plenty of background information such as detailed timelines of Freud's life, and an introduction that will help you understand Freud's work before you get to the difficult parts of the reading. This book also has informative footnotes. These added features to the book let you delve into the mind of Freud a little better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In my opinion The Interpretation of Dreams is the most influential book in the history of psychology, followed closely by the work of Carl Jung. Freud went to places that were controversial and untouched. The concept that men may all have sexual desires for their mothers was some racy stuff for his time. Freud's work is enlightening and several of the pillars of modern psychology. This is a great edition of Freud's legendary work.
Sir_G More than 1 year ago
Interested in what your dreams may be revealing about your inner being then this book will help to achieve that. It in not an easy read yet it is worth the effort to give the basics to the subconscious revelation in dreams
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book Marty Jenkins has a great astrology,but this book is good for the dream dictionary that Ive wanted for a while
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Very intriquing book.
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