The interpretation of dreams

by Sigmund Freud

Other authorsA. A. Brill (Translator.)
Book, 1950

Status

Available

Call number

FR

Tags

Call number

FR

Publication

New York: The Modern Day Library

Original publication date

1899
1900

Physical description

21 cm

Local notes

First published in 1899, “The Interpretation of Dreams” has come be regarded as Sigmund Freud’s most significant work, one in which he would introduce his theory of the unconscious. According to Freud, dreams are forms of wish fulfillment, a sort of conflict resolution through subconscious processing of past and present troubles. Freud reasoned that the thoughts of the unconscious mind, being unruly and disturbing, were censored by the preconscious mind preventing them from passing unaltered into the conscious mind. He argued that dreams were the mechanism whereby the thoughts of the unconscious mind passed through the preconscious to the conscious mind in an altered state and thus required interpretation through psychoanalysis. “The Interpretation of Dreams” begins with an analysis of the scientific literature on the subject of dreams that predates the work, which Freud remarks is interesting but inadequate. He then discusses various types of dreams with specific examples from literature, his own dreams, and the dreams of his patients, in order to illustrate his theory. Though having received mixed reviews since its first publication, “The Interpretation of Dreams” is undoubtedly an important early work on the subject of dream analysis. This edition is printed on premium acid-free paper and follows the 1913 translation by A. A. Brill of the third German edition.

User reviews

LibraryThing member BLUEBELL
Not for those who want a book of standardized dream interpretations. If you'd like a taste of Freud's ego run amok: this is for you. Anything in the dream case histories that could possibly be interpreted any other way, isn't. He's looked into *every detail* [excruciatingly] and always finds a way
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to incorporate that dream into his narrowly defined theories. If any book can be both pedantic and comical, this is it.
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LibraryThing member albertgoldfain
Very thorough and comprehensive analysis. I wasn't expecting hard science, since, as experimental data, dreams are a difficult ground for repeatability. Freud is very good at separating the component mechanisms: consolidation, censor, and wish fulfilment, and he clearly saw dreams as ultimately
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intelligible windows into mental life.
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LibraryThing member nervenet
Since I am not employed as a therapist of any variety, I found this less useful than Freud's writings on broader topics. Interesting, but not as much as other Freud.
LibraryThing member hellbent
Makes one's dream world more meaningful.
LibraryThing member TheBooknerd
I read this book for a literary criticism class -- rather than psychology -- so I actually enjoyed it. Freud may have been a nutter, but he had some interesting ideas. His dream interpretations are a just another fun way of looking at information. If you don't take this book too seriously, and
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remind yourself that there's never a single right answer, you'll find it falls under that "good to know" category, regardless of whether or not you ever use his techniques.
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LibraryThing member decidedlybookish
At a hefty 664 pages, this was hard work at times, and I did skip the last forty pages or so because it was dragging and I was excited about my next book. The bits that dragged for me were the highly theoretical bits. What I liked best were the case histories and the analyses of Freud’s own
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dreams and those of his friends and family. This book was most enjoyable when Freud put most of himself into it. He seems to have been a peculiar but ultimately rather endearing man.

As the blurb promised, ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ did change the way I think about dreams. I’ve been able to look over records kept of old dreams with a fresh perspective. What I got most out of it was the idea that dreams are wish fulfilments. I would argue that they are other things too, but I see elements of wish fulfilment in almost all of my dreams. It’s sort of how we reconcile ourselves to the gap between reality and all that we desire. I didn’t accept all of Freud’s claims – I would have been very surprised if I had done. I started the book a bit ironically: Freud is well-known for his theory that everyone wants to shag their parents and pretty much anything else that moves. In short, he’s known for being obsessed with sex. This element of his thinking wasn’t really apparent until about half way through through this book, in which there’s a hilarious chapter on symbolism. Everything represents genitals, apparently: umbrellas, nail-files, boxes, cupboards, ships, keys, staircases, tables, hats, coats, neckties, ploughing, bridges, children, animals, relatives, luggage, all other body parts… we had a jolly good laugh about this in bed.
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LibraryThing member michaelbartley
I discovered that Freud is a excellent writer. This is perhaps the most basic book about his ideas and psychoanalysis. Of course it very dated now, but Freud was trying to understand the mind. I know that one of the criticism of Freud is that he only talked or wrote about sex, but that because that
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what all patients talked about
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LibraryThing member hbergander
As a layman, I like Freud’s oeuvre beyond its scientific content for being excellent literature. Many of his theories ever have been controversially considered and often he contradicts himself. For example, in his work about dreams: Every dream, he posits, has a sexual background. But in the
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reported case studies only little sexual content is to be found.
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LibraryThing member BruderBane
After finishing "The Interpretation of Dreams,” I found myself saying “wow.” Very few authors have really bowled me over with their ability to think and write analytically, I now see with greater clarity why people look on this work with such fondness and verve. If you are like me and want to
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achieve a greater understanding of the psyche, by all means read Freud. However, be prepared for dense writing and know your literature.
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LibraryThing member JoshuaMichail
Sigmund Freud's "The Interpretation of Dreams" is a fascinating subject. There is still no precise science to this endeavor -- though over the past century much more has been learned about neurology and the mind, reshaping psychology dramatically since Freud. Unlike traditional cult and folk
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approaches, Freud tried to apply psychology to interpreting dreams rather than spiritual or religious mythoi. Since Freud we've learned that dreams often are a way for our minds to incorporate the day's events, to help us learn what we think we've learned. We've also learned that dreams can fill multiple functions, not just learning but also, as Freud proposed, wish fulfillment and the mind's attempt to deal with traumas. Dreams can vary in any of us from night to night and each can serve a different purpose. Dreams are also often merely entertainment for the mind while we're asleep.

Though much has changed in psychology over the past century since Freud, I would recommend reading "The Interpretation of Dreams". Just keep an open mind and figure that not every dream has some deep psychological meaning.
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LibraryThing member JoshuaMichail
Sigmund Freud's "The Interpretation of Dreams" is a fascinating subject. There is still no precise science to this endeavor -- though over the past century much more has been learned about neurology and the mind, reshaping psychology dramatically since Freud. Unlike traditional cult and folk
Show More
approaches, Freud tried to apply psychology to interpreting dreams rather than spiritual or religious mythoi. Since Freud we've learned that dreams often are a way for our minds to incorporate the day's events, to help us learn what we think we've learned. We've also learned that dreams can fill multiple functions, not just learning but also, as Freud proposed, wish fulfillment and the mind's attempt to deal with traumas. Dreams can vary in any of us from night to night and each can serve a different purpose. Dreams are also often merely entertainment for the mind while we're asleep.

Though much has changed in psychology over the past century since Freud, I would recommend reading "The Interpretation of Dreams". Just keep an open mind and figure that not every dream has some deep psychological meaning.
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LibraryThing member Salmondaze
This book probably gets a perfect score from all psychoanalysts everywhere. But for the rest of us living in the real world this book serves better as the thoughts of a poet in action than any actual psychological applications. Nearly all of Sigmund Freud's findings have been refuted with good
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evidence. For example, Freud thought Fyodor Dostoyevsky's epilepsy was caused by guilt over his father's death when in fact his sons exhibited the same epilepsy,

Nevertheless these ideas are highly tempting and extremely fun to work with. In fact, for the artist they are helpful to one of the highest degrees. It is a highly compelling idea, to take one of the book's biggest conceits, that all dreams are wish fulfillment dreams. The fact that it takes much teasing to bring out that tendency doesn't detract from the thought because we honestly have no idea what dreams are. Some say dreams reflect wish fulfillments and fears, and this seems to be closest to the truth since mankind's first emotion is fear, but dreams are so grotesque, non-sensical, and emotionally charging that it seems so much more is involved with them than beats the eye. Indeed, when Freud is not over-complicating things he is actually over-simplifying them. But this may be the trapping of every person who studies dreams.

Freud's views are heavily rooted in scientific observation so that lends a lot of credence to his theories. In that sense it's easy to see why his views took off in America where they didn't take off in Europe. It's also easy to explain his ascension in America by the fact that Americans don't want to take responsibility for their actions and would rather blame "supernatural" forces such as the id and the super-ego (as opposed to just the ego). Indeed, it's easy to see how some of Freud's more ridiculous ideas stemmed from this simple seed of a book. He did not form his Oedipal Complex theory yet when this book came out, which was probably his most famous theory, but it's only too easy to see how much bullshit could spring from this one book, which was his first. Sigmund Freud may have ultimately been a charlatan, but I personally believe that he was genuinely on the search for truth. "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." Indeed, and so sometimes humans are utterly flawed and it's a wonder we can cipher out the truth in any instance at all, let alone the least likely of instances.
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LibraryThing member cw2016
The foundations of Sigmund Freud’s theories regarding psychotherapy are laid out in this work. Freud describes dreams as being useful tools for understanding his ideas regarding the human mind and its illnesses. According to his work, the dream represents the deepest, hidden longings of the
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unconscious mind, and is the way in which the mind works to maintain balance. It does this by hiding the true meanings of dreams, thoughts, and feelings from the everyday, conscious mind.
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LibraryThing member b.masonjudy
Freud's most famous tome is a surprisingly technical document in terms of the recounting of dreams and the analysis of the signifiers. I found it more difficult than Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis both in the content and the wealth of examples and material Freud uses also makes it
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difficult to trace him aim. I also enjoy it when he gets salty in the footnotes.
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LibraryThing member DrT
The Interpretation of Dreams (Modern Library) by Sigmund Freud

Why I picked this book up:
In watch 2017 Personality 07: Carl Jung and the Lion King on YouTube by Jordan Peterson, Ph.D. He highly recommended reading this book, he said was really good and worth the read.

Thoughts: First thought, I was
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not trained in Psychodynamic psychology orientation. I am a clinical Psychologist, I have been reading founding Psychologist and Psychiatrist writings. This was translated and read through Librivox which was read by many readers. I am thankful because this book was free. I listed to part one over nine hours of material. It had some reader with strong accents that were very difficult to understand for me at times. Freud used his development, unconscious, various drives, dreams, sample interpretations. Maybe, it is the super subjective approach that had me questioning how good and useful that really is?

Why I finished this read: I finished it since I was able to listed to it at 1.75 rate and because it is related to work, Psychology my past supervisor said as long as it is related to work we can read and listed to it at work so I did

Stars rating: 3 out of 5. I was going to give it 2.5 but I gave it 3 since it is old foundational material that has some examples of what he worked with I might or might not finish the second section. We shall see I’d I can get myself to finish it.
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LibraryThing member goosecap
The most obvious thing about Freud is that it’s not meant to be read by someone with a pressing problem but by a meandering intellectual with a lot of time on their hands. That said, a lot of people have an allergic reaction to his Victorian elitism, and I think this can be overdone. I did learn
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some moderately interesting things about dreams, (for example, he says we tend to remember the most important part of a dream—it’s all condensed), even though I basically read the book for perspective and am not anxious to read more Freud. I also agree I guess that dreams are wish fulfillment, I guess of the animal self, although his problem is that he’s very naive about the animal self…. It’s been said before I guess but really Freud makes sex into the religion; it’s a bookish sex but the mind has to be given something to chew on if it’s going to work, and for Freud it’s not God, right. Personally I do have dreams about sex but it’s basically not stuff that I *really* want, it’s not healthy nor likely to make me happy. I’m much more proud of my dreams about vegetarianism, which occur quite often. Life’s usually much more doable when you give something up, something old Sigmund with his meandering grasping elitist books didn’t seem to get…. Though the book does give you perspective, which is what I signed up for, so.

…. The thing about Freud and dreams (we love dreams these days) and hope is that it can turn into provisional living (one day) and what-if living (anxiety/speculation). What if, what if. The more time you have to waste, the more attractive Freud is to you. Personally I don’t mind wasting time now and then, as long as it doesn’t involve the television.

…. And, you know.

Freud: So I said to the cab man, Thanks for wasting twenty minutes, bozo! Only I said it in Ancient Greek. So then I talked to my friend the doctor, the loser with no kids, who I had the dream about. So I’m pretty great.
Jung: That’s nice. *wistful pause* Do you ever wonder if our greater knowledge should lead us into a greater love of man?
Freud: *quickly* No not really. *grabs his arm* Look this is the plant catalog I was telling you about….

…. But people liked him.

Freud: *recounts cab man insult/doctor dream guy story*
Flirt A: Pronunciation of Attic! *makes a note*
Flirt B: Unlike (whoever), I, am sure, my, marriage-bed will be a Fertile one.
Freud: *tittles into his wine* The dreams I shall have tonight, ladies, the dreams I shall have tonight!

…. Was it Joni Mitchell who said that sex kills? That, or it makes you miserable.

It gives you a reason to brood. Breeding and brooding.

Teenager: Was Freud a monster?
Jung: Many people find fault with him.
Teenager: Was he bad.
Jung: We all have a shadow, but he was like a father to me.
Teenager: *beat, then* My father drinks.
Jung: *nods, doesn’t say anything*

Wayne Dyer: My father was my greatest teacher.
Jung: What was he like.
Wayne Dyer: He was a drunk.
Jung: What was your relationship like.
Wayne Dyer: I never knew him, but for many years I hated him passionately.
Jung: And now he’s your greatest teacher.
Wayne Dyer: Yes.
Jung: What did he teach you.
Wayne Dyer: Petty tyrants only seem like petty tyrants. Really they are God in disguise, sent here to remind us to love each other, and not to hold each other in contempt.
Jung: Do you write books.
Wayne Dyer: No.
Jung: Start writing books.

Japanese Samurai Statue Guy: Once, I was a cow. But then, I ascended to a higher state of being. It was because I had Buddha-compassion for the other cows. I saved them from the Americans.
Jung: *excited* Who’s writing this down!
Japanese Samurai Statue Guy: And that’s why I created No Cow, a company that makes dairy-free protein bars. Here. Try some.
Jung: *picking one* Ooo, raspberry truffle.
Freud: *pulling his arm* Come on. He probably just wants to have sex with his mother.
Jung: He’s probably a monk! *eating* Hey, this is good!
*Freud and Jung leave, leaving Jack behind*
Jack: *struck by the absurdity of the whole thing* Well, I did say that the greatest bifurcation of humanity is between those who believe something, and those who believe nothing.
Japanese Samurai Statue Guy: *meditating* Om Mani Padme Hung, Om Mani Padme Hung….
Jack: Do any of them have chocolate?
Japanese Samurai Statue Guy: Most of them have some form of dairy-free chocolate, yes.
Jack: Can I have this one?
Japanese Samurai Statue Guy: Of course, this food is all paid for.

…. (afterword) That said, Freud has his uses. He doesn’t really have solutions, but he’s good at describing problems—especially self-deception— even if he’s basically a little indifferent to helping, from sheer love of knowing about what’s wrong, when you come to it.

But last night, after I had a brief but unsettling encounter with my mother’s alkie restlessness, I had this dream about my father, criticizing my liberal religious opinions—I haven’t seen my father in several days, and the last time we talked it was a neutral experience; I try to keep the liberal state of my soul a secret from him to keep him from sinning. But it’s all kinda the same-gender parent aggression that Freud theatrically called Oedipal, you know. It’s not quite as theatrical in real life, but we do often see the world through a lens of a gender of rivals and a gender of partners, and it can influence how we see our parents. (And then parental stuff comes out in all relationships.) So Freud described the problem, and it shouldn’t surprise me that I can be so self-deceptive, you know, subconscious impulses so firmly tending towards sin. But I don’t know if old Sigmund ever healed anybody, you know; he certainly doesn’t seem to care much about healing…. I guess you’ve just got to go on repeating the Name of Gladness, (as the old hymn has it).
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LibraryThing member AliceaP
I tried SO hard to get thru this one and made it about halfway (pg 330) before conceding defeat. I had to accept that my interest just wasn't being held and it was time to move on to another book.
LibraryThing member markm2315
Fascinating. I never know what to make of Freud, monumental genius or self-deceiving doofus. Interesting discussion of his children's dreams, including his later to be famous daughter. Interesting review of previous 19th century work on dreams in the first chapter. Basically, he describes the
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dream, then he states that it seems meaningless without analysis. Then he gives the analysis. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "Thus we can see that these authors had worked out their conclusions far better than their arguments."

Ifrah. The Universal History of Numbers. p. 402
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