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

1900
1899

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 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 achieve a greater understanding of the psyche, by all means read Freud. However, be prepared for dense writing and know your literature.… (more)
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 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.… (more)
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 to incorporate that dream into his narrowly defined theories. If any book can be both pedantic and comical, this is it.… (more)
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 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.
… (more)
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 what all patients talked about… (more)
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 reported case studies only little sexual content is to be found.… (more)
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 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.
… (more)
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 intelligible windows into mental life.… (more)
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 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.
… (more)
LibraryThing member smallself
Jung is great, very smart, good with people, good with ideas, and more sensitive, more well-rounded, really, but Freud is like a father to Jung, and I think that wherever we go, we take our parents with us.
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 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.… (more)
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 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.
… (more)
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