The Interpretation of Dreams (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

The Interpretation of Dreams (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)


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Interpretation of Dreams, by Sigmund Freud, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

Claiming he had discovered the "royal road to the unconscious,” Sigmund Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams at the turn of the twentieth century, and thus laid the foundation for his innovative technique of psychoanalysis. Largely ignored at first, the book would eventually be considered Freud’s most important work, one that, like Darwin’s The Origin of Species, revolutionized the way human beings view themselves.

The raw material for The Interpretation of Dreams was provided by Freud himself. Spurred on by the death of his father, he began analyzing his own dreams, in the process recreating lost childhood memories and uncovering the roots of his own neuroses. He concluded that dreams were filled with latent meaning, their bizarre imagery and peculiar narratives concealing deep-seated, instinctual motives and desires. For example, his own problems stemmed from a repressed desire for his mother and hostility towards his father—the now-famous Oedipal complex. By revealing how the seemingly trivial nonsense of dreams reflect important personal issues in the dreamer’s present and past life, Freud created a key that unlocked the vital secrets of the unconscious mind.

A fascinating and beautifully written book, The Interpretation of Dreams is an indefinable masterpiece that helped shape the mind of the twentieth century.

Daniel T. O’Hara is Professor of English and first holder of the Mellon Chair in Humanities at Temple University. He is the author of five books, most recently Empire Burlesque.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593082987
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 10/05/2005
Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
Pages: 592
Sales rank: 1,475
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.96(h) x 1.59(d)

Read an Excerpt

From Daniel T. O'Hara and Gina Masucci MacKenzie’s Introduction to The Interpretation of Dreams

During the night of July 23–24, 1895, Sigmund Freud (aged thirty-nine) dreamed the dream that came to be known as the “specimen dream” of psychoanalysis, that of Irma’s injection. Freud began the analysis of this much-commented-on dream before either his self-analysis or his book about dreams was fully underway. It occupies the entire second chapter of The Interpretation of Dreams (1900). It is significant, as we will later see, that although the dream occurred fifteen months prior to the death (in October 1896) of his eighty-two-year-old father, Jacob, from heart and bladder failure, its secret core deals with their ambivalent relationship. Although Freud said that the greatest loss a man could suffer in life was the death of his father, this dream helps to explain why that loss may also be a bit of a blessing.

The dream of Irma’s injection presents a scene in a large hall decorated for the birthday party of Freud’s wife, Martha. As the couple greet guests at the entrance, Freud meets his patient “Irma” (actually a composite of two female patients, Anna Lichtheim and Emma Eckstein, with similar “hysterical” complaints) and some of his medical colleagues, all given pseudonyms: Dr. M., the master diagnostician; Otto, Freud’s needling friend; and another associate, Leopold. As the dream makes clear, hysterical complaints—such as dizziness and breathlessness without exertion, partial paralysis of a limb, abdominal pains not tied to evident gastric obstructions or dietary excesses, loss of voice, and so on—were at the time taken to be the symptoms of what was termed a hysterical neurosis, particularly in women.

Before he went to bed and had this famous dream, Freud had completed a report for one of these colleagues that justified his treatment for his patient Irma; the report was for the older physician and mentor whom he held in the deepest respect and who appears in the dream as Dr. M. The reason for this sudden bout of conscientious reporting was that earlier that night Otto, a mutual friend and Freud’s contemporary who came to dinner that evening with a cheap gift, a rancid bottle of liqueur, mentioned during casual conversation over cigars that he had just treated Irma for an organic symptom, not a neurotic one. In effect, Otto called into serious question Freud’s psychological diagnosis and therapeutic treatment—the cathartic talking cure for hysterical symptoms (not quite psychoanalysis yet) that he and Josef Breuer had outlined in their controversial Studies on Hysteria (1895). At this point in his career, Freud still held to the seduction theory of the origin of neurosis and to the technique of cathartic discharge as its cure. He came to believe that it is the memory of unconscious fantasies rather than the memory of real events that inaugurates and sustains neurosis, and that reliving traumatic emotion alone, without analytic insight, is not of any permanent help.

Freud’s Irma dream fantastically supplemented his self-justifying report by showing its dreamer to be correct in his original diagnosis of the psychological rather than the organic nature of Irma’s ailments. It portrays Freud’s friend Otto as a miserly and dangerously bungling fool, his patient Irma as a self-destructively resistant patient who is finally compliant, and the other compliant women in the dream (except his now sixth-time pregnant wife) as dying to have their hysterical secrets also penetrated and cured by this brilliant, if now middle-aged, specialist in nervous diseases, our hero Sigmund Freud.

The most dramatic moment in the dream comes when Freud and his colleagues examine Irma in the middle of the party. They tap her chest and check her body, whose secrets are all visible for the men to see, as if she were naked. She then obliges them by opening wide her mouth to reveal strange and uncanny structures at once reminiscent of the nasal cavity and of the female genitalia. With the addition of white scabrous patches in her mouth suggesting both discharged sperm and syphilitic infection, Irma’s degradation, one would think, is complete. It is worsened, however, when Otto, who lacks professional conscientiousness, injects Irma’s shoulder with a dirty syringe, causing it to become infected. Despite this, Dr. M. momentarily takes Otto’s side in the dream, and tells the other doctors and Irma not to worry, absurdly enough, as dysentery will soon supervene, and all toxins will thus be expelled. At this point, there appears in the dream the incomplete chemical name and formula for an unknown compound, which are reminiscent of both the main ingredient in the cheap liqueur Otto brought to dinner and of what we now term female hormones, the material trigger of a woman’s sexuality. By the dream’s conclusion, however, the purely physical causes of Irma’s ailments have all been superceded by the psychological cause of repressed sexuality, a “drive,” as Freud will later term it, that exists on the border between nature and culture.

This dream and its detailed analysis inevitably lead Freud to the conclusion that a dream, any dream, is the disguised “fulfilment of a wish.” To go further, the dream fulfills Freud’s greatest wish: to lay bare the secret of dreams, which is that the mechanism of dreams is wish fulfillment. This dream of Irma’s injection thereby reveals the truth of all dreams by revealing its purely wishful motivation. So certain was Freud of the momentous significance of his discovery about the real meaning of dreams that he immodestly confessed to Wilhelm Fliess—an ear, nose, and throat specialist from Berlin who acted as Freud’s theoretical sounding board and who was given to wild biological speculations—that one day there would be a memorial plaque at the door of the house where he first discovered the secret of dreams. (Freud proved a prophet in this respect).

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The Interpretation of Dreams 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 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.
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
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
michaelbartley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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
decidedlybookish on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
BruderBane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
hellbent on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Makes one's dream world more meaningful.
nervenet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
BLUEBELL on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Very intriquing book.
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