This is the famous book about dreams by Sigmund Freud.
These mysteries clearly bothered him--he went to great (often absurd) lengths to explain dream imagery in terms of childhood sexual trauma, a component of his theory jettisoned mid-century, though now popular among recovered-memory therapists. His dispassionate analyses of his own dreams are excellent studies for cognitive scientists wishing to learn how to sacrifice their vanities for the cause of learning. Freud said of the work contained in The Interpretation of Dreams, "Insight such as this falls to one's lot but once in a lifetime." One would have to feel quite fortunate to shake the world even once. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Moreover, the cover art is very eye catching, since the blurred water-color profiles have a dream-like quality about them, reinforcing, but not distracting from the books subject and contents. In many ways, the book is the cover.
I admire the heavy secondary research Freud put into his book. Keeping in mind Freud's ideas were gestating in the late 1800's, when there was none of the perfected scientific research and research methods that we have today. Like Darwin, Galileo, or Newton, Freud did so much with so little in the way of technological gizmos. This adds even a greater luster to his genius.
However, there are two issues I have with Dr. Freud's methodology. First, his has a very odd universe of sampling, namely himself and his neurotic patients (136, 138). First of all, relying on his own dreams for analysis tends to make his research solipsistic, which is to say we may be looking more at Freud than his research and conclusions. Moreover, relying on neurotic patients does not yield statistically balanced data. His skewed sampling leads to a skewed conclusion.
Secondly, Freud comes to the reductionist conclusion that all dreams are wish fulfillment.Read more ›
It is apparent that Freud concentrates to a larger extent on the use of words in dreams and on the difficulty of deciphering them. Freud's ideas of dreams as wish-fulfillment, his ideas of the retelling of the dream as a continuation, as well as the dream's manifest and latent content, are covered much more clearly than in any of the later editions of the same text. The fact that Joyce Crick's translation is faster-moving and definitively lighter than previous versions enhances the understanding of the material and engages the reader. It established a sense of dialogue with the reader.
While reading Joyce Crick's translation the author of the review remembered her first encounter with Freud's original German version Die Traumdeutung while she was an undergraduate student. The German version was definitely much more difficult to read and caused some confusion for the reader. The author valued Freud's elaboration on the symbols of dreams, but viewed the statement that all psychopathic phenomena derive from the suppression of sexual desires as difficult to comprehend (for an undergraduate student).Read more ›
"Now I have finished and am thinking about the dream book again. I have been looking into the literature and feel like a Celtic imp."Oh, how I am glad that no one, no one knows..." No one suspects that the dream is not nonsense but wish fulfillment."
Indeed, this is the premise of Freud's entire thesis: dreams are no more than repressed unconscious wishes, battling for expression and consummation.
In his own words, Freud had 'dared' to rally against the 'objections of severe science, to take the part of the ancients and of superstition.' In 1900, the official year of the book's publication, its reception, despite its provoctive title, was tepid, and in the course of six years, only sold 351 copies. Freud never gave up hope, and 30 years later, in the preface of the third English edition, he wrote, "It contains, even according to my present day judgement, the most valuable of all the discoveries it has been my good fortune to make. Insight such as this falls to one's lot but once a lifetime.' In present day, one can question any Freud scholar about ~The Interpretation of Dreams~ and they will say the same thing: the book contains everything that 'is' psychoanalysis.
Anyone interested in the history of psychoanalysis and the mind of Sigmund Freud, reading this book is an absolute must. The reading runs along too, quite easily, as Freud was an excellent writer: his unique prose style even shines through some clumsy translations.
If you are interested in the book's process of development, I would suggest reading ~The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud and Wilhelm Fliess~; another gold mine for understanding the growth of psychoanalysis.