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The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund…

The Interpretation of Dreams (1899)

by Sigmund Freud

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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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.
  cw2016 | Feb 22, 2017 |

I enjoyed reading Freud’s book. When he speaks about dreams and their interpretation, I am reminded of a microfiction I had published years ago where the editor told me it was the weirdest story he has ever read and that a Freudian psychoanalyst would have a field day interpreting. Here it is below. If anyone would care to offer an interpretation according to Freud or any other school of psychoanalysis, I'm sure you could have some fun.

The Roof Dancer

Sidney and Sam, identical twins, crackerjack roofers, started work up on a roof one sultry July morning when Sam tripped on a piece of tar at the roof’s peak and slid down head first. He would have plunged straight to the ground if Sidney hadn’t reached over at the last moment and snatched him by his boots.

Hanging over the side upside-down, Sam had a view through a second floor bedroom window. The lady of the house was completely naked. Her ample rear end was bobbing and swinging to a polka playing on an enormous ancient phonograph.

Sidney yanked Sam back up to the roof but Sam became so excited in the process, he ejaculated his semen seed. By the time the seed popped out of the bottom of his dungarees, rolled off the roof and landed in the yard, it was the size of a cantaloupe.

From all corners of the yard kids skipped over and began frolicking with the seed. Its round contour grew to the size of a watermelon in their hands.

Sam stared down at the kids. He began a high-step gleeful dance, part mazurka, part gavotte, part rumba, part hornpipe right there on the roof, bottom to top, edge to edge, twirling like some enchanted wood nymph, his pot belly jiggling in pure ecstasy.

It wasn’t long before the man of the house, a bald, mustachioed Mr. Verea, made his way up the ladder. “What’s all this racket I’m hearing?” he asked, scanning the roof.

Sam pirouetted daintily at the peak, doffing his baseball cap. Mr. Verea grabbed Sidney by the suspenders and yelled, “Do you guys think I hired you to put a new roof on my house or perform ballet?”

“Yes, sir, right away, sir,” Sidney stammered, beads of sweat pouring off his forehead and bulbous nose.

Mr. Vera pushed Sidney rudely. “Now, I say, do it now!”

Sidney wobbled backwards, nearly toppling over the edge but regained his balance and shoved Mr. Verea back. A rapid-fire shoving match ensued along the entire length of the roof. At the same time Sam fluttered down on tiptoe, scooped up an armful of shingles and started putting them in place.

A fully-dressed Mrs. Verea made her appearance at the head of the ladder. “Get back down here,” she railed at her husband. “Let those men finish their work.”

“Nobody is going to push me on my own roof,” he replied.

“I say come down,” insisted Mrs. Verea.

“Come down yourself,” said Mr. Verea.

Stepping up from the ladder to the roof Mrs. Verea kicked her husband in the pants. He stopped shoving Sidney, turned around and started shoving her, whereupon she too started shoving him furiously.

Sidney fanned himself with his baseball cap and looked over at his brother – just now, between acrobatic leaps of a saltarello, Sam placed the last of the shingles on the tar.

As if he were at the court of Louis XIV, Sidney curtsied gracefully, then pointed to the ladder before climbing down himself. Sam followed, hips swinging but fell between the rungs. There was nothing for Sidney to do but guide the ladder, with his brother stuck in it, to the van.

The kids approached; they held the distended seed, the shape and length of a garden hose now: translucent with flecks of gold, sparkling, radiating light in their hands. When Sam jiggled and kicked down the driveway, the kids shook the magnificent seed, each shake casting out fine gold dust that turned to streams of water when it touched the earth.

( )
  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
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. ( )
  Salmondaze | Mar 21, 2016 |
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. ( )
  JoshuaMichail | Jul 31, 2015 |
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. ( )
  albertgoldfain | Jun 21, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (93 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Freud, Sigmundprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crick, JoyceTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brill, A. A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caparrós Sánchez, NicolásEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forrester, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Masson, J. MoussaieffEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Richards, AngelaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robertson, RitchieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strachey, JamesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Underwood, J.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, StephenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In March 1900, shortly after its publication, Freud wrote to his friend Wilhelm Fliess, '...not a leaf has stirred to reveal that 'The Interpretation of Dreams' has had any impact on anyone.'
In 1909, G. Stanley Hall invited me to Clark University, in Worcester, to give the first lectures on psychoanalysis.
In the following pages, I shall demonstrate that there is a psychological technique which makes it possible to interpret dreams, and that on the application of this technique, every dream will reveal itself as a psychological structure, full of significance, and one which may be assigned to a specific place in the psychic activities of the waking state.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380010003, Mass Market Paperback)

Whether we love or hate Sigmund Freud, we all have to admit that he revolutionized the way we think about ourselves. Much of this revolution can be traced to The Interpretation of Dreams, the turn-of-the-century tour de force that outlined his theory of unconscious forces in the context of dream analysis. Introducing the id, the superego, and their problem child, the ego, Freud advanced scientific understanding of the mind immeasurably by exposing motivations normally invisible to our consciousness. While there's no question that his own biases and neuroses influenced his observations, the details are less important than the paradigm shift as a whole. After Freud, our interior lives became richer and vastly more mysterious.

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:19 -0400)

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Freud's additions, deletions, and alterations are included in this translation of his psychoanalytic study of the function, sources, nature, and characteristics of dreams.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400101662, 1452601283

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