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Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious (1940)

by Sigmund Freud

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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732421,348 (3.68)None
While in this book Freud tells some good stories with his customary verve and economy, its point is wholly serious.



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This was a very interesting study by Freud about the nature of humor, comedy, and jokes. It was different from his other major, and even minor, pieces- and herein lies its strength and weakness. Although it's dated now and the scientific relevance is dubious in nature, the ideas that permeate through this (and the analysis) I feel are still worth denoting.

3 stars. ( )
  DanielSTJ | May 22, 2020 |
Sigmund Freud‘s Il motto di spirito e la sua relazione con l'inconscio (Jokes and their relation to the unconscious). A very good book, the differences between different genres of humor are interesting. This book wises people up to humor and its functions, structures and social influence. I didn’t like the link between jokes and repressed sexual impulses, it felt too forced and unnatural, especially when applied to some kinds of jokes. ( )
  Aimapotis | Jan 3, 2017 |
Freud had first discussed jokes in his work on dreams, drawing upon the relationship--and the fact that so many dreams really are jokes had been observed. This dates back to 1899. Freud also credits and draws upon the work of Theodor Lipps, the Munich professor who introduced the term 'Einfulung" [empathy]. Among others, Freud also credits Kuno Fisher, whose definition provides many windows and doors: "A joke is a playful judgment". [10]

Once Freud's structural view of the mind had been developed, his collection of the material for this book on the function of Jokes began in earnest.

Much of this material plays off linguistics. For example, "Traduttore--Traditore!" [Translator--Traitor!] Fortunately, this translation does very well with the German-English, minimizing clumsy periphrases but adding clarifications with care -- "care-ifications" (Sorry, could not help myself, after reading the Witzig-Scherz "strange fatality" in which German and English terms never seem to coincide).[7] And even the German "Humor" often used by itself, but in English is rarely used without "sense of".

Freud takes on the complex psychological processes and relationships invoked by Jokes, showing how they appear and are used. After analyzing examples, he theorizes "what it is that jokes achieve" in the service of their purpose. "They make possible the satisfaction of an instinct (whether lustful or hostile) in the face of an obstacle that stands in its way." [101]
  keylawk | Dec 31, 2013 |
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Freud, Sigmundprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Strachey, JamesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Wer einmal Anlaß gehabt hat, sich in der Literatur bei Ästhetikern und Psychologen zu erkundigen, welche Aufklärung über Wesen und Beziehungen des Witzes gegeben werden kann, der wird wohl zugestehen müssen, daß die philosophische Bemühung dem Witz lange nicht in dem Maße zu teil geworden ist, welches er durch seine Rolle in unserem Geistesleben verdient.
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W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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