Civilization and Its Discontents

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2005 - Psychology - 192 pages
410 Reviews
Civilization and Its Discontents may be Sigmund Freud's best-known work. Originally published in 1930, it seeks to answer ultimate questions: What influences led to the creation of civilization? How did it come to be? What determines its course? In this seminal volume of twentieth-century thought, Freud elucidates the contest between aggression, indeed the death drive, and its adversary eros. He speaks to issues of human creativity and fulfillment, the place of beauty in culture, and the effects of repression. Louis Menand, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Metaphysical Club, contributor to The New Yorker, and professor of English at Harvard University, reflects on the importance of this work in intellectual thought and why it has become such a landmark book for the history of ideas. Not available in hardcover for decades, this beautifully rendered anniversary edition will be a welcome addition to readers' shelves.
  

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NOTE: I consider Sigmund Freud a writer of fiction. - Goodreads
Hard to read and disturbing theories. - Goodreads
This is short and easy to read and worth the time. - Goodreads
Freud is so hard to read... - Goodreads

Review: Civilization and Its Discontents

User Review  - Alexander McNamara - Goodreads

NOTE: I consider Sigmund Freud a writer of fiction. As a result, when I rate one of his works, it's that work's strength as a piece of speculative fiction that I will be assigning a rating to ... Read full review

Review: Civilization and Its Discontents

User Review  - André Bueno - Goodreads

OVERVIEW Civilization and its Discontents spells out Sigmund Freud's theory that civilization itself is the main source of unhappiness. By inhibiting their natural instincts, civilization drives ... Read full review

Contents

I
II
25
III
39
IV
67
V
86
VI
98
VII
111
VIII
120
IX
137
Copyright

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References to this book

Human Emotions
Carroll E. Izard
No preview available - 1977
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About the author (2005)

Sigmund Freud was the founder of psychoanalysis, simultaneously a theory of personality, a therapy, and an intellectual movement. He was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Freiburg, Moravia, now part of Czechoslovakia, but then a city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. At the age of 4, he moved to Vienna, where he spent nearly his entire life. In 1873 he entered the medical school at the University of Vienna and spent the following eight years pursuing a wide range of studies, including philosophy, in addition to the medical curriculum. After graduating, he worked in several clinics and went to Paris to study under Jean-Martin Charcot, a neurologist who used hypnosis to treat the symptoms of hysteria. When Freud returned to Vienna and set up practice as a clinical neurologist, he found orthodox therapies for nervous disorders ineffective for most of his patients, so he began to use a modified version of the hypnosis he had learned under Charcot. Gradually, however, he discovered that it was not necessary to put patients into a deep trance; rather, he would merely encourage them to talk freely, saying whatever came to mind without self-censorship, in order to bring unconscious material to the surface, where it could be analyzed. He found that this method of free association very often evoked memories of traumatic events in childhood, usually having to do with sex. This discovery led him, at first, to assume that most of his patients had actually been seduced as children by adult relatives and that this was the cause of their neuroses; later, however, he changed his mind and concluded that his patients' memories of childhood seduction were fantasies born of their childhood sexual desires for adults. (This reversal is a matter of some controversy today.) Out of this clinical material he constructed a theory of psychosexual development through oral, anal, phallic and genital stages. Freud considered his patients' dreams and his own to be "the royal road to the unconscious." In The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), perhaps his most brilliant book, he theorized that dreams are heavily disguised expressions of deep-seated wishes and fears and can give great insight into personality. These investigations led him to his theory of a three-part structure of personality: the id (unconscious biological drives, especially for sex), the superego (the conscience, guided by moral principles), and the ego (the mediator between the id and superego, guided by reality). Freud's last years were plagued by severe illness and the rise of Nazism, which regarded psychoanalysis as a "Jewish pollution." Through the intervention of the British and U.S. governments, he was allowed to emigrate in 1938 to England, where he died 15 months later, widely honored for his original thinking. His theories have had a profound impact on psychology, anthropology, art, and literature, as well as on the thinking of millions of ordinary people about their own lives. Freud's daughter Anna Freud was the founder of the Hampstead Child Therapy Clinic in London, where her specialty was applying psychoanalysis to children. Her major work was The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense (1936).

Sigmund Freud (Born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 6 May 1856 - 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist who became known as the founding father of psychoanalysis. Freud qualified as a doctor of medicine at the University of Vienna in 1881, and then carried out research into cerebral palsy, aphasia and microscopic neuroanatomy at the Vienna General Hospital. He was appointed a university lecturer in neuropathology in 1885 and became a professor in 1902. In creating psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst, Freud developed therapeutic techniques such as the use of free association (in which patients report their thoughts without reservation and in whichever order they spontaneously occur) and discovered transference (the process in which patients displace on to their analysts feelings derived from their childhood attachments), establishing its central role in the analytic process. Freud's redefinition of sexuality to include its infantile forms led him to formulate the Oedipus complex as the central tenet of psychoanalytical theory. His analysis of his own and his patients' dreams as wish-fulfillments provided him with models for the clinical analysis of symptom formation and the mechanisms of repression as well as for elaboration of his theory of the unconscious as an agency disruptive of conscious states of mind. Ideas: Early Works: Freud began his study of medicine at the University of Vienna in 1873. He took almost nine years to complete his studies, due to his interest in neurophysiological research, specifically investigation of the sexual anatomy of eels.. Seduction Theory: In the early 1890s, Freud used a form of treatment based on the one that Breuer had described to him, modified by what he called his "pressure technique" and his newly developed analytic technique of interpretation and reconstruction. According to Freud's later accounts of this period, as a result of his use of this procedure most of his patients in the mid-1890s reported early childhood sexual abuse. He believed these stories, which he used as the basis for his seduction theory, but then he came to believe that they were fantasies. He explained these at first as having the function of "fending off" memories of infantile masturbation, but in later years he wrote that they represented Oedipal fantasies, stemming from innate drives that are sexual and destructive in nature.

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