The Psychopathology of Everyday Life

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Penguin, 2003 - Psychology - 264 pages
3 Reviews
The most trivial slips of the tongue or pen, Freud believed, can reveal our secret ambitions, worries, and fantasies. The Psychopathology of Everyday Life ranks among his most enjoyable works. Starting with the story of how he once forgot the name of an Italian painter-and how a young acquaintance mangled a quotation from Virgil through fears that his girlfriend might be pregnant-it brings together a treasure trove of muddled memories, inadvertent actions, and verbal tangles. Amusing, moving, and deeply revealing of the repressed, hypocritical Viennese society of his day, Freud's dazzling interpretations provide the perfect introduction to psychoanalytic thinking in action.

Translated by Anthea Bell.
Introduction by Paul Keegan.

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Selected pages


Forgetting Proper Names
Forgetting Foreign Words
Forgetting Names and Sequences of Words
On Childhood Memories and Screen Memories
Slips of the Tongue
Slips in Reading and Slips of the Pen
Forgetting Impressions and Intentions
Inadvertent Actions
Symptomatic and Fortuitous Actions
Making Mistakes
Combined Slips
Determinism Belief in Chance and Superstition Some Points of View

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Page xviii - I could not long remain in doubt. Nothing but painted women were to be seen at the windows of the small houses, and I hastened to leave the narrow street at the next turning.
Page xxviii - The film has enriched our field of perception with methods which can be illustrated by those of Freudian theory. Fifty years ago, a slip of the tongue passed more or less unnoticed. Only exceptionally may such a slip have revealed dimensions of depth in a conversation which had seemed to be taking its course on the surface. Since the Psychopathology of Everyday Life things have changed. This book isolated and made analyzable things which had heretofore floated along unnoticed in the broad stream...
Page xxviii - Evidently a different nature opens itself to the camera than opens to the naked eye — if only because an unconsciously penetrated space is substituted for a space consciously explored by man.
Page xlii - DAIRY' on her fine new book: we should be able to distinguish between sheer, mere, pure, and simple mistake or inadvertence. Yet unfortunately, at least when in the grip of thought, we fail not merely at these stiffer hurdles. We equate even - I have seen it done - 'inadvertently...

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About the author (2003)

Sigmund Freud was born in 1856 in Moravia; between the ages of four and eighty-two his home was in Vienna: in 1938 Hitler's invasion of Austria forced him to seek asylum in London, where he died in the following year.

His career began with several years of brilliant work on the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. He was almost thirty when, after a period of study under Charcot in Paris, his interests first turned to psychology, and another ten years of clinical work in Vienna(at first in collaboration with Breuer, an older colleague) saw the birth of his creation, psychoanalysis. This began simply as a method of treating neurotic patients by investigating their minds, but it quickly grew into an accumulation of knowledge about the workings of the mind in general, whether sick or healthy. Freud was thus able to demonstrate the normal development of the sexual instinct in childhood and, largely on the basis of an examination of dreams, arrived at his fundamental discovery of the unconscious forces that influence our everyday thoughts and actions. Freud's life was uneventful, but his ideas have shaped not only many specialist disciplines, but the whole intellectual climate of the last half-century

Anthea Bell translated E. T. A. Hoffman's The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr for Penguin Classics and has received a number of translation awards.

Paul Keegan is the poetry editor at Faber and Faber.

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