Civilization and Its Discontents

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1989 - Psychology - 127 pages
265 Reviews
It stands as a brilliant summary of the views on culture from a psychoanalytic perspective that he had been developing since the turn of the century. It is both witness and tribute to the late theory of mind—the so-called structural theory, with its stress on aggression, indeed the death drive, as the pitiless adversary of eros.

Civilization and Its Discontents is one of the last of Freud's books, written in the decade before his death and first published in German in 1929. In it he states his views on the broad question of man's place in the world, a place Freud defines in terms of ceaseless conflict between the individual's quest for freedom and society's demand for conformity.

Freud's theme is that what works for civilization doesn't necessarily work for man. Man, by nature aggressive and egotistical, seeks self-satisfaction. But culture inhibits his instinctual drives. The result is a pervasive and familiar guilt.

Of the various English translations of Freud's major works to appear in his lifetime, only one was authorized by Freud himself: The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud under the general editorship of James Strachey.

Freud approved the overall editorial plan, specific renderings of key words and phrases, and the addition of valuable notes, from bibliographical and explanatory. Many of the translations were done by Strachey himself; the rest were prepared under his supervision. The result was to place the Standard Edition in a position of unquestioned supremacy over all other existing versions.

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

Review: Civilization and Its Discontents

User Review  - Katie Dusold-Harkreader - Goodreads

Excellent book. Lots of technical language; not written for the layman. Also, several of the ideas discussed in this book are dated and have been disproven since its writing. Read full review

Review: Civilization and Its Discontents

User Review  - Margaret Ann Robbins - Goodreads

This book was a fascinating read, even though I disagreed with some of his ideas. He did an excellent job of explaining how romantic/sexual love, aggression, and the desire for community motivate ... Read full review

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Human Emotions
Carroll E. Izard
No preview available - 1977
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About the author (1989)

Peter Gay (1923—2015) was the author of more than twenty-five books, including the National Book Award winner The Enlightenment, the best-selling Weimar Culture, and the widely translated Freud: A Life for Our Time.