Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious
Freud argues that the "joke-work" is intimately related to the "dream-work" which he had analyzed in detail in his Interpretation of Dreams, and that jokes (like all forms of humor) attest to the fundamental orderliness of the human mind.
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Reading this, you get a sense of why Freud was considered to be among the most learned intellectuals of his day. His insights are quirky, at times counter-intuitive and always surprising. It is indeed tough sledding, rife with jargon and at times obtuse, but I am going to give the man with the cigar the benefit of the doubt and assume that I have to catch up with him rather than expect him to pander to my naivete. The arguments only makes sense in the context of Freud's overarching psychological theory, and so it would be good to prime up on his work before tackling this. It will make you think about humor differently.