The Freud Reader


Sigmund Freud

— along with Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, and Albert Einstein—is among that small handful of supreme makers of the twentieth-century mind whose works should be our prized possession. Yet, voluminous, diverse, and at times technical, Freud’s writings have not been as widely read as they deserve to be; most of those who may claim direct acquaintance with them have limited their acquaintance to his late essay Civilization and Its Discontents. Others have contented themselves with compendia, popularizations, even comic books attempting to make Freud and his ideas palatable, even easy. That is a pity, for he was a great stylist and equally great scientist. Hence it can be pleasurable, and it is certainly essential, to know Freud, not merely to know about him.

The Freud Reader is designed to repair such unmerited and unfortunate neglect. It is the first truly comprehensive survey of Freud’s writings, using not some dated and discredited translations but the authoritative versions in the twenty-four-volume Standard Edition of Freud’s Psychological Writings. It is the Standard Edition, the Bible for psychoanalysts in the English-speaking world, to which students of Freud, whether psychiatrists or social workers, philosophers or aesthe-ticians, literary critics or cultural anthropologists, historians or political scientists, inescapably turn. Its notes have proved so copious and so dependable that a recent twelve-volume German edition of Freud, the Studienausgabe, has simply copied them; in this Freud Reader, I have supplemented them only wherever it seemed necessary to offer an even fuller explanation.

To make Freud all the more accessible, I have furnished this Reader with a substantial general introduction designed to place the man and his work in his time and culture and with a no less substantial chronology recording not merely all the significant dates in Freud’s life but equally significant dates in European culture and politics. In addition, I have supplied each selection with introductory paragraphs and conclude the Reader with a selected bibliography that contains all the titles I mention in my introductions, and more. All this explanatory material should help to pierce the barriers that have hitherto kept a wider public from appreciating Freud’s originality, savoring his wit, and recognizing his versatility.

That versatility is positively awe-inspiring: though, of course, principally known as the founder of psychoanalysis, Freud did not confine his thinking, and writing, to the suffering men and women he saw’ before him on the couch day after day. It is true that his case histories, his papers on psychoanalytic technique, and his theoretical papers are at the heart of his thought. But he developed a theory of mind that he thought explained all of mental activity, normal and neurotic alike, and he applied that theory to virtually every aspect of culture: to the arts, to literature, to biography, to mythology, to religion, to politics, to education, to the law, to prehistory.

The Freud Reader, in addition to covering Freud’s psychoanalytic evolution, also faithfully reflects these wider concerns. It does so not with anemic snippets but with lengthy excerpts, at times with complete papers. Each of the more than fifty selections in this Reader is a facet of a complex whole—Freud’s thought. All together they should give a fair, far from fragmentary sense of that whole.

Since Freud’s thought developed, matured, and changed, the only responsible way into that thought, it seems to me, is chronological. Hence 1 have chosen to present Freud’s writings in strict sequence— with one exception: I have enlisted substantial excerpts from his “Autobiographical Study,” published in 1925 when Freud was sixty-nine, to serve as a lively and trustworthy overture to the rest of his work from the 1880s to the 1930s.

I owe particular thanks to two friends for helping me shape this Reader: Richard Kuhns, my former colleague at Columbia University, and Donald Lamm, my publisher and editor.

Peter Gay


Sigmund Freud: A Chronology
A Note on Symbols and Abbreviations

An Autobiographical Study*


  • Preface to the Translation of Bernheim’s Suggestion ’
  • Charcot *
  • Draft В
  • Josef Breuer ♦ Anna O*
  • Katharine”
  • Project for a Scientific Psychology*
  • Draft К
  • I’he Aetiology of Hysteria *
  • Letters to P’liess Screen Memories*


  • The Interpretation of Dreams*
  • On Dreams’
  • Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria (“Dora”)*
  • Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality*
  • Character and Anal Erotism Family Romances
  • Formulations on the Two Principles of Mental Functioning


  • Notes Upon a Case of Obsessional Neurosis (“Rat Man”) and Process Notes for the Case History*
  • ‘Wild’ Psycho-Analysis
  • Recommendations to Physicians Practicing Psycho-Analysis
  • On Beginning the Treatment*
  • Observations on Transference-Love*
  • A Special Type of Choice of Object Made by Men (Contributions to the Psychology of Love I)
  • On the Universal Tendency to Debasement in the Sphere of Love (Contributions to the Psychology of Love II)*
  • From the History of an Infantile Neurosis (“Wolf Man”)*


  • Obsessive Actions and Religious Practices
  • Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming
  • Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood*
  • Totem and Taboo*
  • The Theme of the Three Caskets The Moses of Michelangelo*
  • Contribution to a Questionnaire on Reading


  • On Narcissism: An Introduction*
  • Instincts and Their Vicissitudes*
  • Repression *
  • The Unconscious*
  • Mourning and Melancholia
  • Some Character-Types Met with in Psycho-Analytic Work: [The Exceptions]
  • Beyond the Pleasure Principle’
  • Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego [Introduction] The Ego and the Id*1


  • The Dissolution of the Oedipus Complex Negation
  • Some Psychical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction Between the Sexes
  • The Question of Lay Analysis [Postscript]
  • The Future of an Illusion Civilization and Its Discontents*
  • Letter to the Burgomaster of Pribor
  • Lecture XXXII: Anxiety and Instinctual Life*
  • Lecture XXXV’: The Question of a Weltanschauung *

Selected Bibliography

Language: English
Format: PDF
Pages: 881
Size: 38.9 Mb
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