Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1991) – Sigmund Freud Review


As I was beginning to read this book I did not know what to expect, I have heard over the years a lot about Freud’s work however the closest I have ever come to him was by delving in to surrealism and watching the film A Dangerous Method (2012) A film displaying his rather fractured relationship with Carl Jung. Beginning the book (1991)  I was pleasantly surprised how easy this was to read, although the content is rather intense the writing style mass this book quite breezy to read. Although not having completed the read I will state my opinions on what I have read.

The beginning section of the book (1991) has a series of introductions displaying Freud’s life and most of all what is included in the book. Often introductions are wonderful displaying what you are about to read and sometimes including key quotes. However I must admit this introduction left be feeling bored and is nothing compared to the content of Freud further in the book. The main point is that the writers of the introduction are just there to present facts and no opinion, this is interesting to know however these facts to not really relate to my essay at all not to mention the dry writing style. That is why I chose to skim read the Introductions until I got to page 35 where Freud begins.

Before the lectures begin Freud gives an interesting introduction talking about what his lectures will involve. One issue I find with this chapter is that Freud tries to dissuade the students (and in turn the readers) that their intentions may not be suitable. Freud (1991, p.40) states that “there are quite a number of people whom, in spite of their inconveniences, something that promises to bring them a fresh piece of knowledge still has its attraction. If a few of you should be this sort in spite of my warnings appear here again for my next lecture, you will be welcome.” Although ending on a rather “welcoming” note this advise I found rather alluding, as if Freud is stating that those who are here just to gain further knowledge will not understand. Obviously I am ignoring this statement and am reading although I will not pursue a career in Psychoanalysis.

I did however gain a rather nice quote about how we understand the use of words and the importance they hold. “By words one person can make the other blissfully happy or drive him to despair, by words the teacher conveys his knowledge to his pupils, by words the prater carries his audience with him and determines their judgements and decisions.”(Freud, 1991 p.41)

Continuing the first series of lectures are about “Parapraxes” described by Freud (1991) as “slips of the tongue”. Although nothing to do with the concepts of dreams this chapter lends itself to reveal that verbal mistakes are not mistakes at all. I found this extremely interesting and had never really given it a thought. However much like dreams these “slips of the tongues” in Freud’s opinion are our true opinions accidentally revealing themselves.

Lastly I have read some of the lectures on dreams and this is even more interesting. Freud (1991 p.117) describes the idea of sleep as “rehabilitation” a place which “I want to know nothing of the external world”, to explain this is other terms it is like turning off a computer the computer when turned off is simply dormant like us when we sleep. Freud then goes on to state that dreams are “an unwelcome addition to” sleep, that “There ought to be no mental activity in sleep; if it begins to stir, we have not succeeded in establishing to foetal state of rest”. I think this point is extremely important when looking at the activity of dreams, as when we dream I believe our worries and urges come to light and will argue this in my essay.

Over all I think this book is a wonderful read, it accesses the mind in ways that are understandable and is a very interesting tops to study.

A Dangerous Method. (2012) Directed by David Cronenberg [DVD] U.K.: Lionsgate

Freud, S. (1991) 1: Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. Edited by Angela Richards and James Strachey. Harmondsworth : Penguin


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