Interpreting Dreams

Sigmund Freud

Translated by J. A. Underwood

Introduced by John Forrester
Illustrated by Gabriella Boyd

Ten fascinating oil paintings illustrate this edition of Freud's controversial and influential work.

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Interpreting Dreams

‘I shall show in the following pages’, writes Sigmund Freud in the opening to his masterpiece, ‘that there is a psychological technique making it possible to interpret dreams and that, if this procedure is applied, every dream turns out to be a meaningful psychical construct that should be allotted a specific place in the mental whirl of waking life.’ One of the most influential books of the 20th century, Interpreting Dreams has never ceased to fascinate, intrigue and stimulate controversy: it revolutionised the way we think about ourselves.

This edition uses J. A. Underwood’s magisterial 2006 translation, which follows the last German edition, the eighth that Freud prepared in his lifetime. It includes ten beautifully enigmatic oil paintings by Gabriella Boyd, an acclaimed artist currently studying for a postgraduate degree at the Royal Academy, and an indispensable introduction from Cambridge professor and psychoanalysis expert John Forrester, written in 2006.

Production Details

Interpreting Dreams book
  • Bound in cloth blocked in gold foil with an inset paper label, printed with a painting by Gabriella Boyd
  • Set in Sabon with Minion display
  • 600 pages
  • Frontispiece and 9 colour illustrations
  • 10" x 6¼"

A daring and ambitious work

It was a gamble for Freud to launch his major scientific theory in a book written for the general reader. But Interpreting Dreams – often known as The Interpretation of Dreams – is both scientifically exacting and utterly compelling. Freud invites us to be flies on the wall of his therapy room, and watch the psychoanalyst at work as he delves into the subconscious of his friends, clients and even himself. Rejecting the idea that dreams ‘carry the sleeper off into another world’, Freud uses detailed case studies, direct from the therapist’s couch, to formulate the powerful argument that all our dreams provide wish-fulfilment for the unconscious mind, often symbolising the repressed desires of childhood. In his authoritative and accessible prose, Freud does battle with resistant sceptics; he answers questions such as where dreams come from, why we forget them so soon after waking, and how they relate to our waking life; he reveals the significance of dreams about swimming, flying and dying, and tests his groundbreaking theory of the Oedipus complex. At the book’s centre are Freud’s unflinching analyses of his own dreams, which take him back to his own childhood.

About the author

Sigmund Freud was born in Moravia in 1856, and lived in Vienna from the age of four. There he studied medicine, and began his career by working on the nervous system. He turned to psychology after studying from 1885 with the renowned neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, and during years of clinical work in Vienna, specialising in nervous and brain disorders, he invented what would become the field of psychoanalysis. From 1902 to 1938 he was Professor of Neuropathology at the University of Vienna. As well as Interpreting Dreams (1900), his most influential works include Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905) and Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920). In 1938 he sought asylum in London following Hitler’s invasion of Austria; he died there the following year.

About the translator

J. A. Underwood completed his formal education at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and since 1969 has worked as a freelance translator from German and French. In 1998 his new translation of Franz Kafka’s The Castle was runner-up for the Schlegel-Tieck Prize. He has translated stories by Kafka as well as works by Elias Canetti, Walter Benjamin, Jean-Paul Sartre and Alain Robbe-Grillet, among others.

About the introducer

John Forrester is Professor of History and Philosophy of the Sciences at the University of Cambridge. He is author of Language and the Origins of Psychoanalysis (1980), The Seductions of Psychoanalysis (1990), Freud’s Women (with Lisa Appignanesi, 1992, Nrd edition 2005), Dispatches from the Freud Wars (1997) and Truth Games (1997). He is completing (with Laura Cameron) Freud in Cambridge, a study of the reception of psychoanalysis in Britain in the 1920. He was Editor of Psychoanalysis and History from 2005–14.

About the illustrator

Gabriella Boyd is a London-based artist. Born in Glasgow in 1988, she graduated from the Glasgow School of Art with a BA (Hons), and is currently studying for a postgraduate degree at the Royal Academy Schools. In MKLL she was awarded the Chairman’s Award and received a Special Commendation from the Saatchi Gallery’s New Sensations prize. She was shortlisted for the Catlin Art Prize in 2012 and the East London Painting Prize in 2014. She has exhibited in the United Kingdom and internationally.


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