The Bottom Line
- This classic text is probably the best-known book on dream interpretation.
- Freud was a prolific writer, and his work is always engaging and intriguing.
- The case studies Freud describes present a glimpse into his psychoanalytic work.
- The research described in The Interpretation of Dreams lacks scientific rigor.
- Many of Freud’s ideas have received little or no substantiation from current dream research.
- Freud's theories have not faired well, especially in recent decades.
- The book is the classic text on dream analysis and interpretation.
Freud introduces many key concepts that would later become central to psychoanalysis.
Emphasizes the role of the unconscious mind, which is one of the underlying principles in Freudian psychology.
Guide Review - The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
Freud was an incredibly prolific writer, publishing more than 320 different books, articles, and essays. Out of this impressive body of work, Freud described The Interpretation of Dreams as his personal favorite as well has his most significant contribution to the understanding of human thought. "[It] contains… the most valuable of all the discoveries it has been my good fortune to make. Insight such as this falls to one's lot but once in a lifetime," he explained.
Originally published in German under the title Die Traumdeutung in November of 1899, initial sales for The Interpretation of Dreams were slow and disappointing.
The book outlines Freud’s belief that dreams are highly symbolic, containing both overt meanings (manifest content) as well as underlying, unconscious thoughts (latent content). Dreams, he suggested, are our unconscious wishes in disguise. Despite Freud’s tendency to over-generalize, his lack of scientific evidence, his overemphasis on sex, and his frequently chauvinistic viewpoints, this seminal work remains important in the history of psychology. The Interpretation of Dreams marked the beginning of psychoanalysis and is a fascinating text revealing Freud’s unique talent as a writer and ambitious theorist.