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Civilization and Its Discontents (Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0393304510 ISBN-10: 0393304515 Edition: Reprint

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Civilization and Its Discontents (Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud) + No Exit and Three Other Plays + The Waste Land, Prufrock and Other Poems (Dover Thrift Editions)
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Product Details

  • Series: Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud
  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (August 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393304515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393304510
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Newly designed in a uniform format, each new paperback in the Standard Edition opens with a biographical essay on Freud's life and work—along with a note on the individual volume” (Peter Gay, Sterling Professor of History at Yale) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) is one of the twentieth century's greatest minds and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology. His many works include The Ego and the Id; An Outline of Psycho-Analysis; Inhibitions; Symptoms and Anxiety; New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis; Civilization and Its Discontent, and others.

Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011) is the author of God Is Not Great, Hitch-22, and Why Orwell Matters.

Peter Gay is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the National Book Award winner The Enlightenment, the best-selling Weimar Culture, and the widely translated Freud: A Life for Our Time. He lives in New York City.

More About the Author

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) is one of the twentieth century's greatest minds and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology. His many works include The Ego and the Id; An Outline of Psycho-Analysis; Inhibitions; Symptoms and Anxiety; New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis; Civilization and Its Discontent, and others.

Customer Reviews

Regardless, everybody should read this book.
Timothy J. Phipps
This book is very easy to read (I am sure that Freud did that on purpose) and inspired me to read other Frued books.
Jason
Civilization can itself be viewed as a collection of instincts seeking gratification.
Sam Adams

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Augustus Caesar, Ph.D. on January 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
Sigmund Freud, whatever the variations in his posthumous reputation, remains the most compelling, daring, and persuasive analyst of the human condition we have. His psychoanalytic theories of sexuality, sublimation, repression, etc., offer original insights that profoundly influenced the course of Western consciousness in the 20th century. In addition to his gifts as a thinker, Freud was a master stylist, a man whose luminous prose and skillful argumentation make reading him a genuine pleasure.
"Civilization and Its Discontents," one of Freud's last works, remains one of his most vital and important. Don't be fooled by its brevity; this is a deeply complex and wide-ranging examination of Western civilization and its tensions. Freud speculates about the origins of our modern societies, the difficulties of assimilating ourselves to them given our own individual psyches, and ends the book with a rather pessimistic look forward. Clearly, Freud felt that civilization's "discontents" were an unresolvable fact of life.
What makes "Civilization and Its Discontents" so fascinating is Freud's application of psychoanalysis to Western society as whole. He examines how the factors at play in our own psyches--family conflicts, sexual desire, guilt, the "death instinct," and the eternal battle between our own self-interest and the interests of the human species at large--cause the problems that human beings encounter on a daily basis. As always with Freud, his ideas are put forward not as a final statement, but as a tentative first step.
This is one of Freud's indispensable texts, and its accessible and absorbing style make it an ideal introduction for those who are seeking to discover this colossal mind for the first time. A must read.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Timothy J. Phipps on January 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
I read this book at age 18 after getting interested in psychiatry by an author named Karl Menninger. Freud's essay, Civilization and Its Discontents, has had the greatest impact on my life out of any book or experience. Within this short book he had taken my whole view of the world, turned it upside-down, and added an exclamation point. To understand this book doesn't require great intellectual power but rather mental capacity i.e, a capacity to receive a massive dose of pessimism! I would add almost as a warning that Freud's implied philosophy is almost conducive to depression in a maladjusted mind! If you want hope or faith, this is not for you. Regardless, everybody should read this book.
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26 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Mike on November 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have to admit to being a little prejudiced before starting this book. I had read a lot of negative criticism of Freud, so finally I decided to read something for myself and find out what all the fuss is about. A person who creates such polar views must be saying something that touches the core. This slim book is a good place to start.

Freud clearly had a deep understanding of the human condition. When you consider he was a born in the 1800s, it is clear he was many years ahead of his time. This book discusses how the individual is inevitably subjugated by his society to become civilized. That is how the social order represses our desires. He discusses both the positive and negative aspects of this on personal development. I found it quite a difficult read as there are extensive footnotes throughout the book that are sometimes pertinent and at other times not, which I found disrupted the chain of reasoning at times.

A worthy read that has encouraged me to read more of his work.
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24 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Shives on April 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Many people today believe that Sigmund Freud was obsessed with sex. However, most of these assumptions are based upon what another person said of Freud and almost never upon a careful reading of Freud's work. These people do not see the fact that Freud writes on more than sexuality, he also analyzes and researches the study of mankind. Sigmund Freud attacks the question why we do things the way we do head on and answers to the best of his reason. Therefore, Sigmund Freud was truly a man of his time and his debate on mankind was a very innovative method to answer mankind's most serious issues.
Man is an aggressive being and civilization is the means which humanity withholds its primal urges in check. At least Freud believes so and shows support for this thesis by referring to mankind's constant need to restrain its inherent passions despite all of the controls placed by society. I believe that Freud was definitely on to something with this point. He is right when he states that man is essentially an anti-social, anti-cultural being. One could look down through the pages of history and see war after war, violent act after violent primarily as a result of the inherent greed for power and a passionate thirst for more than one's own. This is one of the many reasons why communism is impossible, man is a selfish being and always desires more than he possesses. He will do what is necessary to increase his holding at the expense of his fellows. I believe that Nietzsche and Freud are in agreement at this point. However, Nietzsche believes that the masses attempt to quell this passion and label that as noble. I believe that Freud does not think it is possible to restrain this aggressiveness and mankind is only able to cover it up in a semblance of control which we label civilization.
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