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What Freud Really Meant
A Chronological Reconstruction of his Theory of the Mind

$32.99 (P)

  • Date Published: April 2016
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107538559

$ 32.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Through an exacting yet accessible reconstruction of eleven of Freud's essential theoretical writings, Susan Sugarman demonstrates that the traditionally received Freud is the diametric opposite of the one evident in the pages of his own works. Whereas Freud's theory of the mind is typically conceived as a catalogue of uninflected concepts and crude reductionism - for instance that we are nothing but our infantile origins or sexual and aggressive instincts - it emerges here as an organic whole built from first principles and developing in sophistication over time. Sugarman's exciting interpretation, tracking Freud's texts in the order in which he wrote them, grounds his claims in the reasoning that led to them and reveals their real intent. This fresh reading will appeal to specialists and students across a variety of disciplines.

    • An alternative interpretation of Freud, presenting his theory of the mind as an organic whole, built from first principles and developing in sophistication over time
    • A step-by-step demonstration of the development of Freud's thought, based directly on his writings
    • Situates Freud's theory relative to its perception by later psychoanalytic writers, whose conceptions form the basis of popular and modern appraisals
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Here is the trajectory of Sigmund Freud's thought from early to late, and at the same time a delineation of its systematic structure; the story goes smoothly, widening like a river - an illuminating, eminently followable guide to one of the boldest investigations ever of how the human mind works."
    Rüdiger Bittner, Universität Bielefeld

    "Susan Sugarman's account is not only an affirmation of the complexity and depth of mind of one of the twentieth century's greatest thinkers, it is a remedy to the frequent mischaracterizations of the interpreters and critics of Freud who have preceded her. It is the tribute of one scholar to the magnificence of another."
    Philip Costanzo, Duke University

    "Sugarman offers a masterful, overarching account of the development of Freud's thought, stressing the coherence and systematic nature of his work and explaining the way his ideas evolved throughout his career. The book should serve as a touchstone for any future studies of Freud's theories."
    Robert Schwartz, Distinguished Professor, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

    "Susan Sugarman gives us a fearless and highly readable synthesis of Freud's evolving theory of mind. She is an exceptionally lucid writer; her clarity makes this book invaluable to the reader who wants to understand what Freud really meant. I particularly recommend it for teaching purposes, as it makes arcane information inviting and accessible."
    Virginia R. Youngren, Harvard Medical School

    'Sugarman skilfully guides her readers through Freud's writings and convincingly conveys that Freud's theory is indeed a complex and meaningful whole; far from reducing our mental lives to primitive instincts, Freud portrays the human mind as rich, subtle, and sophisticated.' Sebastian Petzolt, Metapsychology (

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107538559
    • length: 192 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 151 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.3kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Freud on psychoanalysis: 'Five Lectures on Psychoanalysis' (1909a)
    2. The pleasure and reality principles: 'Formulations Regarding Two Principles in Mental Functioning' (1911)
    'The Psychology of the Dream-Processes' from The Interpretation of Dreams (1900)
    3. Ambivalence and the origin of the civilized mind: 'Taboo and Emotional Ambivalence' from Totem and Taboo (1913b)
    4. Narcissism as stage in development: 'On Narcissism: An Introduction' (1914)
    5. The impetus to the mind: 'Instincts and Their Vicissitudes' (1915a)
    6. The possibility of repression: 'Repression' (1915b)
    'Negation' (1925a)
    7. The unconscious and the structure of the mind: 'The Unconscious' (1915c)
    8. Beyond the pleasure principle: 'Beyond the Pleasure Principle' (1920)
    9. A new architecture of the mind: 'The Ego and the Id' (1923)
    10. Pleasure revised: 'An Economic Problem in Masochism' (1924)
    11. Civilization, morality, and the pursuit of pleasure: 'Civilization and its Discontents' (1930)
    Epilogue: what Freud really meant.

  • Author

    Susan Sugarman, Princeton University, New Jersey
    Susan Sugarman, Professor of Psychology at Princeton University, New Jersey, came to the study of Freud as a developmental psychologist who found in Freud's works a striking theory of how the mind develops and a singularly incisive method of argument. She transitioned from studying children to trying to understand the adult mind by looking for the child within it. A former Fulbright scholar and Guggenheim fellow, she is the author of four other books, including Piaget's construction of the child's reality and Freud on the psychology of ordinary mental life.

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