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The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  853 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Why do we laugh? The answer, argued Freud in this groundbreaking study of humor, is that jokes, like dreams, satisfy our unconscious desires. The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconsciousexplains how jokes provide immense pleasure by releasing us from our inhibitions and allowing us to express sexual, aggressive, playful, or cynical instincts that would otherwise remain hid ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 24th 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published 1905)
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Μαρία Γεωργιάδου
Ένα βιβλίο 334 σελίδων που -παρά τα φαινόμενα- διαβάζεται τρομερά εύκολα. Δεν είχα ξαναδιαβάσει Freud και εξεπλάγην με την απλότητα και τη σαφήνεια της γραφής του. Το βιβλίο χωρίζεται σε τρία μέρη των οποίων η δυσκολία αυξάνει (ελαφρώς) σταδιακά, κάτι που όμως εξισορροπείται από το γεγονός ότι ο συγγραφέας δεν θεωρεί τίποτα αυτονόητο. Βέβαια η ανάγνωση του βιβλίου μπορεί να έχει και παρενέργειες: Ομολογώ πως τις τελευταίες μέρες, όταν ακούω κάποιο αστείο, πιάνω τον εαυτό μου να σκέφτεται αν είνα ...more
Vikas Lather
Sep 24, 2016 Vikas Lather rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Brilliantly funny and fantastically refreshing. Few of my favorites jokes from the book:

First, a marriage-broker was defending the girl he had proposed against the young man’s protests.
"I don’t care for the mother-in-law", said the latter. She’s a disagreeable, stupid person. But after all you’re not marrying the mother-in-law. What you want is her daughter."

"Yes, but she’s not young any longer, and she’s not precisely a beauty."

"No matter. If she’s neither young nor beautiful she’ll be all th
Mar 14, 2014 Michael rated it liked it
Shelves: members-only
2.5 stars.
When the introducer in his introduction writes something like, “Besides, readers of his [Freud’s] Joke book who have been uneasily conscious of the persistent failures of understanding prompted by such mismatches are entitled to know that their stupidity is not to blame (or at any rate is shared by a fellow-reader). In reality, as we have seen, a factor that obstructs any easy understanding of the text is that the terms evolved by Freud in his analysis of dreams cannot have the same m
Ameera H.  Al-mousa
Jul 20, 2011 Ameera H. Al-mousa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
النكتة وعلاقتها باللاشعور – عنوان مثير ولافت للانتباه
! في وقت يثير إستغرابي رجل دائم السخرية
! وامرأة آخرى دائمة البحث والتنقل بين النكت بجميع أنواعها
! وشعب من سماته تداول النكت حتى عبر التقنية
! انتهاء بصديقاتي من مصر بارعات في حياكة النكتة وصياغتها

دراسة فريدة من نوعها في هذا الكتاب دراسة طابع السخرية والدعابة والضحك من منحى سيكولوجي عميق والكشف عن أغوار مسببات النكتة وأنواعها يبدأ فرويد مؤلفه بتساؤل * لماذا نضحك ؟ ويجيب بتوضيح رؤيته بأن الضحك كالأحلام في علاقتها باللاواعي فالضحك وطابعة الت
Sep 07, 2007 n rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: psychology, cultural critics
Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious is a bit of a tough read. If it were more accessible to the average reader, I would have rated it higher. It is definitely an interesting observation of something we often don't take very seriously.
Erik Graff
Jun 07, 2008 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: students of psychology
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: psychology
I picked this one up at a used bookstore in Three Oaks during the summer Martin and I were taking care of my little brother, Fin, in Michigan. Up to this point I think I'd only read his Civilization and Its Discontents and his Interpretation of Dreams. Starting with that summer, however, I began to plow my way through all of Freud's works.

Brill's translation of Der Witz und seine Beziehung zum Unbewußten was occasionally mildly amusing. Freud apparently had a sense of humor, ranging from mild to
Feb 07, 2012 Karmen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
With all the respect to Freud and his genuinely authentic and brave pioneering theory on humour/jokes I found this book very tortuous to read. And not only because most of the jokes aren't funny anymore but probably were at the time the book was written, but mostly because of his style of writing that is highly academic and seems like his stream of thoughts, not very well structured.

I am actually not surprised that lots of the theoreticians on humour refer to this work only in one or two sentenc
Dark Slayer
This book, written in 1905, is somehow a sequel of the Interpretation of Dreams and an insight into the analysis of dreams and their relation to the unconscious. Several jokes, he stipulates,perform the same goal as some dreams in tolerating socially or personally ‘unacceptable’ material from the unconscious to transpire in camouflaged forms. Jokes, according to Freud, can be divided into two types: ‘Innocent and Tendentious jokes’. The former focus on spoken dexterity, and at this phase, Freud ...more
Nov 30, 2012 Jeremy rated it liked it
Shelves: humour, psychology
Nothing is worse than having someone explain a joke to you.

Now imagine having arcane jokes explained to you by an Austrian Psychoanalyst who grew up in the Victorian era for 300 pages or so.

Somehow it burrows its way so far into unbearable tedium, that it digs right through to the other side into being funny.

Still, it's a little painful to read sometimes.

Roberto Lopes
Here we have Freud showing off his bag of jokes; the man had an odd taste, even for 1905 (?). He goes about explaining the joke-techniques, motives and… well, the amusing thing is that he dared to explain all this crap to us. Unbelievable, Freud! :-)
Mar 16, 2014 Adam rated it liked it
Parts of this are interesting. You would probably be better off going to your library and downloading some articles about it or maybe reading a book about Freud's ideas rather than trying to glean them from this book. I plan to read Interpretation of Dreams at some point and, although this isn't his most well-known work, the subject intrigued me slightly more. There are an awful lot of bad, old-timey jokes in here, but they're actually so bad and the whole context and the way they're delivered i ...more
Jan 07, 2009 Gloria rated it really liked it
So unfunny it was funny
Christopher Gontar
This book is about several traditional types of meaning-based jokes. It does not include a more sophisticated kind in which ambiguous language is used as a way of veiling or tactfully mentioning a foible or suffering. That type of humor is known to theorists today as "appropriate incongruity," though such theorists don't understand its meaning or ability to amuse. That is, they don't understand that appropriate incongruity is a kind of indirect attack or sarcasm.

There is no great loss in that om
It's true what they say--explaining the joke is definitely the easiest way to make it unfunny. In The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious Sigmund Freud takes on jokes with his signature psychoanalysis, and ruins many a punchline. I've read Freud before, and I really enjoyed his essay "On Narcissism." This text is pretty par for the course as Freud goes, it's been translated from the original German, it's pretty dense, and you may have to read some parts repeatedly.
In terms of content, this
Christopher Gontar
Aug 12, 2016 Christopher Gontar rated it did not like it
This book is about several traditional types of meaning-based jokes. It was Freud's earliest attempt to publish a book on his theory of the unconscious, and one Freudian scholar (Tomas Geyskens) even believes, unrealistically, that this text is the best example of Freud's theory of sublimation in art.

Every basic class of jokes is included here, although not properly identified according to their actual type. Freud even includes a sophisticated kind in which ambiguous language is used as a means
Jan 31, 2013 Scott rated it liked it
The best part of the book are the jokes that Freud relates, many of them Jewish - it's interesting to see just how politically incorrect humor could be in pre-World War I Vienna. Too bad they don't occupy more of the book than they do, though. Freud is interesting when he's categorizing the technique of various types of jokes, but much less so when he's delving into his theory on what's involved in making them funny, which involves economy of psychic energy - he makes it just as interesting as i ...more
Jan 27, 2015 Natiaz rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Curious Peeps
Quite a tough one to be honest, have read and re read the book, thrice. It was kind of tough to read after when you have all the anaesthesia still in your body. Anyhow, loved the book. There are lots of, "wits" and crazy terms that you'd pick up with this book. Odd. But informational.
Dan Richter
Wie so oft bei Freud: Schöne Fiktionen und Spekulationen. Als Analyse kann es nicht überzeugen. Es wirkt, als sei das Werk als funktionale Untermauerung seines Theoriegebäudes gedacht. Aber die Kategorien wirken unscharf. Und die Witze, ehrlich gesagt, auch.
Ovidiu Oprea
Feb 08, 2013 Ovidiu Oprea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychoanalysis
There were some good jokes I came across - "And what a hump!" instantly comes to my mind - and they did compensate for apparently aimless cataloguing of techniques employed by jokes, but the last fifty or so pages were for me as turgid as it gets. I had to take lots of notes to keep my mind from wandering away from the text. Still, in the end it was worth it. I have a better picture of what makes jokes, the comic and humour distinct from each other and I also have a good idea of what the joke-wo ...more
Maria del Pilar
I became interested in this book by 'La interpretación de los Sueños'. Also I love laughing.
Feb 14, 2016 Julian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"And now once again two jews outside the bath-house"
Aug 06, 2012 Dpg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great deal of psychoanalytic theory has been justly debunked and relegated to the dustbin of history -- and cultural myth. But Freud's notions about humor still hold up fairly well. Since a great many of his examples rely upon punning for their humorous effect,not every example translates well from German to English. Still, if I had to recommend only two books by Freud, this would be one of them.
Jan 22, 2012 Artemisia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"L'euforia che ci sforziamo di ottenere per queste vie non è altro che lo stato d'animo di un'età nella quale eravamo soliti provvedere con poco dispendio alla nostra attività psichica, lo stato d'animo della nostra infanzia, nella quale non conoscevamo il comico, non eravamo capaci di motteggiare e non avevamo bisogno dell'umorismo per sentirci felice di vivere."
Jul 07, 2016 Danny rated it it was ok
The idea here's that jokes, like dreams, are roads leading to the unconscious. You can interpret joke-texts like dream-texts, identifying the wish-fulfillment at the heart of the former's humor. An interesting theory, but not that convincingly supported and somewhat difficult to follow in translation...
Catherine Woodman
Jul 29, 2011 Catherine Woodman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this in a college course, and found his body of work to be eye opening and thought provoking--although not all that easy to read--I would never have guessed that I would go on to be a psychiatrist, but he rocked my world
Sep 13, 2011 Jacob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The jokes are fine and I appreciate Freud's attempt at their taxonomy, but you can only give this book so much credit by the fifth time he writes, "based on my assumption and my previous book." That said, the theories are interesting.
Chester DeCorgi
Indispensible catalog of such classic bon mots as "I would never belong to a club that would have someone like me as a member." Other than the jokes though, the rest of the commentary is as dry as a Viennese lady finger biscuit.
Jan 09, 2011 Danielle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
bleh. boring and dense and extremely hard to understand. I had to read this for an english class and i hope i never have to read anything by freud ever again. i would rather eat my toes than have to read this ridiculousness again
Kumar Tushar
Sep 09, 2011 Kumar Tushar rated it really liked it
Pretty orthodox in his definitions of the process of humor. Still manages to provide a certain degree of insight to the nature of certain classifiable humor. An insight that still relates to the present human condition.
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Freud was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, who created an entirely new approach to the understanding of the human personality. He is regarded as one of the most influential - and controversial - minds of the 20th century.

Sigismund (later changed to Sigmund) Freud was born on 6 May 1856 in Freiberg, Moravia (now Pribor in the Czech Republic). His father was a merchant. The
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