Sigmund Freud : The Basics book cover
1st Edition

Sigmund Freud
The Basics

ISBN 9780367340124
Published September 29, 2020 by Routledge
238 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Sigmund Freud: The Basics is an easy-to-read introduction to the life and ideas of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis and a key figure in the history of psychology.

Janet Sayers provides an accessible overview of Freud’s early life and work, beginning with his childhood. Her book includes the stories of his most famous patients: Dora, Little Hans, the Rat Man, Judge Schreber, and the Wolf Man. It also discusses Freud’s key ideas such as psychosexual development, the Oedipus complex, and psychoanalytic treatment. Sayers then covers Freud’s later work, with a description of his observations about depression, trauma and the death instinct, as well as his 1923 theory of the id, ego, and superego. The book includes a glossary of key terms and concludes with examples of how psychoanalysis has been applied to the study of art, literature, film, anthropology, religion, sociology, gender politics, and racism.

Sigmund Freud: The Basics offers an essential introduction for students from all backgrounds seeking to understand Freud’s ideas and for general readers with an interest in psychology. For those already familiar with Freudian ideas, it offers a helpful guide to their interdisciplinary applications and context not least today.

Table of Contents

List of Figures



Part I: Pre-psychoanalytic Freud

  1. Childhood and youth
  2. Talking cure
  3. Resistance and repression
  4. Repressed abuse
  5. Wishful fantasy
  6. Conclusions to Part I

    Part II: Unconscious-conscious dynamics

  7. Dreams
  8. Freudian slips
  9. Jokes
  10. Sex
  11. Conclusions to Part II

    Part III: Psychoanalytic case studies

  12. Dora’s dreams
  13. Hans’s phobia
  14. The rat man’s obsession
  15. Schreber’s schizophrenia
  16. The wolf man’s nightmare
  17. Conclusions to Part III

    Part IV: Consolidating psychoanalysis

  18. Freud vs. Jung
  19. Sex and repression
  20. Freudian symbols
  21. More about sex
  22. Symptom formation
  23. Psychoanalytic treatment
  24. Conclusions to Part IV

    Part V: War and its psychoanalytic aftermath

  25. Mourning and melancholia
  26. Trauma and the death instinct
  27. Oedipus, castration, penis envy
  28. Id-ego-superego
  29. Conclusions to Part V

    Part VI: Beyond clinical psychoanalysis

  30. Art, literature, film
  31. Anthropology
  32. Religion
  33. Sociology
  34. Gender politics
  35. Racism

Conclusions to Part VI




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Janet Sayers is emeritus professor of psychoanalytic psychology at the University of Kent in Canterbury where she also works as a clinical psychologist for the National Health Service. Her previous Routledge books include Art, Psychoanalysis and Adrian Stokes: A Biography; Freud’s Art: Psychoanalysis Retold; and Boy Crazy: Remembering Adolescence, Therapies and Dreams.


'An enjoyable and informative introduction to Freud’s work, illustrated with pithy examples of his own reasoning which artfully encourages the reader to learn more about psychoanalysis’s founding theorist and practitioner.' – Susie Orbach, author of Fat is a Feminist Issue and many other books, most recently In Therapy: The Unfolding Story

'This book works through the fascinating string of ideas which Freud produced in trying to find access to the hidden unconscious area of the mind by which we all live. With this introductory text Janet Sayers provides comprehensive coverage of the many areas of human life and experience considered by Freud including his false starts, detours, and ways in which both he and his followers addressed issues in developmental and abnormal psychology as well as in the arts, social sciences, and in religion too.' – Bob Hinshelwood, psychoanalyst and emeritus professor, University of Essex