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Psychopathology Of Everyday Life By Freud

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Psychopathology of Everyday


By Sigmund Freud (1901)

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Psychopathology of Everyday Life

Sigmund Freud (1901)

Translation by A. A. Brill (1914)


Chapter 1. Forgetting of Proper Names

Chapter 2. Forgetting of Foreign Words

Chapter 3. Forgetting of Names and Order of Words

Chapter 4. Childhood and Concealing Memories

Chapter 5. Mistakes in Speech

Chapter 6. Mistakes in Reading and Writing

Chapter 7. Forgetting of Impressions and Resolutions

Chapter 8. Erroneously Carried-out Actions

Chapter 9. Symptomatic and Chance Actions

Chapter 10. Errors

Chapter 11. Combined Faulty Acts

Chapter 12. Determinism, Chance, and Superstitious



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Professor Freud developed his system of psychoanalysis while studying the so-called borderline

cases of mental diseases, such as hysteria and compulsionneurosis. By discarding the old

methods of treatment and strictly applying himself to a study of the patient's life he discovered

that the hitherto puzzling symptoms had a definite meaning, and that there was nothing arbitrary

in any morbid manifestation. Psychoanalysis always showed that they referred to some definite

problem or conflict of the person concerned. It was while tracing back the abnormal to the

normal state that Professor Freud found how faint the line of demarcation was between the

normal and neurotic person,and that the psychopathologic mechanisms so glaringly observed in

the psychoneuroses and psychoses could usually be demonstrated in a lesser degree in normal

persons. This led to a study of the faulty actions of everyday life and later to the publication of

the Psychopathology of Everyday Life, a book which passed through four editions in Germany

and is considered the author's most popular work. With great ingenuity and penetration the

author throws much light on the complex problems of human behavior, and clearly demonstrates

that the hitherto considered impassable gap betweennormal and abnormal mental states is more

apparent than real.

This translation is made of the fourth German edition, and while the original text was strictly

followed, linguistic difficulties often madeit necessary to modify or substitute some of the

author's cases by examples comprehensible to the English-speaking reader.

New York.

A. A. Brill.


Forgetting of Proper Names

During the year 1898 I published a short essay On the Psychic Mechanism of Forgetfulness.[1] I

shall now repeat its contents and take it as a starting-point for further discussion. I have there

undertaken a psychologic analysis of a common case of temporary forgetfulness of proper

names, and from a pregnant example of my own observation I have reached the conclusion that

this frequent and practically unimportant occurrence of a failure of a psychic function -- of

memory -- admits an explanation which goes beyond the customary utilization of this


If an average psychologist should be asked to explain how it happens that we often fail to recall a

name which we are sure we know, he would probably content himself with the answer that

proper names are more apt to be forgotten than any other content of memory. He might give

plausible reasons for this "forgetting pre- [p. 4] ference" for proper names, but he would not

assume any deep determinant for the process.

I was led to examine exhaustively the phenomenon of temporary forgetfulness through the

observation of certain peculiarities, which, although not general, can, nevertheless, be seen

clearly in some cases. In these there is not only forgetfulness, but also false recollection: he who

strives for the escaped name brings to consciousness others -- substitutive names -- which,


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although immediately recognized as false, nevertheless obtrude themselves with great tenacity.

The process which should lead to the reproduction of the lost name is, as it were, displaced, and




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