Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious
|Original title||German: Der Witz und seine Beziehung zum Unbewußten|
Germany and Austria (1905)|
United States (1960)
Published in English
Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious (German: Der Witz und seine Beziehung zum Unbewußten) is a book on the psychoanalysis of jokes and humour by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), first published in 1905 (translated into English in 1960). In this work, Freud described the psychological processes and techniques of jokes, which he likened as similar to the processes and techniques of dreamwork and the Unconscious.
In Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, Freud claimed that "our enjoyment of the joke" indicates what is being repressed in more serious talk. Freud argues that the success of the joke depends upon a psychic economy, whereby the joke allows one to overcome inhibitions.
According to Freud, understanding of joke technique is essential for understanding jokes and their relation to the unconscious, however, these techniques are what make a joke a joke. Freud also noted that the listener laughing really heartily at the joke will typically not be in the mood for investigating its technique.
The book is divided into three sections: "analytic," "synthetic" and "theoretical."
The book's first section includes a discussion on the techniques and tendencies of jokes.
The second section includes a discussion on the psychological origins and motives of the joke and the joke as a social process.
The book's final section discusses the joke's relation to dreams and the Unconscious.
- In some English editions the work is titled The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious or Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious.
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