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Brierley, M. (1961). The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud: Translated from the German under the general editorship of James Strachey, in collaboration with Anna Freud, assisted by Alix Strachey and Alan Tyson. Vol. 8. Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious (1905). (London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1960. Pp. vi + 258. £50 the set of 24 vols.; sold only in sets.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 42:123.

(1961). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 42:123

The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud: Translated from the German under the general editorship of James Strachey, in collaboration with Anna Freud, assisted by Alix Strachey and Alan Tyson. Vol. 8. Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious (1905). (London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1960. Pp. vi + 258. £50 the set of 24 vols.; sold only in sets.)

Review by:
Marjorie Brierley

This work belongs to the first great period of Freud's creative writing that began with The Interpretation of Dreams. It appeared almost simultaneously with the Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, and there is some doubt as to which was published first. In this edition it follows the Three Essays presented after the case-history of 'Dora' in Vol. 7. It seems to have been written as a reply to a complaint by Wilhelm Fliess that the dreams cited by Freud were too full of jokes; but it was a book by Theodor Lipps that was the decisive factor.

The present title and translation by James Strachey are entirely new and his task presented more than usually formidable problems. The first was the number of plays upon words which are untranslatable. Neither omission of such examples, nor their replacement by comparable English examples, accords with the aim of the Standard Edition to give accurate renderings of Freud's work: the editor-translator solved the problem by giving such words in the original German and explaining them in brackets or footnotes. As he remarks: 'Inevitably, of course, the joke disappears in the process.' This is really no matter, since the joke disappears equally inevitably in the course of Freud's own analysis of it.

The most serious difficulty, however, was that German and English terminology in this field do not exactly coincide. In English the word 'wit' is a more sophisticated term with narrower connotations than the German 'Witz'. The word

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