Download Sigmund Freud’s Great Works as Free eBooks & Free Audio Books: A Digital Celebration on His 160th Birthday

free freud ebooks and audiobooks

Image by Max Hal­ber­stadt via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

Any­one with a pass­ing famil­iar­i­ty with the work of Sig­mund Freud—which is just about everyone—knows at least a hand­ful of things about his famous psy­cho­an­a­lyt­ic the­o­ry: Ego, Super-ego, and Id, sex and death dri­ves, Oedi­pal com­plex, “Freudi­an slip,” “some­times a cig­ar is just a cig­ar”… (a quote that didn’t come from Freud). Most of these terms, except that cig­ar thing, orig­i­nate from Freud’s lat­er period—from about 1920 to his death in 1939—perhaps his most pro­duc­tive from a lit­er­ary stand­point, start­ing with Beyond the Plea­sure Prin­ci­ple, in which he began to devel­op his well-known struc­tur­al mod­el of the mind.

Dur­ing these lat­er years Freud built on ideas from 1913’s Totem and Taboo and ful­ly expand­ed his psy­cho­log­i­cal analy­sis into a philo­soph­i­cal and cul­tur­al the­o­ry in books like The Future of an Illu­sion, Civ­i­liza­tion and its Dis­con­tents, and Moses and Monothe­ism. For those who have pri­mar­i­ly encoun­tered Freud in intro to psych class­es, these works can seem strange indeed, giv­en the sweep­ing spec­u­la­tive claims the Vien­nese doc­tor makes about reli­gion, war, ancient his­to­ry, and even pre­his­to­ry. Though pep­pered with ter­mi­nol­o­gy from psy­cho­analy­sis, Freud’s more philo­soph­i­cal works roam far afield of his med­ical spe­cial­iza­tions and direct obser­va­tions.

When and how did Freud’s psy­chi­a­try become phi­los­o­phy, and what pos­sessed him to apply his psy­cho­log­i­cal the­o­ries to analy­ses of broad social and his­tor­i­cal dynam­ics? We see hints of Freud the philoso­pher through­out his career, but it’s dur­ing his mid­dle period—when his tri­par­tite mod­el of the psy­che still con­sist­ed of the con­scious, pre­con­scious, and unconscious—that he began to move more ful­ly from case stud­ies of indi­vid­ual psy­cho­sex­u­al devel­op­ment and inter­pre­ta­tions of dreams to stud­ies of human devel­op­ment writ large. These books are almost Dar­win­ian expan­sions of what Freud called “metapsychology”—which includ­ed his the­o­ries of Oedi­pal neu­roses, nar­cis­sism, and sado­masochism.

From 1914 to 1915, after his break with Jung, Freud worked on a series of papers on “metapsy­chol­o­gy,” intend­ed, he wrote “to clar­i­fy and car­ry deep­er the the­o­ret­i­cal assump­tions on which a psy­cho-ana­lyt­ic sys­tem could be found­ed.” Sev­en of the man­u­scripts from this peri­od van­ished, seem­ing­ly lost for­ev­er. In 1983, psy­cho­an­a­lyst Ilse Gru­bich-Simi­tis dis­cov­ered one of these essays in an old trunk belong­ing to a friend and col­league of Freud. Pub­lished as A Phy­lo­ge­net­ic Fan­ta­sy, this fas­ci­nat­ing, unfin­ished work points the way for­ward for Freud, pro­vid­ing some con­nec­tive tis­sue between his “ontoge­ny,” the devel­op­ment of the indi­vid­ual, and “phy­loge­ny,” the devel­op­ment of the species.

It is here, his trans­la­tors write in their intro­duc­tion to this rare work, that Freud “con­cludes that each indi­vid­ual con­tains some­where with­in him­self or her­self the his­to­ry of all mankind; fur­ther, that men­tal ill­ness can use­ful­ly be under­stood as a ves­tige of respons­es once nec­es­sary and high­ly adap­tive to the exi­gen­cies of each era. Accord­ing­ly, men­tal ill­ness can be under­stood as a set of for­mer­ly adap­tive respons­es that have become mal­adap­tive as the cli­mat­ic and soci­o­log­i­cal threats to the sur­vival of mankind have changed.”

These basic, yet rad­i­cal, ideas may be said to form a back­drop against which we might read so much of Freud’s mature work as a means for decod­ing what seems puz­zling, irra­tional, and down­right mad­den­ing about human behav­ior. Freud’s sci­en­tif­ic work has long been super­seded, and many of the specifics of his psy­cho­an­a­lyt­ic the­o­ry deemed unwork­able, irrel­e­vant, or even dam­ag­ing. But there are very good rea­sons why his work has thrived in lit­er­ary the­o­ry and phi­los­o­phy. There is even a case to be made the Freud was the first evo­lu­tion­ary psy­chol­o­gist, rough­ly bring­ing Dar­win­ian con­cepts of adap­ta­tion to bear on the devel­op­ment of the human psy­che from pre­his­to­ry to moder­ni­ty.

For all the neg­a­tive crit­i­cism his work has endured, Freud dared to explain us to our­selves, draw­ing on every resource at his disposal—including our most foun­da­tion­al nar­ra­tives in mythol­o­gy and ancient poet­ry. For that rea­son, his rel­e­vance, writes Jane Cia­bat­tari, as a “the­o­ret­i­cal cat­a­lyst” in the 21st cen­tu­ry remains potent, and his work remains well worth read­ing and pon­der­ing, for any stu­dent of human behav­ior.

Today, on the 160th birth­day of the father of psy­cho­analy­sis, we bring you a col­lec­tion of Freud’s major works avail­able free to read online or down­load as ebooks in the links below. Fur­ther down, find a list of Freud audio­books to down­load as mp3s or stream.

Whether root­ed in clin­i­cal study and research, detec­tive-like case stud­ies, philo­soph­i­cal spec­u­la­tions, or poet­ic flights of fan­cy, Freud’s writ­ing draws us deep­er into strange, obses­sive, pro­found, and dis­turb­ing ways of think­ing about our uneasy rela­tion­ships with our­selves, our fam­i­lies, and our unsta­ble social order.


Audio Books

Relat­ed Con­tents:

Sig­mund Freud’s Psy­cho­an­a­lyt­ic Draw­ings Show How He First Visu­al­ized the Ego, Super­ego, Id & More

The Famous Let­ter Where Freud Breaks His Rela­tion­ship with Jung (1913)

Sig­mund Freud Appears in Rare, Sur­viv­ing Video & Audio Record­ed Dur­ing the 1930s

How a Young Sig­mund Freud Researched & Got Addict­ed to Cocaine, the New “Mir­a­cle Drug,” in 1894

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

by | Permalink | Comments (4) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (4)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Nzeamalu Aloysius says:

    Great stuff and thanks for won­der­ful con­tri­bu­tion to the body of knowl­edge.

  • M Waqas says:

    thanks for this coun­tri­bu­tion
    i get a lot of knowl­edge

  • Sampath Kumar Thulasi says:

    It’s as a regards for mak­ing such a trea­sure of so vast knowl­edge in the form of the books as a freely avail­able of so many stal­warts and also of the his­tor­i­cal­ly promi­nent writ­ings on even un-rou­tine and com­plex sub­jects that are of a gen­er­al inter­est wide­ly.

    With regards once again, at the end of the mes­sage,

    Yours sin­cere­ly,

    Sam­path Kumar Thu­lasi,


    Phone +919440413444.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.