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Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality: The 1905 Edition

The first edition of this classic work from 1905 shows a radically different psychoanalysis
Available for the first time in English, the 1905 edition of Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality presents Sigmund Freud’s thought in a form new to all but a few ardent students of his work.

This is a Freud absent the Oedipal complex, which came to dominate his ideas and subsequent editions of these essays. In its stead is an autoerotic theory of sexual development, a sexuality transcending binary categorization. This is psychoanalysis freed from ideas that have often brought it into conflict with the ethical and political convictions of modern readers, practitioners, and theorists.

The non-Oedipal psychoanalysis Freud outlined in 1905 possesses an emancipatory potential for the contemporary world that promises to revitalize Freudian thought. The development of self is no longer rooted in the assumption of a sexual identity; instead the imposition of sexual categories on the infant mind becomes a source of neurosis and itself a problem to overcome.

The new edition of Three Essays presents us with the fascinating possibility that Freud suppressed his first and best thoughts on this topic, and that only today can they be recognized and understood at a time when societies have begun the serious work of reconceptualizing sexual identities.


  • “Freud’s Three Essays on Sexuality stands beside his Interpretation of Dreams as his most momentous and original contributions to human knowledge.”


  • Freud's Missing Object: The 1905 Edition of Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality

    Ulrike Kistner's new translation of the first, 1905 edition of Freud's Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality is out this week. To celebrate its publication, all books on our psychoanalysis bookshelf are 40% off until Sunday, January 29 at midnight UTC.

    In the essay below, the book's foreword, Kistner and scholars Philippe Van Haute and Herman Westerink (who also contributed an introductory essay to the new edition) outline the theoretical implications of the non-Oedipal psychoanalysis Freud pursued in this first version of the Essays — revised away in subsequent editions — and explain the necessity of a new standalone volume.  

    Sigmund Freud published the first version of Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality in 1905, the same year in which he published Fragment of an Analysis of Hysteria (“Dora”) and Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious. These three books, together with others written in that period, can only be properly understood through the intrinsic reference that binds them to one another. These three books illuminate each other and Freud’s thinking in that period.

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  • Psychoanalysis Bookshelf


    What is the relationship between psychoanalysis and Marxism in the era of late capitalism? Explore the convergences by diving deeper into the work of Freud, Lacan and others analyzing their ideas and making connections between these two master discourses. 

    To celebrate the release of the new edition of Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, all books on our psychoanalysis bookshelf are 40% off until Sunday, January 29 at midnight UTC. Includes free shipping and bundled ebook where available.

    Click here to activate the discount.

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