Totem and Taboo: Some Points of Agreement between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics

By Sigmund Freud | Go to book overview

PREFACE TO THE HEBREW TRANSLATION 1

No reader of [the Hebrew version of] this book will find it easy to put himself in the emotional position of an author who is ignorant of the language of holy writ, who is completely estranged from the religion of his fathers-as well as from every other religion-and who cannot take a share in nationalist ideals, but who has yet never repudiated his people, who feels that he is in his essential nature a Jew and who has no desire to alter that nature. If the question were put to him: 'Since you have abandoned all these common characteristics of your countrymen, what is there left to you that is Jewish?' he would reply: 'A very great deal, and probably its very essence.' He could not now express that essence clearly in words; but some day, no doubt, it will become accessible to the scientific mind.

Thus it is an experience of a quite special kind for such an author when a book of his is translated into the Hebrew

1[This preface was first published in German in Ges. Werke, 12, 385 (1934). It was then stated that a Hebrew translation was about to be published in Jerusalem by Stybel. Actually it was not published there until 1939, by Kirjcith Zefer.]

-xiii-

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Totem and Taboo: Some Points of Agreement between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Translator's Note vii
  • Preface ix
  • Preface to the Hebrew Translation xiii
  • 1 - The Horror of Incest 1
  • 2 - Taboo and Emotional Ambivalence 21
  • 3 - Animism, Magic and the Omnipotence of Thoughts 87
  • 4 - The Return of Totemism in Childhood 116
  • List of Works Referred to in the Text 188
  • Index 195
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