Freudian Slips

Lisa Appignanesi re-examines the first of five of Freud's major works on their centenary.



Written in 1905, Freud's Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality is one of the pillars on which modern psychoanalysis rests.

In Sexual Aberrations, the first of the three essays, Freud unravels the complex relationship between perversity and normality and explains why our sexual instinct is an irresistible force.

Lisa talks to writer and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips to unravel the diversity of human desire and examine the essays' legacy 100 years on.


The second of Freud's Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality is his ground-breaking exploration of the relationship between children and their parents.

In Infantile Sexuality, Freud outlines why sexuality is the basis for adult neuroses and why these stem from our experiences in early childhood.

Lisa Appignanesi talks to psychoanalysts and writers to find out how Oedipus and Electra live on today.


The Transformations of Puberty is the last of Freud's Three Essays on Sexuality.

Lisa Appignanesi talks to psychoanalyst Margot Waddell from London's Tavistock Centre to find out how the transition to adulthood has changed, 100 years on.

She also talks to writer Sue Townsend about the struggles of adolescence and what Freud might have made of Adrian Mole, aged 38 and 3/4.


Dora was one of Freud's great case histories.

She was just 18 when she was taken by her father to Freud for analysis.

Freud thought he could cure her hysterical symptoms by unlocking her repressed sexual feelings, but Dora fled before treatment was over.

Why did she leave and what did Freud learn from this apparent failure?

Lisa talks to psychoanalyst and writer Susie Orbach to find out why Dora's case would lead to the invention of one of psychoanalysis's most important tools.

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In Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious, Freud explained why the joke, like the dream, provides a unique window into the unconscious.

Lisa Appignanesi talks to therapist turned comedian Inder Manocha, and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips, to find out why we laugh, and why we give ourselves away by our jokes, and asks if there is a place for humour on the therapist's couch.