Skip to content.
EServer » Books home » Nonfiction » The Interpretation of Dreams » Freud: The Interpretation of Dreams, Chapter 6G

Books

Sections

Freud: The Interpretation of Dreams, Chapter 6G

Table of Contents | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter


G. ABSURD DREAMS -- INTELLECTUAL PERFORMANCES IN DREAMS

Hitherto, in our interpretation of dreams, we have come upon the element of absurdity in the dream-content so frequently that we must no longer postpone the investigation of its cause and its meaning. We remember, of course, that the absurdity of dreams has furnished the opponents of dream-interpretation with their chief argument for regarding the dream as merely the meaningless product of an attenuated and fragmentary activity of the psyche.

I will begin with a few examples in which the absurdity of the dream-content is apparent only, disappearing when the dream is more thoroughly examined. These are certain dreams which -- accidentally, one begins by thinking -- are concerned with the dreamer's dead father.

Dream 1. Here is the dream of a patient who had lost his father six years before the date of the dream:

His father had been involved in a terrible accident. He was travelling by the night express when the train was derailed, the seats were telescoped, and his head was crushed from side to side. The dreamer sees him lying on his bed; from his left eyebrow a wound runs vertically upwards. The dreamer is surprised that his father should have met with an accident (since he is dead already, as the dreamer adds in relating his dream). His father's eyes are so clear.

According to the prevailing standards of dream-criticism, this dream-content would be explained as follows: At first, while the dreamer is picturing his father's accident, he has forgotten that his father has already been many years in his grave; in the course of the dream this memory awakens, so that he is surprised at his own dream even while he is dreaming it. Analysis, however, tells us that it is quite superfluous to seek for such explanations. The dreamer had commissioned a sculptor to make a bust of his father, and he had inspected the bust two days before the dream. It is this which seems to him to have come to grief (the German word means 'gone wrong' or 'met with an accident'). The sculptor has never seen his father, and has had to work from photographs. On the very day before the dream the son had sent an old family servant to the studio in order to see whether he, too, would pass the same judgment upon the marble bust -- namely, that it was too narrow between the temples. And now follows the memory-material which has contributed to the formation of the dream: The dreamer's father had a habit, whenever he was harassed by business cares or domestic difficulties, of pressing his temples between his hands, as though his head was growing too large and he was trying to compress it. When the dreamer was four years old, he was present when a pistol was accidentally discharged, and his father's eyes were blackened (his eyes are so clear). When his father was thoughtful or depressed, he had a deep furrow in his forehead just where the dream shows his wound. The fact that in the dream this wrinkle is replaced by a wound points to the second occasion for the dream. The dreamer had taken a photograph of his little daughter; the plate had fallen from his hand, and when he picked it up it revealed a crack which ran like a vertical furrow across the child's forehead, extending as far as the eyebrow. He could not help feeling a superstitious foreboding, for on the day before his mother's death the negative of her portrait had been cracked.

Thus, the absurdity of this dream is simply the result of a carelessness of verbal expression, which does not distinguish between the bust or the photograph and the original. We are all accustomed to making remarks like: 'Don't you think it's exactly your father?' The appearance of absurdity in this dream might, of course, have been easily avoided. If it were permissible to form an opinion on the strength of a single case, one might be tempted to say that this semblance of absurdity is admitted or even desired.

Dream 2. Here is another example of the same kind from my own dreams (I lost my father in the year 1896): --

After his death my father has played a part in the political life of the Magyars, and has united them into a political whole; and here I see, indistinctly, a little picture: a number of men, as though in the Reichstag; a man is standing on one or two chairs; there are others round about him. I remember that on his death-bed he looked so like Garibaldi, and I am glad that this promise has really come true.

Certainly this is absurd enough. It was dreamed at the time when the Hungarians were in a state of anarchy, owing to Parliamentary obstruction, and were passing through the crisis from which Koloman Széll subsequently delivered them. The trivial circumstance that the scenes beheld in dreams consist of such little pictures is not without significance for the elucidation of this element. The customary visual dream-representations of our thoughts present images that impress us as being life-size; my dream-picture, however, is the reproduction of a wood-cut inserted in the text of an illustrated history of Austria, representing Maria Theresa in the Reichstag of Pressburg -- the famous scene of Moriamur pro rege nostro.[1] Like Maria Theresa, my father, in my dream, is surrounded by the multitude; but he is standing on one or two chairs (Stühlen), and is thus, like a Stuhlrichter (presiding judge). (He has united them; here the intermediary is the phrase: 'We shall need no judge.') Those of us who stood about my father's death-bed did actually notice that he looked very like Garibaldi. He had a post-mortem rise of temperature; his cheeks shone redder and redder . . . involuntarily we continue: 'And behind him, in unsubstantial (radiance), lay that which subdues us all -- the common fate.'

This uplifting of our thoughts prepares us for the fact that we shall have to deal with this 'common fate'. The post-mortem rise in temperature corresponds to the words 'after his death' in the dream-content. The most agonising of his afflictions had been a complete paralysis of the intestines (obstruction) during the last few weeks of his life. All sorts of disrespectful thoughts associate themselves with this. One of my contemporaries, who lost his father while still at the 'gymnasium' -- upon which occasion I was profoundly moved, and tendered him my friendship -- once told me, derisively, of the distress of a relative whose father had died in the street, and had been brought home, when it appeared, upon undressing the corpse, that at the moment of death, or post-mortem, an evacuation of the bowels (Stuhlentleerung) had taken place. The daughter was deeply distressed by this circumstance, because this ugly detail would inevitably spoil her memory of her father. We have now penetrated to the wish that is embodied in this dream. To stand after one's death before one's children great and undefiled: who would not wish that? What now has become of the absurdity of this dream? The appearance of absurdity was due only to the fact that a perfectly permissible figure of speech, in which we are accustomed to ignore any absurdity that may exist as between its components, has been faithfully represented in the dream. Here again we can hardly deny that the appearance of absurdity is desired and has been purposely produced.

The frequency with which dead persons appear in our dreams as living and active and associating with us has evoked undue astonishment, and some curious explanations, which afford conspicuous proof of our misunderstanding of dreams. And yet the explanation of these dreams is close at hand. How often it happens that we say to ourselves: 'If my father were still alive, what would he say to this?' The dream can express this if in no other way than by his presence in a definite situation. Thus, for instance, a young man whose grandfather has left him a great inheritance dreams that the old man is alive, and calls his grandson to account, reproaching him for his lavish expenditure. What we regard as an objection to the dream on account of our better knowledge that the man is already dead, is in reality the consoling thought that the dead man does not need to learn the truth, or satisfaction over the fact that he can no longer have a say in the matter.

Another form of absurdity found in dreams of deceased relatives does not express scorn and derision; it serves to express the extremest repudiation, the representation of a suppressed thought which one would like to believe the very last thing one would think of. Dreams of this kind appear to be capable of solution only if we remember that a dream makes no distinction between desire and reality. For example, a man who nursed his father during his last illness, and who felt his death very keenly, dreamed some time afterwards the following senseless dream: His father was again living, and conversing with him as usual, but (and this was the remarkable thing) he had nevertheless died, though he did not know it. This dream is intelligible if, after 'he had nevertheless died', we insert in consequence of the dreamer's wish, and if after 'but he did not know it,' we add that the dreamer had entertained this wish. While nursing him, the son had often wished that his father was dead; that is, he had had the really compassionate thought that it would be a good thing if death would at last put an end to his sufferings. While he was mourning his father's death, even this compassionate wish became an unconscious reproach, as though it had really contributed to shorten the sick man's life. By the awakening of the earliest infantile feelings against his father, it became possible to express this reproach as a dream; and it was precisely because of the extreme antithesis between the dream-instigator and the day-thoughts that this dream had to assume so absurd a form.[2]

As a general thing, the dreams of a deceased person of whom the dreamer has been fond confront the interpreter with difficult problems, the solution of which is not always satisfying. The reason for this may be sought in the especially pronounced ambivalence of feeling which controls the relation of the dreamer to the dead person. In such dreams it is quite usual for the deceased person to be treated at first as living; then it suddenly appears that he is dead; and in the continuation of the dream he is once more living. This has a confusing effect. I at last divined that this alternation of death and life is intended to represent the indifference of the dreamer. ('It is all one to me whether he is alive or dead'). This indifference, of course, is not real, but wished; its purpose is to help the dreamer to deny his very intense and often contradictory emotional attitudes, and so it becomes the dream-representation of his ambivalence. For other dreams in which one meets with deceased persons the following rule will often be a guide: If in the dream the dreamer is not reminded that the dead person is dead, he sets himself on a par with the dead; he dreams of his own death. The sudden realisation or astonishment in the dream ('but he has long been dead!') is a protest against this identification, and rejects the meaning that the dreamer is dead. But I will admit that I feel that dream-interpretation is far from having elicited all the secrets of dreams having this content.

Dream 3. In the example which I shall now cite, I can detect the dream-work in the act of purposely manufacturing an absurdity for which there is no occasion whatever in the dream-material. It is taken from the dream which I had as a result of meeting Count Thun just before going away on a holiday. 'I am driving in a cab, and I tell the driver to drive to a railway station. ''Of course, I can't drive with you on the railway track itself,'' I say, after the driver has reproached me, as though I had worn him out; at the same time, it seems as though I had already made with him a journey that one usually makes by train.' Of this confused and senseless story analysis gives the following explanation: During the day I had hired a cab to take me to a remote street in Dornbach. The driver, however, did not know the way, and simply kept on driving, in the manner of such worthy people, until I became aware of the fact and showed him the way, indulging in a few derisive remarks. From this driver a train of thought led to the aristocratic personage whom I was to meet later on. For the present, I will only remark that one thing that strikes us middle-class plebeians about the aristocracy is that they like to put themselves in the driver's seat. Does not Count Thun guide the Austrian 'car of State'? The next sentence in the dream, however, refers to my brother, whom I thus also identify with the cab-driver. I had refused to go to Italy with him this year ('Of course, I can't drive with you on the railway track itself'), and this refusal was a sort of punishment for his accustomed complaint that I usually wear him out on this tour (this finds its way into the dream unchanged) by rushing him too quickly from place to place, and making him see too many beautiful things in a single day. That evening my brother had accompanied me to the railway station, but shortly before the carriage had reached the Western station of the Metropolitan Railway he had jumped out in order to take the train to Purkersdorf. I suggested to him that he might remain with me a little longer, as he did not travel to Purkersdorf by the Metropolitan but by the Western Railway. This is why, in my dream, I made in the cab a journey which one usually makes by train. In reality, however, it was the other way about: what I told my brother was: 'The distance which you travel on the Metropolitan Railway you could travel in my company on the Western Railway.' The whole confusion of the dream is therefore due to the fact that in my dream I replace 'Metropolitan Railway' by 'cab', which, to be sure, does good service in bringing the driver and my brother into conjunction. I then elicit from the dream some nonsense which is hardly disentangled by elucidation, and which almost constitutes a contradiction of my earlier speech ('Of course, I cannot drive with you on the railway track itself'). But as I have no excuse whatever for confronting the Metropolitan Railway with the cab, I must intentionally have given the whole enigmatical story this peculiar form in my dream.

But with what intention? We shall now learn what the absurdity in the dream signifies, and the motives which admitted it or created it. In this case the solution of the mystery is as follows: In the dream I need an absurdity, and something incomprehensible, in connection with 'driving' (Fahren = riding, driving) because in the dream-thoughts I have a certain opinion that demands representation. One evening, at the house of the witty and hospitable lady who appears, in another scene of the same dream, as the 'housekeeper', I heard two riddles which I could not solve. As they were known to the other members of the party. I presented a somewhat ludicrous figure in my unsuccessful attempts to find the solutions. They were two puns turning on the words Nachkommen (to obey orders--offspring) and Vorfahren (to drive--forefathers, ancestry). They ran, I believe, as follows:

'The coachman does it
At the master's behests;
Everyone has it;
In the grave it rests.'

(Vorfahren)

A confusing detail was that the first halves of the two riddles were identical:

'The coachman does it
At the master's behests;
Not everyone has it;
In the grave it rests.'

(Nachkommen)

When I saw Count Thun drive up (vorfahren) in state, and fell into the Figaro-like mood, in which one finds that the sole merit of such aristocratic gentlemen is that they have taken the trouble to be born (to become Nachkommen), these two riddles became intermediary thoughts for the dream-work. As aristocrats may readily be replaced by coachmen, and since it was once the custom to call a coachman 'Herr Schwäger' (brother-in-law), the work of condensation could involve my brother in the same representation. But the dream-thought at work in the background is as follows: It is nonsense to be proud of one's ancestors (Vorfahren). I would rather be an ancestor (Vorfahr) myself. On account of this opinion, 'it is nonsense', we have the nonsense in the dream. And now the last riddle in this obscure passage of the dream is solved -- namely that I have driven before (vorher gefahren, vorgefahren) with this driver.

Thus, a dream is made absurd if there occurs in the dream-thoughts, as one of the elements of the contents, the opinion: 'That is nonsense'; and, in general, if criticism and derision are the motives of one of the dreamer's unconscious trains of thought. Hence absurdity is one of the means by which the dream-work represents contradiction; another means is the inversion of material relation between the dream-thoughts and the dream-content; another is the employment of the feeling of motor inhibition. But the absurdity of a dream is not to be translated by a simple 'no'; it is intended to reproduce the tendency of the dream-thoughts to express laughter or derision simultaneously with the contradiction. Only with this intention does the dream-work produce anything ridiculous. Here again it transforms a part of the latent content into a manifest form.[3]

As a matter of fact, we have already cited a convincing example of this significance of an absurd dream. The dream (interpreted without analysis) of the Wagnerian performance which lasted until 7.45 a.m., and in which the orchestra is conducted from a tower, etc. (see p. 223) is obviously saying: It is a crazy world and an insane society. He who deserves a thing doesn't get it, and he who doesn't care for it does get it. In this way the dreamer compares her fate with that of her cousin. The fact that dreams of a dead father were the first to furnish us with examples of absurdity in dreams is by no means accidental. The conditions for the creation of absurd dreams are here grouped together in a typical fashion. The authority proper to the father has at an early age evoked the criticism of the child, and the strict demands which he has made have caused the child, in self-defence, to pay particularly close attention to every weakness of his father's; but the piety with which the father's personality is surrounded in our thoughts, especially after his death, intensifies the censorship which prevents the expression of his criticism from becoming conscious.

Dream 4. Here is another absurd dream of a deceased father:

I receive a communication from the town council of my native city concerning the cost of accommodation in the hospital in the year 1851. This was necessitated by a seizure from which I was suffering. I make fun of the matter for, in the first place, I was not yet born in 1851, and in the second place, my father, to whom the communication might refer, is already dead. I go to him in the adjoining room, where he is lying in bed, and tell him about it. To my surprise he remembers that in the year 1851 he was once drunk and had to be locked up or confined. It was when he was working for the firm of T. 'Then you, too, used to drink?' I ask. 'You married soon after?' I reckon that I was born in 1856, which seems to me to be immediately afterwards.

In the light of the foregoing exposition, we shall translate the insistence with which this dream exhibits its absurdities as a sure sign of a particularly embittered and passionate polemic in the dream-thoughts. All the greater, then, is our astonishment when we perceive that in this dream the polemic is waged openly, and that my father is denoted as the person who is made a laughing-stock. Such frankness seems to contradict our assumption of a censorship controlling the dream-work. The explanation is that here the father is only an interposed figure, while the quarrel is really with another person, who appears in the dream only in a single allusion. Whereas a dream usually treats of revolt against other persons, behind whom the father is concealed, here it is the other way about: the father serves as the man of straw to represent another, and hence the dream dares to concern itself openly with a person who is usually hallowed, because there is present the certain knowledge that he is not in reality intended. We learn of this condition of affairs by considering the occasion of the dream. It was dreamed after I had heard that an older colleague, whose judgment was considered infallible, had expressed disapproval and astonishment on hearing that one of my patients had already been undergoing psychoanalytic treatment at my hands for five years. The introductory sentences of the dream allude in a transparently disguised manner to the fact that this colleague had for a time taken over the duties which my father could no longer perform (statement of expenses, accommodation in the hospital); and when our friendly relations began to alter for the worse I was thrown into the same emotional conflict as that which arises in the case of a misunderstanding between father and son (by reason of the part played by the father, and his earlier functions). The dream-thoughts now bitterly resent the reproach that I am not making better progress, which extends itself from the treatment of this patient to other things. Does my colleague know anyone who can get on any faster? Does he not know that conditions of this sort are usually incurable and last for life? What are four or five years in comparison to a whole lifetime, especially when life has been made so much easier for the patient during the treatment?

The impression of absurdity in this dream is brought about largely by the fact that sentences from different divisions of the dream-thoughts are strung together without any reconciling transition. Thus, the sentence, I go to him in the adjoining room, etc., leaves the subject from which the preceding sentences are taken, and faithfully reproduces the circumstances under which I told my father that I was engaged to be married. Thus the dream is trying to remind me of the noble disinterestedness which the old man showed at that time, and to contrast this with the conduct of another newly-introduced person. I now perceive that the dream is allowed to make fun of my father because in the dream-thoughts, in the full recognition of his merits, he is held up as an example to others. It is in the nature of every censorship that one is permitted to tell untruths about forbidden things rather than the truth. The next sentence, to the effect that my father remembers that he was once drunk, and was locked up in consequence, contains nothing that really relates to my father any more. The person who is screened by him is here a no less important personage than the great Meynert, in whose footsteps I followed with such veneration, and whose attitude towards me, after a short period of favouritism, changed into one of undisguised hostility. The dream recalls to me his own statement that in his youth he had at one time formed the habit of intoxicating himself with chloroform, with the result that he had to enter a sanatorium; and also my second experience with him, shortly before his death. I had an embittered literary controversy with him in reference to masculine hysteria, the existence of which he denied, and when I visited him during his last illness, and asked him how he felt, he described his condition at some length, and concluded with the words: 'You know, I have always been one of the prettiest cases of masculine hysteria.' Thus, to my satisfaction, and to my astonishment, he admitted what he so long and so stubbornly denied. But the fact that in this scene of my dream I can use my father to screen Meynert is explained not by any discovered analogy between the two persons, but by the fact that it is the brief yet perfectly adequate representation of a conditional sentence in the dream-thoughts which, if fully expanded, would read as follows: 'Of course, if I belonged to the second generation, if I were the son of a professor or a privy councillor, I should have progressed more rapidly.' In my dream I make my father a professor and a privy councillor. The most obvious and most annoying absurdity of the dream lies in the treatment of the date 1851, which seems to me to be indistinguishable from 1856, as though a difference of five years meant nothing whatever. But it is just this one of the dream-thoughts that requires expression. Four or five years -- that is precisely the length of time during which I enjoyed the support of the colleague mentioned at the outset; but it is also the duration of time I kept my fiancee waiting before I married her; and by a coincidence that is eagerly exploited by the dream-thoughts, it is also the time I have kept my oldest patient waiting for a complete cure. 'What are five years?' ask the dream-thoughts. 'That is no time at all to me, that isn't worth consideration. I have time enough ahead of me, and just as what you wouldn't believe came true at last, so I shall accomplish this also.' Moreover, the number 51, when considered apart from the number of the century, is determined in yet another manner and in an opposite sense; for which reason it occurs several times over in the dream. It is the age at which man seems particularly exposed to danger; the age at which I have seen colleagues die suddenly, among them one who had been appointed a few days earlier to a professorship for which he had long been waiting.

Dream 5. Another absurd dream which plays with figures:

An acquaintance of mine, Herr M., has been attacked in an essay by no less a person than Goethe and, as we all think, with unjustifiable vehemence. Herr M. is, of course, crushed by this attack. He complains of it bitterly at a dinner-party; but his veneration for Goethe has not suffered as a result of this personal experience. I try to elucidate the temporal relations a little, as they seem improbable to me. Goethe died in 1832; since his attack upon M. must, of course, have taken place earlier, M. was at the time quite a young man. It seems plausible to me that he was 18 years old. But I do not know exactly what the date of the present year is, and so the whole calculation lapses into obscurity. The attack, by the way, is contained in Goethe's well-known essay on 'Nature'.

We shall soon find the means of justifying the nonsense of this dream. Herr M., with whom I became acquainted at a dinnerparty, had recently asked me to examine his brother, who showed signs of general paralysis. The conjecture was right; the painful thing about this visit was that the patient gave his brother away by alluding to his youthful pranks, though our conversation gave him no occasion to do so. I had asked the patient to tell me the year of his birth, and had repeatedly got him to make trifling calculations in order to show the weakness of his memory -- which tests, by the way, he passed quite well. Now I can see that I behave like a paralytic in the dream (I do not know exactly what the date of the present year is). Other material of the dream is drawn from another recent source. The editor of a medical periodical, a friend of mine, had accepted for his paper a very unfavourable 'crushing' review of the last book of my Berlin friend, Fl., the critic being a very youthful reviewer, who was not very competent to pass judgment. I thought I had a right to interfere, and called the editor to account; he greatly regretted his acceptance of the review, but he would not promise any redress. I thereupon broke off my relations with the periodical, and in my letter of resignation I expressed the hope that our personal relations would not suffer as a result of the incident. The third source of this dream is an account given by a female patient -- it was fresh in my memory at the time -- of the psychosis of her brother who had fallen into a frenzy crying 'Nature, Nature.' The physicians in attendance thought that the cry was derived from a reading of Goethe's beautiful essay, and that it pointed to the patient's overwork in the study of natural philosophy. I thought, rather, of the sexual meaning in which even our less cultured people use the word 'Nature', and the fact that the unfortunate man afterwards mutilated his genitals seems to show that I was not far wrong. Eighteen years was the age of this patient at the time of this access of frenzy.

If I add, further, that the book of my so severely criticised friend ('One asks oneself whether the author or oneself is crazy' had been the opinion of another critic) treats of the temporal conditions of life, and refers the duration of Goethe's life to the multiple of a number significant from the biological point of view, it will readily be admitted that in my dream I am putting myself in my friend's place. (I try to elucidate the temporal relations a little.) But I behave like a paretic, and the dream revels in absurdity. This means that the dream-thoughts say, ironically: 'Naturally, he is the fool, the lunatic, and you are the clever people who know better. Perhaps, however, it is the other way about?' Now, 'the other way about' is abundantly represented in my dream, inasmuch as Goethe has attacked the young man, which is absurd, while it is perfectly possible even today for a young fellow to attack the immortal Goethe and inasmuch as I reckon from the year of Goethe's death, while I made the paretic reckon from the year of his birth.

But I have further promised to show that no dream is inspired by other than egoistical motives. Accordingly, I must account for the fact that in this dream I make my friend's cause my own, and put myself in his place. My critical conviction in waking life would not justify my doing so. Now, the story of the eighteen-year-old patient, and the divergent interpretations of his cry, 'Nature', allude to the fact that I have put myself into opposition to the majority of physicians by claiming a sexual etiology for the psychoneuroses. I may say to myself: 'You will meet with the same kind of criticism as your friend; indeed you have already done so to some extent'; so that I may now replace the 'he' in the dream-thoughts by 'we'. 'Yes, you are right; we two are the fools.' That mea res agitur is clearly shown by the mention of the short, incomparably beautiful essay of Goethe's for it was a popular lecture on this essay which induced me to study the natural sciences when I left the gymnasium, and was still undecided as to my future.

Dream 6. I have to show that yet another dream in which my ego does not appear is none the less egoistic. On p. 163 I referred to a short dream in which Professor M. says: 'My son, the myopic . . .'; and I stated that this was only a preliminary dream, preceding another in which I play a part. Here is the main dream, previously omitted, which challenges us to explain its absurd and unintelligible word-formation.

On account of something or other that is happening in Rome it is necessary for the children to flee, and this they do. The scene is then laid before a gate, a double gate in the ancient style (the Porta Romana in Siena, as I realise while I am dreaming). I am sitting on the edge of a well, and I am greatly depressed; I am almost weeping. A woman -- a nurse, a nun -- brings out the two boys and hands them over to their father, who is not myself. The elder is distinctly my eldest son, but I do not see the face of the other boy. The woman asks the eldest boy for a parting kiss. She is remarkable for a red nose. The boy refuses her the kiss, but says to her, extending her his hand in parting, 'Auf Geseres', and to both of us (or to one of us) 'Auf Ungeseres.' I have the idea that this indicates a preference.

This dream is built upon a tangle of thoughts induced by a play I saw at the theatre, called Das neue Ghetto ('The New Ghetto'). The Jewish question, anxiety as to the future of my children, who cannot be given a fatherland, anxiety as to educating them so that they may enjoy the privileges of citizens -- all these features may easily be recognised in the accompanying dream-thoughts.

'By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept.' Siena, like Rome, is famous for its beautiful fountains. In the dream I have to find some sort of substitute for Rome (cf. p. 94) from among localities which are known to me. Near the Porta Romana of Siena we saw a large, brightly-lit building, which we learned was the Manicomio, the insane asylum. Shortly before the dream I had heard that a co-religionist had been forced to resign a position, which he had secured with great effort, in a state asylum.

Our interest is aroused by the speech: 'Auf Geseres', where one might expect, from the situation continued throughout the dream, 'Auf Wiedersehen' (Au revoir), and by its quite meaningless antithesis: 'Auf Ungeseres.' ('Un' is a prefix meaning 'not'.)

According to information received from Hebrew scholars, Geseres is a genuine Hebrew word, derived from the verb goiser, and may best be rendered by 'ordained sufferings, fated disaster'. From its employment in the Jewish jargon one would take it to mean 'wailing and lamentation'. Ungeseres is a coinage of my own, and is the first to attract my attention, but for the present it baffles me. The little observation at the end of the dream -- that Ungeseres indicates an advantage over Geseres -- opens the way to the associations, and therewith to understanding. This relation holds good in the case of caviare; the unsalted kind[4] is more highly prized than the salted. 'Caviare to the general' -- 'noble passions'. Herein lies concealed a jesting allusion to a member of my household, of whom I hope -- for she is younger than I -- that she will watch over the future of my children; this, too, agrees with the fact that another member of my household, our worthy nurse, is clearly indicated by the nurse (or nun) of the dream. But a connecting-link is wanting between the pair, salted-unsalted and Geseres-Ungeseres. This is to be found in gesauert and ungesauert (leavened and unleavened). In their flight or exodus from Egypt the children of Israel had not time to allow their dough to become leavened, and in commemoration of this event they eat unleavened bread at Passover to this day. Here, too, I can find room for the sudden association which occurred to me in this part of the analysis. I remembered how we, my friend from Berlin and myself, had strolled about the streets of Breslau, a city which was strange to us, during the last days of Easter. A little girl asked me the way to a certain street; I had to tell her that I did not know it; I then remarked to my friend, 'I hope that later on in life the child will show more perspicacity in selecting the persons whom she allows to direct her.' Shortly afterwards a sign caught my eye: 'Dr Herod, consulting hours . . .' I said to myself: 'I hope this colleague does not happen to be a children's specialist.' Meanwhile, my friend had been developing his views on the biological significance of bilateral symmetry, and had begun a sentence with the words: 'If we had only one eye in the middle of the forehead, like Cyclops . . .' This leads us to the speech of the professor in the preliminary dream: 'My son, the myopic.' And now I have been led to the chief source for Geseres. Many years ago, when this son of Professor M.'s, who is today an independent thinker, was still sitting on his school-bench, he contracted an affection of the eye which, according to the doctor, gave some cause for anxiety. He expressed the opinion that so long as it was confined to one eye it was of no great significance, but that if it should extend to the other eye it would be serious. The affection subsided in the one eye without leaving any ill effects; shortly afterwards, however, the same symptoms did actually appear in the other eye. The boy's terrified mother immediately summoned the physician to her distant home in the country. But the doctor was now of a different opinion (took the other side). 'What sort of ''Geseres'' is this you are making?' he asked the mother, impatiently. 'If one side got well, the other will, too.' And so it turned out.

And now as to the connection between this and myself and my family. The school-bench upon which Professor M.'s son learned his first lessons has become the property of my eldest son; it was given to him by the boy's mother, and it is into his mouth that I put the words of farewell in the dream. One of the wishes that may be connected with this transference may now be readily guessed. This school-bench is intended by its construction to guard the child from becoming shortsighted and one-sided. Hence myopia (and behind it the Cyclops), and the discussion about bilateralism. The fear of one-sidedness has a twofold significance; it might mean not only physical one-sidednes, but intellectual one-sidedness also. Does it not seem as though the scene in the dream, with all its craziness, were contradicting precisely this anxiety? When on the one hand the boy has spoken his words of farewell, on the other hand he calls out the very opposite, as though to establish an equilibrium. He is acting, as it were, in obedience to bilateral symmetry!

Thus, a dream frequently has the profoundest meaning in the places where it seems most absurd. In all ages those who have had something to say and have been unable to say it without danger to themselves have gladly donned the cap and bells. He for whom the forbidden saying was intended was more likely to tolerate it if he was able to laugh at it, and to flatter himself with the comment that what he disliked was obviously absurd. Dreams behave in real life as does the prince in the play who is obliged to pretend to be a madman, and hence we may say of dreams what Hamlet said of himself, substituting an unintelligible jest for the actual truth: 'I am but mad north-northwest; when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw' (Act II, sc. ii).[5]

Thus, my solution of the problem of absurdity in dreams is that the dream-thoughts are never absurd -- at least, not those of the dreams of sane persons -- and that the dream-work produces absurd dreams, and dreams with individually absurd elements, when the dream-thoughts contain criticism, ridicule, and derision, which have to be given expression. My next concern is to show that the dream-work is exhausted by the co-operation of the three factors enumerated -- and of a fourth which has still to be mentioned -- that it does no more than translate the dream-thoughts, observing the four conditions prescribed, and that the question whether the mind goes to work in dreams with all its intellectual faculties, or with only part of them, is wrongly stated, and does not meet the actual state of affairs. But since there are plenty of dreams in which judgments are passed, criticisms made, and facts recognised in which astonishment at some individual element of the dream appears, and explanations are attempted, and arguments adduced, I must meet the objections deriving from these occurrences by the citation of selected examples.

My answer is as follows: Everything in dreams which occurs as the apparent functioning of the critical faculty is to be regarded, not as the intellectual performance of the dream-work, but as belonging to the substance of the dream-thoughts, and it has found its way from these, as a completed structure, into the manifest dream-content. I may go even farther than this! I may even say that the judgments which are passed upon the dream as it is remembered after waking, and the feelings which are aroused by the reproduction of the dream, belong largely to the latent dream-content, and must be fitted into place in the interpretation of the dream.

1. One striking example of this has already been given. A female patient does not wish to relate her dream because it was too vague. She saw a person in the dream, and does not know whether it was her husband or her father. Then follows a second dream-fragment, in which there occurs a 'manure-pail', with which the following reminiscence is associated. As a young housewife she once declared jestingly, in the presence of a young male relative who frequented the house, that her next business would be to procure a new manure-pail. Next morning one was sent to her, but it was filled with lilies of the valley. This part of the dream served to represent the phrase, 'Not grown on my own manure'.[6] If we complete the analysis, we find in the dream-thoughts the after-effect of a story heard in youth; namely, that a girl had given birth to a child, and that it was not clear who was the father. The dream-representation here overlaps into the waking thought, and allows one of the elements of the dream-thoughts to be represented by a judgment, formed in the waking state, of the whole dream.

2. A similar case: One of my patients has a dream which strikes him as being an interesting one, for he says to himself, immediately after waking: 'I must tell that to the doctor.' The dream is analysed, and shows the most distinct allusion to an affair in which he had become involved during the treatment, and of which he had decided to tell me nothing.[7]

3. Here is a third example from my own experience:

I go to the hospital with P., through a neighbourhood in which there are houses and gardens. Thereupon I have an idea that I have already seen this locality several times in my dreams. I do not know my way very well; P. shows me a way which leads round a corner to a restaurant (indoor); here I ask for Frau Doni, and I hear that she is living at the back of the house, in a small room, with three children. I go there, and on the way I meet an undefined person with my two little girls. After I have been with them for a while, I take them with me. A sort of reproach against my wife for having left them there.

On waking I am conscious of a great satisfaction, whose motive seems to be the fact that I shall now learn from the analysis what is meant by 'I have already dreamed of this.'[8] But the analysis of the dream tells me nothing about this; it shows me only that the satisfaction belongs to the latent dream-content, and not to a judgment of the dream. It is satisfaction concerning the fact that I have had children by my marriage. P.'s path through life and my own ran parallel for a time; now he has outstripped me both socially and financially, but his marriage has remained childless. Of this the two occasions of the dream give proof on complete analysis. On the previous day I had read in the newspaper the obituary notice of a certain Frau Dona A--y (which I turn into Doni), who had died in childbirth; I was told by my wife that the dead woman had been nursed by the same midwife whom she herself had employed at the birth of our two youngest boys. The name Dona had caught my attention, for I had recently met with it for the first time in an English novel. The other occasion for the dream may be found in the date on which it was dreamed; this was the night before the birthday of my eldest boy, who, it seems, is poetically gifted.

4. The same satisfaction remained with me after waking from the absurd dream that my father, after his death, had played a political role among the Magyars. It is motivated by the persistence of the feeling which accompanied the last sentence of the dream: 'I remember that on his deathbed he looked so like Garibaldi, and I am glad that it has really come true . . .' (Followed by a forgotten continuation.) I can now supply from the analysis what should fill this gap. It is the mention of my second boy, to whom I have given the baptismal name of an eminent historical personage who attracted me greatly during my boyhood, especially during my stay in England. I had to wait for a year before I could fulfil my intention of using this name if the next child should be a son, and with great satisfaction I greeted him by this name as soon as he was born. It is easy to see how the father's suppressed desire for greatness is, in his thoughts, transferred to his children; one is inclined to believe that this is one of the ways by which the suppression of this desire (which becomes necessary in the course of life) is effected. The little fellow won his right to inclusion in the text of this dream by virtue of the fact that the same accident -- that of soiling his clothes (quite pardonable in either a child or in a dying person) -- had occurred to him. Compare with this the allusion Stuhlrichter (presiding judge) and the wish of the dream: to stand before one's children great and undefiled.

5. If I should now have to look for examples of judgments or expressions of opinion which remain in the dream itself, and are not continued in, or transferred to, our waking thoughts, my task would be greatly facilitated were I to take my examples from dreams which have already been cited for other purposes. The dream of Goethe's attack on Herr M. appears to contain quite a number of acts of judgment. I try to elucidate the temporal relations a little, as they seem improbable to me. Does not this look like a critical impulse directed against the nonsensical idea that Goethe should have made a literary attack upon a young man of my acquaintance? 'It seems plausible to me that he was 18 years old.' That sounds quite like the result of a calculation, though a silly one; and the 'I do not know exactly what is the date of the present year' would be an example of uncertainty or doubt in dreams.

But I know from analysis that these acts of judgment, which seem to have been performed in the dream for the first time, admit of a different construction, in the light of which they become indispensable for interpreting the dream, while at the same time all absurdity is avoided. With the sentence 'I try to elucidate the temporal relations a little,' I put myself in the place of my friend, who is actually trying to elucidate the temporal relations of life. The sentence then loses its significance as a judgment which objects to the nonsense of the previous sentences. The interposition, 'Which seems improbable to me,' belongs to the following: 'It seems plausible to me.' With almost these identical words I replied to the lady who told me of her brother's illness: 'It seems improbable to me' that the cry of 'Nature, Nature', was in any way connected with Goethe; it seems much more plausible to me that it has the sexual significance which is known to you. In this case, it is true, a judgment was expressed, but in reality, not in a dream, and on an occasion which is remembered and utilised by the dream-thoughts. The dream-content appropriates this judgment like any other fragment of the dream-thoughts.

The number 18 with which the judgment in the dream is meaninglessly connected still retains a trace of the context from which the real judgment was taken. Lastly, the 'I do not know exactly what is the date of the present year' is intended for no other purpose than that of my identification with the paralytic, in examining whom this particular fact was established.

In the solution of these apparent acts of judgment in dreams, it will be well to keep in mind the above-mentioned rule of interpretation, which tells us that we must disregard the coherence which is established in the dream between its constituent parts as an unessential phenomenon, and that every dream-element must be taken separately and traced back to its source. The dream is a compound, which for the purposes of investigation must be broken up into its elements. On the other hand, we become alive to the fact that there is a psychic force which expresses itself in our dreams and establishes this apparent coherence; that is, the material obtained by the dream-work undergoes a secondary elaboration. Here we have the manifestations of that psychic force which we shall presently take into consideration as the fourth of the factors which co-operate in dream-formation.

6. Let us now look for other examples of acts of judgment in the dreams which have already been cited. In the absurd dream about the communication from the town council, I ask the question, 'You married soon after?' I reckon that I was born in 1856, which seems to me to be directly afterwards. This certainly takes the form of an inference. My father married shortly after his attack, in the year 1851. I am the eldest son, born in 1856, so this is correct. We know that this inference has in fact been falsified by the wishfulfilment, and that the sentence which dominates the dream-thoughts is as follows: Four or five years -- that is no time at all -- that need not be counted. But every part of this chain of reasoning may be seen to be otherwise determined from the dream-thoughts, as regards both its content and its form. It is the patient of whose patience my colleague complains who intends to marry immediately the treatment is ended. The manner in which I converse with my father in this dream reminds me of an examination or cross-examination, and thus of a university professor who was in the habit of compiling a complete docket of personal data when entering his pupils' names: You were born when? -- 1856. -- Patre? -- Then the applicant gave the Latin form of the baptismal name of the father and we students assumed that the Hofrat drew inferences from the father's name which the baptismal name of the candidate would not always have justified. Hence, the drawing of inferences in the dream would be merely the repetition of the drawing of inferences which appears as a scrap of material in the dream-thoughts. From this we learn something new. If an inference occurs in the dream-content, it assuredly comes from the dream-thoughts; but it may be contained in these as a fragment of remembered material, or it may serve as the logical connective of a series of dream-thoughts. In any case, an inference in the dream represents an inference taken from the dream-thoughts.[9]

It will be well to continue the analysis of this dream at this point. With the inquisition of the professor is associated the recollection of an index (in my time published in Latin) of the university students; and further, the recollection of my own course of study. The five years allowed for the study of medicine were, as usual, too little for me. I worked unconcernedly for some years longer; my acquaintances regarded me as a loafer, and doubted whether I should 'get through'. Then, suddenly, I decided to take my examinations, and I 'got through' in spite of the postponement. A fresh confirmation of the dream-thoughts with which I defiantly meet my critics: 'Even though you won't believe it, because I am taking my time, I shall reach the conclusion (German, Schluss = end. conclusion, inference). It has often happened like that.'

In its introductory portion this dream contains several sentences which, we can hardly deny, are of the nature of an argument. And this argument is not at all absurd; it might just as well occur in my waking thoughts. In my dream I make fun of the communication from the town council, for in the first place I was not yet born in 1851, and in the second place my father, to whom it might refer, is already dead. Not only is each of these statements perfectly correct in itself, but they are the very arguments that I should employ if I received such a communication. We know from the foregoing analysis (p. 289) that this dream has sprung from the soil of deeply embittered and scornful dream-thoughts; and if we may also assume that the motive of the censorship is a very powerful one, we shall understand that the dream-thought has every occasion to create a flawless refutation of an unreasonable demand, in accordance with the pattern contained in the dream-thoughts. But the analysis shows that in this case the dream-work has not been required to make a free imitation, but that material taken from the dream-thoughts had to be employed for the purpose. It is as though in an algebraic equation there should occur, besides the figures, plus and minus signs, and symbols of powers and of roots, and as though someone, in copying this equation, without understanding it, should copy both the symbols and the figures, and mix them all up together. The two arguments may be traced to the following material: It is painful to me to think that many of the hypotheses upon which I base my psychological solution of the psychoneuroses will arouse scepticism and ridicule when they first became known. For instance, I shall have to assert that impressions of the second year of life, and even the first, leave an enduring trace upon the emotional life of subsequent neuropaths, and that these impressions -- although greatly distorted and exaggerated by the memory -- may furnish the earliest and profoundest basis of a hysterical symptom. Patients to whom I explain this at a suitable moment are wont to parody my explanation by offering to search for reminiscenes of the period when they were not yet born. My disclosure of the unsuspected part played by the father in the earliest sexual impulses of female patients may well have a similar reception. (Cf. the discussion on pp. 150 ff.) Nevertheless, it is my well-founded conviction that both doctrines are true. In confirmation of this I recall certain examples in which the death of the father occurred when the child was very young, and subsequent incidents, otherwise inexplicable, proved that the child had unconsciously preserved recollections of the person who had so early gone out of its life. I know that both my assertions are based upon inferences whose validity will be attacked. It is the doing of the wish-fulfilment that precisely the material of those inferences, which I fear will be contested, should be utilised by the dream-work for establishing incontestable conclusions.

7. In one dream, which I have hitherto only touched upon, astonishment at the subject emerging is distinctly expressed at the outset.

'The elder Brücke must have set me some task or other; strangely enough, it relates to the preparation of the lower part of my own body, the pelvis and legs, which I see before me as though in the dissecting-room, but without feeling the absence of part of my body, and without a trace of horror. Louise N. is standing beside me, and helps me in the work. The pelvis is eviscerated; now the upper, now the lower aspect is visible, and the two aspects are commingled. Large fleshy red tubercles are visible (which, even in the dream, make me think of haemorrhoids). Also something lying over them had to be carefully picked off, it looked like crumpled tinfoil.[10] Then I was once more in possession of my legs, and I made a journey through the city, but I took a cab (as I was tired). To my astonishment, the cab drove into the front door of a house, which opened and allowed it to pass into a corridor, which was broken off at the end, and eventually led on into the open.[11] Finally I wandered through changing landscapes, with an Alpine guide, who carried my things. He carried me for some distance, out of consideration for my tired legs. The ground was swampy; we went along the edge; people were sitting on the ground, like Red Indians or gypsies; among them a girl. Until then I had made my way along on the slippery ground, in constant astonishment that I was so well able to do so after making the preparation. At last we came to a small wooden house with an open window at one end. Here the guide set me down, and laid two planks, which stood in readiness, on the window-sill so as to bridge the chasm which had to be crossed from the window. Now I grew really alarmed about my legs. Instead of the expected crossing, I saw two grown-up men lying upon wooden benches which were fixed on the walls of the hut, and something like two sleeping children next to them; as though not the planks but the children were intended to make the crossing possible. I awoke with terrified thoughts.

Anyone who has been duly impressed by the extensive nature of dream-condensation will readily image what a number of pages the exhaustive analysis of this dream would fill. Fortunately for the context, I shall make this dream only the one example of astonishment in dreams, which makes its appearance in the parenthetical remark, 'strangely enough'. Let us consider the occasion of the dream. It is a visit of this lady, Louise N., who helps me with my work in the dream. She says: 'Lend me something to read.' I offer her She, by Rider Haggard. 'A strange book, but full of hidden meaning,' I try to explain; 'the eternal feminine, the immortality of our emotions --' Here she interrupts me: 'I know that book already. Haven't you something of your own?' 'No, my own immortal works are still unwritten.' 'Well, when are you going to publish your so-called ''latest revelations'', which, you promised us, even we should be able to read?' she asks, rather sarcastically. I now perceive that she is a mouthpiece for someone else, and I am silent. I think of the effort it cost me to make public even my work on dreams, in which I had to surrender so much of my own intimate nature. ('The best that you know you can't tell the boys.') The preparation of my own body which I am ordered to make in my dream is thus the self-analysis involved in the communication of my dreams. The elder Brücke very properly finds a place here; in the first years of my scientific work it so happened that I neglected the publication of a certain discovery until his insistence forced me to publish it. But the further trains of thought, proceeding from my conversation with Louise N., go too deep to become conscious; they are side-tracked by way of the material which has been incidentally awakened in me by the mention of Rider Haggard's She. The comment 'strangely enough' applies to this book, and to another by the same author, The Heart of the World' and numerous elements of the dream are taken from these two fantastic romances. The swampy ground over which the dreamer is carried, the chasm which has to be crossed by means of planks, come from She; the Red Indians, the girl, and the wooden house, from The Heart of the World. In both novels a woman is the leader, and both treat of perilous wandering; She has to do with an adventurous journey to an undiscovered country, a place almost untrodden by the foot of man. According to a note which I find in my record of the dream, the fatigue in my legs was a real sensation from those days. Probably a weary mood corresponded with this fatigue, and the doubting question: 'How much farther will my legs carry me?' In She the end of the adventure is that the heroine meets her death in the mysterious central fire, instead of winning immortality for herself and for others. Some related anxiety has mistakably arisen in the dream-thoughts. The 'wooden house' is assuredly also a coffin -- that is, the grave. But in representing this most unwished-for of all thoughts by means of a wish-fulfilment, the dream-work has achieved its masterpiece. I was once in a grave, but it was an empty Etruscan grave near Orvieto -- a narrow chamber with two stone benches on the walls, upon which were lying the skeletons of two adults. The interior of the wooden house in the dream looks exactly like this grave, except that stone has been replaced by wood. The dream seems to say: 'If you must already sojourn in your grave, let it be this Etruscan grave', and by means of this interpolation it transforms the most mournful expectation into one that is really to be desired. Unfortunately, as we shall learn, the dream is able to change into its opposite only the idea accompanying an affect, but not always the affect itself. Hence, I awake with 'thoughts of terror', even after the idea that perhaps my children will achieve what has been denied to their father has forced its way to representation: a fresh allusion to the strange romance in which the identity of a character is preserved through a series of generations covering two thousand years.

8. In the context of another dream there is a similar expression of astonishment at what is experienced in the dream. This, however, is connected with such a striking, far-fetched, and almost intellectual attempt at explanation that if only on this account I should have to subject the whole dream to analysis, even if it did not possess two other interesting features. On the night of the eighteenth of July 1 was travelling on the Southern Railway, and in my sleep I heard someone call out: 'Hollthum, 10 minutes.' I immediately think of Holothuria -- of a natural history museum -- that here is a place where valiant men have vainly resisted the domination of their overlord. -- Yes, the counter-reformation in Austria! -- As though it were a place in Styria or the Tyrol. Now I see indistinctly a small museum, in which the relics or the acquisitions of these men are preserved. I should like to leave the train, but I hesitate to do so. There are women with fruit on the platform; they squat on the ground, and in that position invitingly hold up their baskets. -- I hesitated, in doubt as to whether we have time, but here we are still stationary. -- I am suddenly in another compartment, in which the leather and the seats are so narrow that one's spine directly touches the back.[12] I am surprised at this, but I may have changed carriages while asleep. Several people, among them an English brother and sister; a row of books plainly on a shelf on the wall. -- I see 'The Wealth of Nations', and 'Matter and Motion' (by Maxwell), thick books bound in brown linen. The man asks his sister about a book of Schiller's, whether she has forgotten it. These books seem to belong now to me, now to them. At this point I wish to join in the conversation in order to confirm or support what is being said . . . I wake sweating all over, because all the windows are shut. The train stops at Marburg.

While writing down the dream, a part of it occurs to me which my memory wished to pass over. I tell the brother and sister (in English), referring to a certain book: 'It is from . . .' but I correct myself: 'It is by . . .' The man remarks to his sister: 'He said it correctly.'

The dream begins with the name of a station, which seems to have almost waked me. For this name, which was Marburg, I substitute Hollthurn. The fact that I heard Marburg the first, or perhaps the second time it was called out, is proved by the mention of Schiller in the dream; he was born in Marburg, though not the Styrian Marburg.[13] Now on this occasion, although I was travelling first class, I was doing so under very disagreeable circumstances. The train was overcrowded; in my compartment I had come upon a lady and gentleman who seemed very fine people, and had not the good breeding, or did not think it worth while, to conceal their displeasure at my intrusion. My polite greeting was not returned, and although they were sitting side by side (with their backs to the engine), the woman before my eyes hastened to pre-empt the seat opposite her, and next to the window, with her umbrella; the door was immediately closed, and pointed remarks about the opening of windows were exchanged. Probably I was quickly recognised as a person hungry for fresh air. It was a hot night, and the atmosphere of the compartment, closed on both sides, was almost suffocating. My experience as a traveller leads me to believe that such inconsiderate and overbearing conduct marks people who have paid for their tickets only partly, or not at all. When the conductor came round, and I presented my dearly bought ticket, the lady exclaimed haughtily and almost threateningly: 'My husband has a pass.' She was an imposing-looking person, with a discontented expression, in age not far removed from the autumn of feminine beauty; the man had no chance to say anything; he sat there motionless. I tried to sleep. In my dream I take a terrible revenge on my disagreeable travelling companions; no one would suspect what insults and humiliations are concealed behind the disjointed fragments of the first half of the dream. After this need has been satisfied, the second wish, to exchange my compartment for another, makes itself felt. The dream changes its scene so often, and without making the slightest objection to such changes, that it would not have seemed at all remarkable had I at once, from my memories, replaced my travelling companions by more agreeable persons. But here was a case where something or other opposes the change of scene, and finds it necessary to explain it. How did I suddenly get into another compartment? I could not positively remember having changed carriages. So there was only one explanation: I must have left the carriage while asleep -- an unusual occurrence, examples of which, however, are known to neuropathologists. We know of persons who undertake railway journeys in a crepuscular state, without betraying their abnormal condition by any sign whatever, until at some stage of their journey they come to themselves, and are surprised by the gap in their memory. Thus, while I am still dreaming, I declare my own case to be such a case of automatisme ambulatoire.

Analysis permits of another solution. The attempt at explanation, which so surprises me if I am to attribute it to the dream-work, is not original, but is copied from the neurosis of one of my patients. I have already spoken in another chapter of a highly cultured and kindly man who began, shortly after the death of his parents, to accuse himself of murderous tendencies, and who was distressed by the precautionary measures which he had to take to secure himself against these tendencies. His was a case of severe obsessional idea with full insight. To begin with, it was painful to him to walk through the streets, as he was obsessed by the necessity of accounting for all the persons he met; he had to know whither they had disappeared; if one of them suddenly eluded his pursuing glance, he was left with a feeling of distress and the idea that he might possibly have made away with the man. Behind this obsessive idea was concealed, among other things, a Cain-fantasy, for 'all men are brothers'. Owing to the impossibility of accomplishing this task, he gave up going for walks, and spent his life imprisoned within his four walls. But reports of murders which had been committed in the world outside were constantly reaching his room by way of the newspapers, and his conscience tormented him with the doubt that he might be the murderer for whom the police were looking. The certainty that he had not left the house for weeks protected him for a time against these accusations, until one day there dawned upon him the possibility that he might have left his house while in an unconscious state, and might thus have committed murder without knowing anything about it. From that time onwards he locked his front door, and gave the key to his old housekeeper, strictly forbidding her to give it into his hands, even if he demanded it.

This, then, is the origin of the attempted explanation that I may have changed carriages while in an unconscious state; it has been taken into the dream ready-made, from the material of the dream-thoughts, and is evidently intended to identify me with the person of my patient. My memory of this patient was awakened by natural association. My last night journey had been made a few weeks earlier in his company. He was cured, and we were going into the country together to his relatives, who had sent for me; as we had a compartment to ourselves, we left all the windows open throughout the night, and for as long as I remained awake we had a most interesting conversation. I knew that hostile impulses towards his father in childhood, in a sexual connection, had been at the root of his illness. By identifying myself with him I wanted to make an analogous confession to myself. The second scene of the dream really resolves itself into a wanton fantasy to the effect that my two elderly travelling companions had acted so uncivilly towards me because my arrival on the scene had prevented them from exchanging kisses and embraces during the night, as they had intended. This fantasy, however, goes back to an early incident of my childhood when, probably impelled by sexual curiosity, I had intruded into my parents' bedroom, and was driven thence by my father's emphatic command.

I think it would be superfluous to multiply such examples. They would all confirm what we have learned from those already cited: namely, that an act of judgment in a dream is merely the repetition of an original act of judgment in the dream-thoughts. In most cases it is an unsuitable repetition, fitted into an inappropriate context; occasionally, however, as in our last example, it is so artfully applied that it may almost give one the impression of independent intellectual activity in the dream. At this point we might turn our attention to that psychic activity which, though it does not appear to co-operate constantly in the formation of dreams, yet endeavours to fuse the dream-elements of different origin into a flawless and significant whole. We consider it necessary, however, first of all to consider the expressions of affect which appear in dreams, and to compare these with the affects which analysis discovers in the dream-thoughts.

[1]I have forgotten in what author I found a reference to a dream which was overrun with unusually small figures, the source of which proved to be one of the engravings of Jacques Callot, which the dreamer had examined during the day. These engravings contain an enormous number of very small figures; a whole series of them deals with the horrors of the Thirty Years War.

[2]cf. Formulierungen über die zwei Prinzipien des seelischen Geschehens, in Jahrbuch f. Ps.A., iii, 1, 1911 (Ges. Schriften, Bd. v).

[3]Here the dream-work parodies the thought which it qualifies as ridiculous, in that it creates something ridiculous in relation to it. Heine does the same thing when he wishes to deride the bad rhymes of the King of Bavaria. He does it by using even worse rhymes:

Herr Ludwig ist ein grosser Poet
Und singt er, so stürzt Apollo
Vor ihm auf die Knie und bittet und fleht,
Halt ein, ich werde sonst toll, oh!

[4][Note the resemblance of Geseres and Ungeseres to the German words for salted and unsalted -- gesalzen and ungesalzen; also to the words gesauert and ungesauert, leavened and unleavened. -- TRANS.]

[5]This dream furnishes a good example in support of the universally valid doctrine that dreams of the same night, even though they are separated in the memory, spring from the same thought-material. The dream-situation in which I am rescuing my children from the city of Rome, moreover, is distorted by a reference back to an episode of my childhood. The meaning is that I envy certain relatives who years ago had occasion to transplant their children to the soil of another country.

[6][This German expression is equivalent to our saying: 'I am not responsible for that', 'That's not my funeral', or 'That's not due to my own efforts'. -- TRANS.]

[7]The injunction or resolve already contained in the dream: 'I must tell that to the doctor', when it occurs in dreams during psychoanalytic treatment, is constantly accompanied by a great resistance to confessing the dream, and is not infrequently followed by the forgetting of the dream.

[8]A subject which has been extensively discussed in recent volumes of the Revue Philosophique (paramnesia in dreams).

[9]These results correct at several points my earlier statements concerning the representation of logical relations (pp. 194 ff.). These described the general procedure of the dream-work, but overlooked its most delicate and most careful operations.

[10]Stanniol, allusion to Stannius; the nervous system of fishes; cf. p. 271.

[11]The place in the corridor of my apartment-house where the perambulators of the other tenants stand; it is also otherwise hyper-determined several times over.

[12]This description is not intelligible even to myself, but I follow the principle of reproducing the dream in those words which occur to me while I am writing it down. The wording itself is a part of the dream-representation.

[13]Schiller was not born in one of the Marburgs, but in Marbach, as every German schoolboy knows, and as I myself knew. This again is one of those errors which creep in as substitutes for an intentional falsification in another place and which I have endeavoured to explain in The Psychopathology of Everyday Life.


Table of Contents | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter

 

Personal tools