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Encyclopedia > The Interpretation of Dreams
A modern English edition of The Interpretation of Dreams.
A modern English edition of The Interpretation of Dreams.

The Interpretation of Dreams is a book by Sigmund Freud, the first edition of which was first published in German in November 1899 as Die Traumdeutung (though post-dated as 1900 by the publisher). The publication inaugurated the theory of Freudian dream analysis, which Freud believed was the "royal road to the unconscious". This image is a book cover. ... This image is a book cover. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Sigmund Freud Sigmund Freud (IPA: []) (May 6, 1856 – September 23, 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology. ... Dreaming is the subjective experience of imaginary images, sounds/voices, thoughts or sensations during sleep, usually involuntarily. ...

At the beginning of Chapter One, Freud describes his work thus:

In the following pages, I shall demonstrate that there is a psychological technique which makes it possible to interpret dreams, and that on the application of this technique, every dream will reveal itself as a psychological structure, full of significance, and one which may be assigned to a specific place in the psychic activities of the waking state. Further, I shall endeavour to elucidate the processes which underlie the strangeness and obscurity of dreams, and to deduce from these processes the nature of the psychic forces whose conflict or co-operation is responsible for our dreams.

The book introduces the Ego, and describes Freud's theory of the unconscious with respect to dream interpretation. Dreams, in Freud's view, were all forms of "wish-fulfillment" — attempts by the unconscious to resolve a conflict of some sort, whether something recent or something from the recessess of the past (later in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Freud would discuss dreams which did not appear to be wish-fulfillment). However, because the information in the unconscious is in an unruly and often disturbing form, a "censor" in the preconscious will not allow it to pass unaltered into the conscious. During dreams, the preconscious is more lax in this duty than in waking hours, but is still attentive: as such, the unconscious must distort and warp the meaning of its information to make it through the censorship. As such, images in dreams are often not what they appear to be, according to Freud, and need deeper interpretation if they are to inform on the structures of the unconscious. In his theory of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud sought to explain how the unconscious mind operates by proposing that it has a particular structure. ... The unconscious mind (or subconscious) is the aspect (or puported aspect) of the mind of which we are not directly conscious or aware. ... Dream interpretation is the process of assigning meanings to dreams. ... Beyond the Pleasure Principle Published in 1920, Beyond the Pleasure Principle marked a turning point for Freud, and a major modification of his previous theoretical approach. ...

Freud makes his argument by first reviewing previous scientific work on dream analysis, which he finds interesting but inadequate. He then describes a number of dreams which illustrate his theory. Many of his most important dreams are his own — his method is inaugurated with an analysis of his dream "Irma's injection" — but many also come from patient case studies. Much of Freud's sources for analysis are in literature, and the book is itself as much a self-conscious attempt at literary analysis as it is a psychological study. Freud here also first discusses what would later become the theory of the Oedipus complex. The Oedipus complex or conflict is a concept developed by Sigmund Freud to explain the origin of certain neuroses in childhood. ...

The initial print run of the book was very low — it took many years to sell out the first 600 copies. Freud revised the book at least eight times, in the third edition added an extensive section which treated dream symbolism very literally, following the influence of Wilhelm Stekel. Later psychoanalysts have expressed frustration with this section, as it encouraged the notion that dream interpretation was a straightforward hunt for symbols of sex, penises, etc. (Example: "Steep inclines, ladders and stairs, and going up or down them, are symbolic representations of the sexual act.") These approaches have been largely abandoned in favor of more comprehensive methods[citation needed]. Wilhelm Stekel (1868-1940) was a psychologist, one of Freuds earliest followers. ...

Widely considered to be his most important contribution to psychology, Freud said of this work, "Insight such as this falls to one's lot but once in a lifetime."


  • Marinelli, Lydia and Andreas Mayer A. (2003) Dreaming by the Book: A History of Freud's 'The Interpretation of Dreams' and the Psychoanalytic Movement, New York: Other Press. ISBN 1-59051-009-7 (Mayer and Marinelli explore textual changes in different versions of The Interpretation of Dreams and offer an historical account of how the book became the founding text of the psychoanalytic movement).
  • "The Language of Psycho-Analysis" , Jean Laplanche et J.B. Pontalis, Editeur: W. W. Norton & Company, 1974, ISBN 0-393-01105-4

Jean Laplanche (b. ...

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  Results from FactBites:
Dream Interpretation - dream interpretation, meaning, analysis & a free dream dictionary (2502 words)
So it is with dreams, granted that we take time to learn the language of symbols, the associative logic of dreams and some principles and differences of sleeping and waking consciousness.
The dreams that are meant to assist you in waking life, hence which are the most important to contemplate, understand and act upon are recurring dreams, nightmares, and dreams which you've asked for or incubated.
An in-depth look at animals and dream characters is the subject for further exploration and training, but for the moment, investigate both potential aspects, and try engaging in a written dialogue (where you "make up" their answers) to find out what makes them tick and why they are doing and saying what they are.
Dream interpretation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1178 words)
Dream interpretation was taken up as part of psychoanalysis at the end of the 19th Century; the manifest content of a dream (what is perceived in the dream) is analyzed to reveal the latent content of a dream (the underlying thoughts of the dream — why it was dreamt).
Freud arrived at his theory of dreams by research (though he rejects much of the prior work), self-analysis, and psychoanalysis of his patients (I, VI§H, VII§C); as his theory developed, Freud often used dream interpretation to treat his patients, calling dreams "[t]he royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind" (VII§E).
Interpretation of dreams is also a part of contemporary pop and new age culture.
  More results at FactBites »



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