Sigmund Freud (18561939). The Interpretation of Dreams. 1913.
SINCE the appearance of the authors Selected Papers on Hysteria and other Psychoneuroses, and Three Contributions to the Sexual Theory,1 much has been said and written about Freuds works. Some of our readers have made an honest endeavour to test and utilise the authors theories, but they have been handicapped by their inability to read fluently very difficult German, for only two of Freuds works have hitherto been accessible to English readers. For them this work will be of invaluable assistance. To be sure, numerous articles on the Freudian psychology have of late made their appearance in our literature;2 but these scattered papers, read by those unacquainted with the original work, often serve to confuse rather than enlighten. For Freud cannot be mastered from the reading of a few pamphlets, or even one or two of his original works. Let me repeat what I have so often said: No one is really qualified to use or to judge Freuds psychoanalytic method who has not thoroughly mastered his theory of the neurosesThe Interpretation of Dreams, Three Contributions to the Sexual Theory, Psychopathology of Everyday Life, and Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious, and who has not had considerable experience in analysing the dreams and psychopathological actions of himself and others. That there is required also a thorough training in normal and abnormal psychology goes without saying.
The Interpretation of Dreams is the authors greatest and most important work; it is here that he develops his psychoanalytic technique, a thorough knowledge of which is absolutely indispensable for every worker in this field. The difficult task of making a translation of this work has, therefore, been undertaken primarily for the purpose of assisting those who are actively engaged in treating patients by Freuds psychoanalytic method. Considered apart from its practical aim, the book presents much that is of interest to the psychologist and the general reader. For, notwithstanding the fact that dreams have of late years been the subject of investigation at the hands of many competent observers, only few have contributed anything tangible towards their solution; it was Freud who divested the dream of its mystery, and solved its riddles. He not only showed us that the dream is full of meaning, but amply demonstrated that it is intimately connected with normal and abnormal mental life. It is in the treatment of the abnormal mental states that we must recognise the most important value of dream interpretation. The dream does not only reveal to us the cryptic mechanisms of hallucinations, delusions, phobias, obsessions, and other psychopathological conditions, but it is also the most potent instrument in the removal of these.3