Sigmund Freud (18561939). The Interpretation of Dreams. 1913.
IN attempting a discussion of the Interpretation of Dreams, I do not believe that I have overstepped the bounds of neuropathological interest. For, on psychological investigation, the dream proves to be the first link in a chain of abnormal psychic structures whose other links, the hysterical phobia, the obsession, and the delusion must, for practical reasons, claim the interest of the physician. The dream (as will appear) can lay no claim to a corresponding practical significance; its theoretical value as a paradigm is, however, all the greater, and one who cannot explain the origin of the dream pictures will strive in vain to understand the phobias, obsessive and delusional ideas, and likewise their therapeutic importance.
But this relation, to which our subject owes its importance, is responsible also for the deficiencies in the work before us. The surfaces of fracture which will be found so frequently in this discussion correspond to so many points of contact at which the problem of the dream formation touches more comprehensive problems of psychopathology, which cannot be discussed here, and which will be subjected to future elaboration if there should be sufficient time and energy, and if further material should be forthcoming.
Peculiarities in the material I have used to elucidate the interpretation of dreams have rendered this publication difficult. From the work itself it will appear why all dreams related in the literature or collected by others had to remain useless for my purpose; for examples I had to choose between my own dreams and those of my patients who were under psychoanalytic treatment. I was restrained from utilising the latter material by the fact that in it the dream processes were subjected to an undesirable complication on account of the intermixture of neurotic characters. On the other hand, inseparably connected with my own dreams was the circumstance that I was obliged to expose more of the intimacies of my psychic life than I should like and than generally falls to the task of an author who is not a poet but an investigator of nature. This was painful, but unavoidable; I had to put up with the inevitable in order not to be obliged to forego altogether the demonstration of the truth of my psychological results. To be sure, I could not at best resist the temptation of disguising some of my indiscretions through omissions and substitutions, and as often as this happened it detracted materially from the value of the examples which I employed. I can only express the hope that the reader of this work, putting himself in my difficult position, will show forbearance, and also that all persons who are inclined to take offence at any of the dreams reported will concede freedom of thought at least to the dream life.