- Via Regia zum Unbewussten. Freud und die Traumforschung im 19. Jahrhundert [The Royal Road to the Unconscious: Freud and Nineteenth-Century Dream Research], and: Dreaming by the Book: Freud's "The Interpretation of Dreams" and the History of the Psychoanalytic Movement (review)
- American Imago
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 61, Number 3, Fall 2004
- pp. 397-403
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American Imago 61.3 (2004) 397-403
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The one-hundredth anniversary of the publication of The Interpretation of Dreams in November 1899 prompted a number of important works: a facsimile of the first German edition with essays by Ilse Grubrich-Simitis, Mark Solms, and Jean Starobinski; a translation of the first edition by Joyce Crick; and a collection of essays edited by Marinelli and Mayer that includes the earlier version of their book under review.1 Along with Goldmann's The Royal Road to the Unconscious: Freud and Dream Research in the Nineteenth Century, these works mark a tremendous advance in the historical study of Freud's dream theory, its antecedents in German-language research of the nineteenth century, and its foundation of, interaction with, and reception by the early psychoanalytic movement.
Since Freud reworked The Interpretation of Dreams more than any of his other works—six of the eight editions that appeared in his lifetime have substantial revisions—reading the first can shock those familiar only with the Standard Edition. Ever since the Gesammelte Schriften (1925) reprinted the first edition in one volume and the additions from the subsequent editions in another, everyone has known that the book underwent extensive revision. Marinelli and Mayer's account of these revisions reveals in greater detail than ever before the extent to which Freud's book became a collective project. They trace the relationship between the development of psychoanalytic dream theory and the emergence and institutionalization of the psychoanalytic movement. [End Page 397]
Marinelli and Mayer steer a sure course between Freud-centered and alternative histories of psychoanalysis. They reveal the roles played by patients, opponents, colleagues, and followers in the development of psychoanalytic dream theory. They show how the development of this theory solidified and then tore apart the early psychoanalytic movement. In substantial appendices they publish for the first time the fascinating "Interpretation of Dreams" by Freud's brother Alexander and valuable letters by Eugen Bleuler, Alphonse Maeder, and Freud himself. They also usefully reprint the two essays by Otto Rank that appeared in the fourth through the seventh editions of The Interpretation of Dreams, "Dreams and Poetry" and "Dreams and Myth."
The authors identify three phases in the history of Freud's dream book and its reciprocal relations with its readers. In the first period, 1899-1909, the book served as the precursor of and substitute for a guide to psychoanalytic methodology and technique. The second period, 1909-18, began with the foundation of the International Psychoanalytic Association; analysts worked collectively to develop the book as a lexicon of symbols. In the final period, 1919-30, which the authors discuss only briefly, the book underwent fewer revisions and was declared an "historical document" by Freud, but new views were occasionally incorporated when the book was translated into foreign languages.
The discussion of the first period is the best and most original part of Marinelli and Mayer's work. They show the difficulty that early readers, particularly Heinrich Gomperz and Bleuler, had in applying to their own dreams the principles of dream interpretation that Freud laid down and demonstrated on his own. Instead of providing confirmation of Freud's formula—"The dream is the (disguised) fulfillment of a (suppressed or repressed) wish" (1900, 160)—these self-analytic efforts led the readers to contact Freud for help with their interpretations. Seven of Bleuler's letters to Freud document in intriguing personal detail his struggles to...