What are the stakes of writing and publishing, of moving from intimate writing to the public sphere? Examining this question in the case of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, read here as an autobiographical text, this paper explores the intricate nexus of ambition, death and writing. Freud is possessed by the possibility of becoming famous, a public persona, immortal. His route to achieving this is the publication of The Interpretation of Dreams. He aspires to greatness, and yet the very project that is supposed to secure it is fragile and insecure; the very project entails a risk. The same text that could secure one’s immortality becomes the locus of one’s absence. Publishing renders the most intimate text public and at a distance from oneself. The wish for glory cannot be assuaged through a published text, which is a public affair. One cannot make a name for oneself.