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The Dreams of Interpretation

The Dreams of Interpretation: A Century down the Royal Road

Catherine Liu
John Mowitt
Thomas Pepper
Jakki Spicer
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 408
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  • Book Info
    The Dreams of Interpretation
    Book Description:

    Rethinking the importance of Sigmund Freud's landmark book The Interpretation of Dreams a century after its publication in 1900, this work brings together psychoanalysts, philosophers, cultural theorists, film and visual theorists, and literary critics in a compilation of the best clinical and theoretical work being done in psychoanalysis today. Contributors: Willy Apollon, Karyn Ball, Raymond Bellour, Patricia Gherovici, Judith Feher-Gurewich, Jonathan Kahana, A. Kiarina Kordela, Pablo Kovalovsky, Jean Laplanche, Laura Marcus, Andrew McNamara, Claire Nahon, Yun Peng, Gerard Pommier, Jean-Michel Rabaté, Laurence A. Rickels, Avital Ronell, Elke Siegel, Rei Terada, Klaus Theweleit, Paul Verhaege, Silke-Maria Weineck.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5413-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-v)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-viii)
  3. Editors’ Note
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. INTRODUCTION: “What Are You Doing Tonight?”
    (pp. xiii-xxvi)
    Catherine Liu, John Mowitt, Thomas Pepper and Jakki Spicer

    Elephants and scholarly volumes with multiple editors are creatures of long gestation. In the case of the elephant, birth remembers what is hoped was a joyful moment of conception. In the case of this book, another joyful event is marked, also a birthday celebration: most of the contributions here were originally delivered at a conference, “The Dreams of Interpretation/The Interpretation of Dreams,” held at the Weisman Art Museum on the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota in early October 2000 to commemorate the centennial of the date on the title page of Sigmund Freud’s Dream Book. At the...

  6. Relations with Neighbors:: Ethics

    • 1. The Ethics of the Dreamer
      (pp. 3-10)
      Gérard Pommier

      Initially it may seem strange to suggest that dreams contain ethical standards, as they often stage violence, murder, and perverse situations. To move beyond this apparent contradiction it is necessary to make the distinction between ethics and morals. Samurai warriors, gangsters, and politicians all possess ethical ideals dictating their codes of conduct. Both the gangster and the Samurai have codes of conduct based on the ethical standards of the groups with which these figures are affiliated. (In the case of politicians, this affirmation is less certain.) For example, a Samurai who chooses to commitHara Kiridoes so in accordance...

    • 2. “In dreams begin responsibilities”: Toward Dream Ethics
      (pp. 11-22)
      Jean-Michel Rabaté

      In a dense passage ofNadja, André Breton puzzles out a complex sequence of factors that account for his inexplicable fascination with a terrible play. Admitting that a bad melodrama entitled LesDétraquéeshad made a powerful impression on him, he narrates a disturbing dream he had at the time. The dream’s climax came when a moss-colored insect about twenty inches long slipped down into his throat until it was pulled out of his mouth by its huge hairy legs. Meditating on the nausea this still triggers in him, Breton tries to generalize, reflecting on the links between dreams and...

    • 3. The Dream in the Wake of the Freudian Rupture
      (pp. 23-38)
      Willy Apollon

      Even as he maintains remarkable rigor in his search for the validation of his clinical practice, Freud does not entirely subscribe to a certain conception of science—in particular, to the conception of experimental science. Nevertheless the knowledge (le savoir,thus translated passim) of psychoanalysis Freud invents only presents itself in experience. With dreams Freud claims that a space other than the one defined by neuronal, synaptic, electrical, or chemical interconnections, and other than the imaginary, traverses, in both man and animal, the psychical apparatus regulating them. This is a space where, among other activities he will attempt to define,...

    • 4. Freud’s Dream of America
      (pp. 39-54)
      Patricia Gherovici

      Fully immersed in a book I was writing on hysteria in the Puerto Rican ghetto, I chanced upon historical material about the colonial history of the United States at the end of the nineteenth century. It was in that connection that I reopened the pages ofThe Interpretation of Dreamsin which Freud describes one of his most peculiar dreams, a dream of a castle by the sea, a dream of naval war, too, a complex narrative dealing with the Spanish-American War (SE V, 463-64) . This was the war that ended with the annexation of Puerto Rico by the...

    • 5. Literature and Pathology: Masochism Takes the Upper Hand
      (pp. 55-72)
      Avital Ronell

      Ever resisting the temptation to be born again, even today, as we mark the one-hundredth anniversary of its initializing text, psychoanalysis was from the start just about the only one to confront human cruelty, the punishing aspects of the psyche, without a theological alibi—in fact, with no alibi or safety net. Psychoanalysis ventured forth without an alibi—with no excuse, as it were. This is one of Derrida’s recent themes: that psychoanalysis met head-on with unbearable examples of suffering, but took no recourse to theology. It may have scanned monotheism, or even served as witness for Dr. Schreber when...

  7. Family, Friends, and Other Relations

    • 6. Sounds of Satan
      (pp. 75-96)
      Laurence A. Rickels

      The Devil has two points of entry in Freud’s science. He is along for the aside in which Freud, in your dreams, addresses philosophy and music. But then he also takes center stage when Freud analyzes cases of possession, in delusions and in dreams. The Devil of possession belongs to the rehearsal stage of Oedipal plot developments when father is your bosom body. In addition to the pre-Oedipal or phallic mother and the Oedipal father or parent, there is a pre-Oedipal father, the primal father in everyone’s development, the one who, through monopolization of sexual difference or sexuality, gives rise...

    • 7. Heteros Autos: Freud’s Fatherhood
      (pp. 97-114)
      Silke-Maria Weineck

      In the first sentence of what must be the most famous subchapter ofThe Interpretation of Dreams,Freud writes: “Another series of dreams that may be called typical are those with the content that a dear relative, parents or siblings, children etc. has died.”¹ The odd grammatical structure of the sentence, with its singular verb following multiple subjects, announces that it is really only one dear relative whose dreamed death will matter to psychoanalysis: the father, whose death, according to Freud’s widely accepted autobiographical narrative, gave rise to his self-analysis and hence to psychoanalysis as we know it. In his...

    • 8. “Non vixit”: Friends Survived
      (pp. 115-132)
      Elke Siegel

      “This is the year of ‘revenants,’” Sigmund Freud wrote to his friend Wilhelm Fliess on July 1, 1900, in and of the year that we have become accustomed to think of as the year ofThe Interpretation of Dreams.¹ Freud’s statement refers to the guests he had been entertaining in Vienna: first, his half-brother Emmanuel from London, and then, unexpectedly, an old friend, the dermatologist Sigmund Lustgarten, who had emigrated to New York. Given that 1900 was overdetermined for Freud, his calling it “the year of ‘revenants’” cannot be a mere coincidence.² It is not just a spontaneous eruption, joke,or...

  8. Other Desires

    • 9. The Dream between Drive and Desire: A Question of Representability
      (pp. 135-146)
      Paul Verhaeghe

      One of the major conclusions of Freud’sThe Interpretation of Dreamsis, of course, that every dream comes down to the fulfillment of a secret wish. This is the main message of Freud’s book, the one that has been kept intact for the last hundred years. The latent dream thoughts contain a forbidden unconscious desire, which finds its expression in the manifest dream content, albeit in a distorted way due to the dream-work. Every analysis has to follow the opposite road, meaning that the dream-work has to be countered by the analytic work. At the end of the analytic day,...

    • 10. Is Lacan Borderline?
      (pp. 147-158)
      Judith Feher-Gurewich

      One hundred years afterThe Interpretation of Dreams,Freud’s discovery of the unconscious continues to sap the comfort of our received notions on love, desire, reproduction, violence, and death. Freud’s unconscious is a seductive delinquent, always on the go, tracking down desire and its infinite partial objects. Oblivious to debts, to logic and justice, it moves steadily toward death in search of the intervention of a father figure in front of whom it refuses to yield. No wonder that, among Freud’s epigones, Lacan stands quasi-alone to plead for that which defies the proper functioning of the law of social and...

    • 11. Dream Model and Mirroring Anxiety: Sexuality and Theory
      (pp. 159-174)
      Claire Nahon

      Freud’sInterpretation of Dreamsis generally acknowledged to interrogate the very status of the sexual. Yet it is striking to observe that the psychoanalytic literature of the past fifty years virulently challenges the Freudian model—Vorbild—of the dream and the transference. We are actually witnessing a perplexing evolution characterized by the always more profound denial of the very essence of the Freudian discovery and its foundation—namely, the existence of the images created by autoerotic sexuality, i.e., the unconscious (infantile) images—Bild[er]—that shape the dream as well as the neurotic symptom, and even psychosis. Already in the preface...

  9. Focuses on the Apparatus

    • 12. Closing and Opening of the Dream: Must Chapter VII Be Rewritten?
      (pp. 177-196)
      Jean Laplanche

      It is from the point of view ofcommunicationthat we wish to reexamine the theory of the dream. But this word takes on two different meanings:communication of the dream(notably its account in treatment) andcommunication in the dream, whether or not there exists a communication in the dream itself. As to “communication of the dream,” a purely idealist, intersubjective, linguistic conception of the cure would consider this problem outmoded. Such a view would consider it nonsense to wish to analyze the dream, since there is never anything but the account of the dream, which is merely an...

    • 13. Dreaming and Cinematographic Consciousness
      (pp. 197-214)
      Laura Marcus

      The year 1895 is key in the history of psychoanalysis and cinema. On July 24, 1895, Freud dreamed the Dream of Irma’s Injection, the Specimen Dream ofThe Interpretation of Dreams. “Do you suppose,” Freud wrote to Wilhelm Fliess in a letter describing a later visit to Bellevue, the house where he had had the dream, “that someday one will read on a marble tablet on this house” that

      Here, on July 24th, 1895

      the secret of dreams

      revealed itself to Dr. Sigm Freud.¹

      During September and October 1895, Freud wrote the uncompletedProject for a Scientific Psychology,which, as...

    • 14. A Knock Made for the Eye: Image and Awakening in Deleuze and Freud
      (pp. 215-224)
      Yün Peng

      This essay is part of a larger project in which I try to trace certain links in twentieth-century thought among thinkers such as Freud, Deleuze, Benjamin, Heidegger, and Blanchot. I introduce my theme by referring to Foucault’s 1970 essay on Deleuze, “Theatrum Philosophicum.” Here Foucault writes that the most important question for philosophy now, as Deleuze shows us, is the relation between thought and non-thought, or stupidity. Thinking is therefore anactin the double sense of the word. It is first of all an act of giving birth to itself, fromandin relation to stupidity. The act of...

  10. Matters of Intensity

    • 15. Insomnia
      (pp. 227-234)
      Pablo Kovalovsky

      The withdrawal of stimuli coming from the external world, and which Freud deemed necessary to the onset of sleep, entails, according to Otto Isakower, a phenomenon that occurs in some people at the moment just prior to falling asleep.¹ In his descriptions Isakower notes how this “falling” reveals a subjective destitution, and how the subject later reencounters itself as an object in the dream scene. This phenomenon consists of sensations that imply the dissolution of the corporeal limits between the inside and the outside, a loss of corporeal integrity, and a predominance of the oral zone. In his text Isakower...

    • 16. Strange Intelligibility: Clarity and Vivacity in Dream Language
      (pp. 235-250)
      Rei Terada

      “Most prominent among [the] formal characteristics, which cannot fail to impress us in dreams,” Freud asserts, are the “differences in intensity” within them (SE IV, 329). Freud notes that “differences in intensity between particular dream-images cover the whole range extending between a sharpness of definition which we feel inclined, no doubt unjustifiably, to regard as greater than that of reality and an irritating vagueness which we declare characteristic of dreams because it is not completely comparable to any degree of indistinctness which we ever perceive in real objects” (SE IV, 329). In Freud’s experience—and in our own, we would...

  11. Interpretative Arts

    • 17. The Marnie Color
      (pp. 253-262)
      Raymond Bellour

      When I received a letter from the University of Minnesota inviting me to celebrate, with the end of the century, the publication ofThe Interpretation of Dreams,I felt honored but mainly thrilled. I couldn’t help thinking back at that moment to when, very young and in a tiny hotel room in Munich, I read the book, at that time out of print, in the old translation of Ignace Meyerson,La Science des rêves,as it was called in French—a copy of which had been lent to me by my friend, the future French philosopher André Glucksmann. This turned...

    • 18. “Other Languages”: Testimony, Transference, and Translation in Documentary Film
      (pp. 263-282)
      Jonathan Kahana

      A staple of documentary cinema from its earliest days, the interview may be the one situation in cinema where vision is redundant. The power of the interview as a documentary technique has primarily to do with the temporal continuity between the event and its cinematic representation embodied in the interview subject’s voice. The synchronous recording of sound and sight in the documentary interview presents us, then, with another instance of the confrontation of the look and the gaze in cinema. To the viewer, this gaze takes the form of a question that can never be articulated: if I can hear,...

    • 19. Wondrous Objectivity: Art History, Freud, and Detection
      (pp. 283-300)
      Andrew McNamara

      While outlining a philosophy of “fine art,” Hegel offered some advice to the nascent discipline of art history. It could be summed up, more or less, as “stick to the facts.” Of course philosophy would forge the aesthetic-theoretical hardwiring of the field. If there had been a sufficient number of art historians at that time to constitute a discipline, this intellectual division of labor might have been understood as a grievous insult. The subsequent formation of the discipline shows that many art historians have indeed treated this as exemplary advice, and thus an extensive arm of art history has concerned...

  12. Thoughtful Articulations

    • 20. Marx, Condensed and Displaced
      (pp. 303-320)
      A. Kiarina Kordela

      In this essay I advance the thesis that there is a structural homology between economic and semantic systems of exchange—two systems that in the secular capitalist era cover nothing less than the fields of capital, sign, and subject. By claiming a structural homology among these three fields I also mean to place them on the same epistemological level, whereby none of these fields can be considered to be the cause of the other fields. Rather, all three are caused and determined by a function of different ontological and epistemological status: surplus.

      This surplus is ontologically different from capital, sign,...

    • 21. The Substance of Psychic Life
      (pp. 321-336)
      Karyn Ball

      Over the years, the perceived impropriety of Freud’s emphasis on the sexual dimension of the unconscious has, in the United States at least, sometimes led to a complete negation of the value of his thought. The controversy in 1995–96 over plans for a national exhibit devoted to Freud’s work and influence is a telling instance of this suppression in the public sphere both within and beyond academia. To be sure, Freud himself sometimes felt compelled to qualify a few of the more scandalous aspects of his own thinking on sexuality, such as his initial belief in his patients’ statements...

    • 22. Young Mr. Freud; or, On the Becoming of an Artist: Freud’s Various Paths to the Dream Book, 1882—1899
      (pp. 337-356)
      Klaus Theweleit

      The starting material of this piece is stone—the different kinds of marble of which statues are made. Readers of theT-Deutung,as Avital Ronell has called it, will be familiar with this complex: Freud’s wish to stand on a monument at the University of Vienna as something like “the Habsburg Kaiser.” From his early youth on, Freud is convinced that the figure of a great explorer or inventor is hidden in his body, and that his life is aimed at the task of working this figure out. Let’s say just like Elvis: his mother told him every day he...

    • 23. Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made Of: Freud, Life, and Literature
      (pp. 357-366)
      Mary Lydon

      With these words Professor Mary Lydon began her opening remarks, remarks that marked the formal beginning of the conference from which all but one of the chapters in this book were selected. It is fitting to place them here, at the end of this volume, not merely to remember their original function, but because the loss to which the author of these re marks points—the death of a colleague—has now, alas, been visited on her. Mary Lydon died on April 29, 2001, just seven months after the words above were pronounced and recorded.

      In my introduction of her...

  13. Contributors
    (pp. 367-370)
  14. Index
    (pp. 371-379)