Literature Study GuidesThe Interpretation Of Dreams

The Interpretation of Dreams | Study Guide

Sigmund Freud

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Sigmund Freud

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At a Glance

In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud sets out to show the inner workings of the mind, using dreams as "the royal road to a knowledge of the activities of the unconscious mind." Freud was trained as a physician and scientist and saw his work as following in the footsteps of the great physiologists of his day. The Interpretation of Dreams remains an important book for both psychoanalysts and non-specialists for its subtle method of interpretation. The motives of people and fictional characters can be interpreted with nuance, using Freud's insights. For example, a proud declaration of love might conceal an ambivalent heart. By emphasizing the importance of the unknown, The Interpretation of Dreams restores a sense of enigma to inner life.

About the Title

In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud breaks with earlier understandings of dreams, both scientific and nonscientific. Dreams are not prophecies of the future or meaningless responses to physical sensations during sleep, Freud claims. Instead dreams are meaningful mental acts and are worthy of interpretation.


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