If there has arisen a demand for a second edition of this rather difficult book before the end of the first decade, I owe no gratitude to the interest of the professional circles to whom I appealed in the preceding sentences. My colleagues in psychiatry, apparently, have made no effort to shake off the first surprise which my new concept of the dream evoked, and the professional philosophers, who are accustomed to treat the problems of dream life as a part of the states of consciousness, devoting to it a few - for the most part identical - sentences, have apparently failed to observe that in this field could be found all kinds of things which would inevitably lead to a thorough transformation of our psychological theories. The behaviour of the scientific critics could only justify the expectation that this work of mine was destined to be buried in oblivion; and the small troop of brave pupils who follow my leadership in the medical application of psychoanalysis, and also follow my example in analysing dreams in order to utilise these analyses in the treatment of neurotics, would not have exhausted the first edition of the book. I therefore feel indebted to that wider circle of intelligent seekers after the truth whose co-operation has procured for me the invitation to take up anew, after nine years, the difficult and in so many respects fundamental work.
I am glad to be able to say that I have found little to change. Here and there I have inserted new material, added new views from my wider experience, and attempted to revise certain points; but everything essential covering the dream and its interpretation, as well as the psychological propositions derived from it, has remained unchanged […]. During the long years of my work on the problems of the neuroses, I have been repeatedly confronted with doubts, and have often made mistakes; but it was always in the "interpretation of dreams" that I found my bearings. My numerous scientific opponents, therefore, show an especially sure instinct when they refuse to follow me into this territory of dream investigation.
Likewise, the materials used in this book to illustrate the rules of dream interpretation, drawn chiefly from dreams of my own which have been depreciated and outstripped by events, have in the revision shown a persistence which resisted substantial changes. For me, indeed, the book has still another subjective meaning which I could comprehend only after it had been completed. It proved to be for me a part of my self-analysis, a reaction to the death of my father - that is, to the most significant event, the deepest loss, in the life of a man. After I recognised this I felt powerless to efface the traces of this influence. For the reader, however, it makes no difference from what material he learns to value and interpret dreams.
BERCHTESGADEN, Summer 1908
Freud, S. The Interpretation of Dreams. Transl. A. A. Brill. London: Macmillan. 1913.
Created 19 February 2021