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Riviere, J. (1920). Three Notes. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 1:200-202.

(1920). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 1:200-202

Three Notes

Joan Riviere


Patient was a girl of 28, suffering from severe hysteria (with a suspicion of melancholia). She was often sleepless and had anxiety attacks at night. The dream occurred after a year of analysis, during which she had many burglar-dreams, of which she had learnt the symbolic meaning. Patient slept at the time in a room alone on the first floor with a sash window. DREAM:

I was in my room in bed at night and could not sleep. I thought I heard burglars in the garden outside. I became frightened and got up to look out of the window, which was a French window and open. That's all I remember, but there were two girls asleep in the room, or at any rate, two people; one of them was a girl I know.

1.   "A girl I know" was a girl who worked in the same business as herself. On the preceding day this girl had been talking to the patient of her approaching marriage, and had mentioned that she was going to wear as a bride her mother's wedding dress and veil.

2.   Patient could not remember ever sleeping in a room with two people, but, when pressed, she said that as child of 8, she had slept for a few months in the bedroom of her father and stepmother. Although she had had a year of analysis I had never heard this fact before. The father's second marriage took place when she, an only child, was about 7, and when she was 8 she came to live with them from her grandmother's.

I think the "French window" which was open may be a symbolic reference to the fact that before coming to live with her parents, when she was about 6, she was sexually assaulted by a young man, and had always doubted since whether she were virgo

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