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Low, B. (1920). The Psychology of Dreams: By William S. Walsh, M. D. (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd., London. Pp. 361. Price 12s. 6d).. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 1:480-481.
(1920). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 1:480-481
The Psychology of Dreams: By William S. Walsh, M. D. (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd., London. Pp. 361. Price 12s. 6d).
Review by: Barbara Low
The author describes his book as being written "with the interests of the general reader particularly in mind", and also as designed to be "as practical as possible", which may in part account for a somewhat strange mixture to be found in the work. There is an attempt at scientific explanation (of a very "popular" kind) of the Theory of Dreams, mingled with all kinds of ethical precepts, moral reflection, exhortation, and homely advice. The result is hardly satisfactory, and certainly does not tend to give the reader any clear notion of the many problems relating to dreams with which the book purports to deal. The author's own theory is not easy to grasp: he appears to subscribe in part to Freud's theory of the Unconscious, but objects to so much that is vital in this theory (e. g. the sexual basis in the Unconscious, the dream as wish-fulfilment, the primitive non-moral nature of the Unconscious) that it is impossible to find out his own position, or indeed, if he has any definite standpoint at all. One thing is clear: he imports into the Unconscious all manner of moralities and ethical considerations which certainly have no connection with any psycho-analytical theory.
The book, perhaps, might be of interest to some readers, inasmuch as it ranges over a great many topics—"The Mind in Sleep", "The Material of Dreams", "Dreams as Wishes", "Nightmare", "Day-Dreams", to select a few—touching slightly on each, but it is useless to pretend that it offers anything in the way of serious contribution to these problems, and at times there are statements of great inaccuracy. An illustration of this is to be found in the chapter on "Morality in Dreams", and another in "The Analysis of Dreams". In the latter we are given a most extraordinary account of the process in analytic treatment (pp. 274, 275), of which it can only be said that possibly this is the method by which Dr.
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