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Lewin, B.D. (1948). Inferences from the Dream Screen. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 29:224-231.

(1948). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 29:224-231

Inferences from the Dream Screen

Bertram D. Lewin, M.D.

In a previous communication (1946), a special structure, the dream screen, was distinguished from the rest of the dream and defined as the blank background upon which the dream picture appears to be projected. The term was suggested by the motion pictures; because, like its analogue in the cinema, the dream screen is either not noted by the dreaming spectator, or it is ignored due to the interest in the pictures and action that appear on it. However, under certain circumstances, the screen plays a rôle of its own and becomes perceptible. Then it enters to alter what is called the form of the dream.

As we know from Freud's discussion (1933a), peculiarities in the manifest form are apt to have their origin in the latent content. The dream screen is no exception to this rule. It has a definite meaning in itself, and in view of its assumed ubiquity it is not surprising that the meaning should be general. The dream screen represents the idea of 'sleep'; it is the element of the dream that betokens the fulfilment of the cardinal wish to sleep, which Freud considered responsible for all dreaming. Also, it represents the maternal breast, usually flattened out, as the infant might perceive it while falling asleep. It appears to be the equivalent or the continuation, in sleep, of the breast hallucinated in certain predormescent states, occasionally observed in adults (Isakower, 1938).

In M. J. Eisler's view (1922), each falling asleep psychologically repeats the events that take place in the baby when it falls asleep after nursing.

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