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Hegener, W. (2005). Via regia zum Unbewussten: Freud und die Traumforschung im 19. Jahrhundert [The royal road to the unconscious. Freud and 19th-century dream research] By Stefan Goldmann Gießen: Psychosozial-Verlag. 2003. 286 pp.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(1):213-217.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(1):213-217

Via regia zum Unbewussten: Freud und die Traumforschung im 19. Jahrhundert [The royal road to the unconscious. Freud and 19th-century dream research] By Stefan Goldmann Gießen: Psychosozial-Verlag. 2003. 286 pp.

Review by:
Wolfgang Hegener

Few of Freud's texts can have received so little attention or investigation as the 100 or so pages that comprise the first chapter of The interpretation of dreams (1900), which Stefan Goldmann, a literary academic with strong Freud research credentials, considers still provides the best and most comprehensive introduction to 19th-century dream theories. It is immensely difficult to obtain a comprehensive overview of this forgotten tradition because there is no general outline of the field, which points to a further gap in research. What little there is consists in repetitive interpretations that the texts are no longer read in their own right and are given short shrift as precursors of Freud's work. The literature certainly contains no independent scientific or developmental accounts of the various lines of tradition or of the largely forgotten individual dream researchers who preceded Freud. ‘What we lack’, Goldmann concludes, thereby simultaneously defining his ambitious line of investigation, ‘is thus a history of science that would connect the history of theory and its reception with the history of individual scientists’. Whereas Freud explains the problems relating to dreams in thematic and topographical, rather than historical, terms in his text, Goldmann opts for an overview of different viewpoints.

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