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Alexander, F. (1953). The Meaning of Dreams: By Calvin S. Hall. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1953. 244 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 22:438-440.

(1953). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 22:438-440

The Meaning of Dreams: By Calvin S. Hall. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1953. 244 pp.

Review by:
Franz Alexander

According to Hall, dreams reflect the 'dreamer's unconscious self-conception which often does not at all resemble our trumped up and distorted self-portraits' by which we fool ourselves in waking life; dreams mirror the self. This, as every reader knows, is true only of the latent dream content and certainly not of the 'story' the dreamer remembers on awakening (manifest dream content). The manifest dream content is not a true reflection of the self but is a distortion of oneself and one's wishes. The author's confusion comes from not differentiating between latent, unacceptable dream content and the manifest dream. The author apparently does not consider the dream work and seems quite unaware that dream interpretation consists in unmasking the concealment accomplished by the dream work.

Hall studied several thousand dreams of 'normal' people and evidently subjected this material to a careful comparative statistical study. Among his statistical findings is for example: '… men dream more often about male friends and acquaintances than they do about females, while women dream about equally of both sexes' (p. 29). The author's explanation is that 'for men relations with other men are more unsettled than relations with women. Women, on the other hand, have about an equal amount of emotional conflict with members of both sexes' (p. 30).

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