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Niederland, W.G. (1958). Dreams and the Uses of Regression: By Bertram D. Lewin, M.D. Freud Anniversary Lecture Series. The New York Psychoanalytic Institute. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1958. 64 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 27:574-575.
(1958). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 27:574-575
Dreams and the Uses of Regression: By Bertram D. Lewin, M.D. Freud Anniversary Lecture Series. The New York Psychoanalytic Institute. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1958. 64 pp.
Review by: William G. Niederland
This fascinating little book, well-edited and well-organized, contains the seventh of the Freud Anniversary Lectures. These lectures established in 1951 to celebrate the birthday of Sigmund Freud, will be published annually, beginning with the present volume, under the imprint of The New York Psychoanalytic Institute. With this presentation, Bertram D. Lewin joins the list of distinguished authors who have previously delivered Freud Anniversary Lectures (Rudolph M. Loewenstein, Ernst Kris, Phyllis Greenacre, Anna Freud, Lionel Trilling, Ernest Jones) in New York.
After a few opening remarks on the position of dreaminterpretation in the history of science from Heraclitus to Schroedinger, Lewin develops his succinct and extraordinarily stimulating thoughts about dreams, focusing his attention on one of the most unusual dream sequences in recorded literature: Descartes' dream or, rather, three dreams during the night of November 10, 1619. These dreams have been dealt with in psychoanalytic literature before, somewhat cursorily and in an evidently restrained fashion by Freud in his response to a letter addressed to him, and more recently in a paper by Wisdom. Dr. Lewin's concise interpretation undoubtedly is the most challenging attempt not only to penetrate into the deeper meaning of Descartes' nocturnal experience, but also to correlate it to the philosopher's entire lifework and scientific world view. This small volume summarizes, in a sense, the work of one of the great thinkers in the history of philosophy by viewing this philosophy from within, and thus opens new vistas into broad areas, as yet uncharted, of human creativity and intellectual pursuit.
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