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Schmukler, A.G. (1989). American Imago. XLIII, 1986: The Specimen Dream as a Childhood Trauma. Timoth Anderson. Pp. 171-190.. Psychoanal Q., 58:174-175.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago. XLIII, 1986: The Specimen Dream as a Childhood Trauma. Timoth Anderson. Pp. 171-190.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:174-175

American Imago. XLIII, 1986: The Specimen Dream as a Childhood Trauma. Timoth Anderson. Pp. 171-190.

Anita G. Schmukler

Freud used the Irma dream to demonstrate his theory that a dream fulfills a wish. Anderson suggests that those who have engaged in further explication of the dream have avoided significant attention to "latent gaps" which Freud did not explore in

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his paper. At the time of the "specimen dream," Freud was confronted with substantial conflict—both internal and external. His relation with his mentor, Breuer, was strained, the publication of Studies on Hysteria did not meet immediate acceptance, he was concerned with a "difficult patient," Emma, and a close friend had died from cocaine injections. Anderson observes that little attention has been given to relating the dream to known fantasies and events of Freud's childhood. He then draws our attention to Hartman's comment that "Freud's father fell terminally ill during the very month of the dream." Hartman further reminded us that "linking the dream to early sexuality is more likely to yield the uninterpreted meaning of the dream." Freud expressed feelings of depression in letters written during the spring and early summer of 1895, the year in which the dream occurred. Freud's feelings of sadness, despair, and increasing dependence of Fliess are found in letters written during several months preceding the occurrence of the specimen dream. On the day of the dream he wrote to Fliess, "Daiemonie (Demon), why don't you write? How are you? Don't you care at all any more about what I am doing?" Anderson suggests that the Irma dream "may represent the search for a "lost and loved object from childhood," and he tries to demonstrate this by examining parallels between the dream and Freud's screen memory of an empty cupboard. Anderson views his interpretation as "an addition to, rather than competing with" the literature which has accumulated on the Irma dream.

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Article Citation

Schmukler, A.G. (1989). American Imago. XLIII, 1986. Psychoanal. Q., 58:174-175

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