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Lussheimer, P. (1947). Landmarks in the Studies of Dream-Interpretation during the past Half Century. Am. J. Psychoanal., 7(1):36-44.

(1947). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 7(1):36-44

Landmarks in the Studies of Dream-Interpretation during the past Half Century

Paul Lussheimer

PSYCHOLOGICAL interest in dreams dates back to the times of the classical antiquity. The approach to the understanding of the meaning of dreams is best illustrated in a study of Aristotle. During dreams, according to his opinion, faint stimuli of waking life appear reinforced and the physician in cognizance of this phenomenon may be able to interpret them as premonitors of pathological changes. The reappearance in dreams of affects and ideas predominating in waking life is like the thawing of frogs frozen in a crust of ice.

During the middle ages and later up to the end of the 18th Century, attention was paid to causation of dreams and the main approach was a somatological rather than a psychological one. This trend continued through the 19th and even into the 20th Century; it finds its climax in Wilhelm Wundt's statement that “dream images are initiated to the largest extent by sensory impressions” and are “predominantly fantastic illusions and probably to a lesser degree real memory images raised to the intensity of hallucinations.” (32)

The student in the field of dreams who wants to dig deeper into the variety of ideas expressed from ancient days up to our time finds most valuable material in R. L. Woods' recently-published anthology The World of Dreams. (31)

By the end of the 18th century the opinion was voiced for the first time that the dream must be more than a reaction to real memory images and to sensory impressions. There were widely different opinions, as Freud shows in his historical survey.

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