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Stein, M.H. (1984). Rational Versus Anagogic Interpretation: Xenophon's Dream and Others. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 32:529-556.

(1984). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 32:529-556

Rational Versus Anagogic Interpretation: Xenophon's Dream and Others

Martin H. Stein, M.D.


Freud's insistence that "a dream is a (disguised) fulfilment of a (suppressed or repressed) wish" has come under attack repeatedly. This principle, while never widely accepted, was nevertheless expressed, explicitly or otherwise, in the works of Homer, Herodotus, Plato, and other writers of the classical world. A detailed account of a dream of Xenophon's is employed to illustrate the capacity of a psychologically naïve Athenian writer to reject anagogic interpretation in favor of a more soundly based understanding of his own dreams. This is followed with a discussion of "dreams from above," which are most likely to raise this particular issue, one of considerable clinical and theoretical importance.

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