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Palombo, S.R. (1988). Day Residue and Screen Memory in Freud's Dream of the Botanical Monograph. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 36:881-904.

(1988). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 36:881-904

Day Residue and Screen Memory in Freud's Dream of the Botanical Monograph

Stanley R. Palombo, M.D.


Freud's theory of dream construction allowed the censorship to intervene only when a repressed infantile wish emerged from the unconscious. In his (1899) paper on screen memories, however, he proposed a mechanism for the defensive displacement of current events as they are sorted for introduction into permanent memory. I suggest that Freud was actually describing the conflictual process through which the day residue of the dream is formed. Day residue and screen memory are closely related as elements of the dreamer's present and past experience displaced from his more central instinctual concerns.

Freud's dream of the botanical monograph clearly illustrates this relation. Substituted day residues were matched in the dream with relatively innocuous memories of past events of similar cognitive and affective significance. By retracing the substitutions, one can see how a current conflict over Fliess's role in the writing of the dream book recapitulated a series of Freud's earlier conflicts concerning his father and the power of books.

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