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(1973). Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York. Psychoanal Q., 42:170-171.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:170-171

Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York

November 15, 1971. SYMBOLS IN SHADOWS: A STUDY OF SHADOWS IN DREAMS. Charles A. Sarnoff, M.D.

The psychoanalytic literature is devoid of clinical studies of shadows in dreams and the author attempts to elucidate this lack. Shadows should make excellent symbols. They share a number of characteristics with human forms; they have many characteristics (variable size, insubstantiality, ominousness), which could be used to represent latent dream content. Symbolic representation is usually established through such links of similarity; for instance, literature, myths, and superstitions abound in such shadow symbols. However, shadows rarely appear as dream symbols, and when they do, they often fail to cover latent meaning. The dream work finds them ineffective in masking latent content and probably displaces further to a more effective symbol. Direct visual representations of shadows do not help preserve sleep.

In literature, shadows can be effectively used as a verbal symbol. In art and in dreams, a shadow as protagonist invites the observer (the art viewer or the dreamer) to project aggressive and ominous meanings onto the shadow. As the totipotency for representation implicit in the visual imagery of the shadow defeats the goals of psychoanalytic symbol formation, shadows are rare in dreams.

Article Citation [Who Cited This?]

(1973). Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York. Psychoanal. Q., 42:170-171

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