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Grimberg, L. (1916). On Somnambulism. Psychoanal. Rev., 3(4):386-390.

(1916). Psychoanalytic Review, 3(4):386-390

On Somnambulism

L. Grimberg

In spite of the importance and interest of this subject few attempts have been made to explain and study somnambulism. Of course, there are a number of works and a multitude of essays upon it, but in all of them there are practically the same conceptions and theories and until lately very little new about it. The French literature especially abounds in such writings, but either we find speculative and philosophical discussions, or merely beautiful and enticing descriptions of the cases. The explanation of the affection is usually put down as a morbid condition in the same class with catalepsy and lethargy, the only distinction being one of degree, the only cause being an abnormal cerebral activity, abnormally excited during sleep.

The German authors kept themselves more along the lines of experimental physiology or psychology but it was not until Dr. Biante's book, Maladies du Sommeil, and until the writings of Loewenfeld, that any attempt was made to give the question the importance it deserves.

However the question was put and answered, it always had injected into it a certain amount of mystery and occultism exploited under various names by different authors.

It is for the reasons stated above that the work of the psychoanalytic school gains in importance. This work appears to be the first to give trial to a rational and logical explanation and at the same time to put the subject upon new foundations. Somnambulism is considered as an expression of a morbid psyche, the individual acting under the power of a psychical element unknown to him and as soon as this element is discovered the morbidity disappears and the individual is free from it. It seems that nothing could be more rational and sound theoretically, for through psychoanalysis we attempt to transform a psychic and unknown element into a harmless conscious element and through that transformation it loses its power and frees the individual from its tentacles.

Upon this conception the psychoanalytic school bases its work. Dr. J.

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