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Kanzer, M. (1988). Early Reviews of the Interpretation of Dreams. Psychoanal. St. Child, 43:33-48.

(1988). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 43:33-48

Early Reviews of the Interpretation of Dreams

Mark Kanzer, M.D.


The analytic tradition holds that Freud's basic volume, The Interpretation of Dreams, was ignored or rejected by the earliest reviewers. Later commentators found, on the contrary, that the reception was remarkably favorable. My own research into the subject, drawing upon these reviewers at greater length than is generally available, tends to substantiate more recent historians.

The question is raised as to why Freud was so prone to feel himself ignored and rejected. Perhaps the most fundamental was his realization some years later, as his own self-analysis continued, that the dream book represented a working through of guilt feelings that followed the death of his father. I have explored the relevance here of an angry reaction by the older man, Jacob Freud, to his son, the future dream interpreter (Joseph) declaring that he would never amount to anything, which constituted a superego injunction, probably instigated by an interrupted primal scene. The dream book, as a supreme manifestation of the undying ambition to excel the father, drew rebukes from expectations of rejection by the reviewers.

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