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"The interpretation of dreams is the via regia to a knowledge of the unconscious element in our physical life."--Sigmund Freud Freud's discovery that the dream is the means by which the unconscious can be explored is undoubtedly the most revolutionary step forward in the entire history of psychology. Dreams, according to his theory, represent the hidden fulfillment of our unconscious wishes. Through them the inhibitions are released and tensions relaxed. The ability to interpret these manifestations of conflict in the human psyche opened a vast new realm of investigation, particularly invaluable in the treatment of neuroses. By his pioneer investigations into the world of dreams, Sigmund Freud created a transformation in our generation's thinking.
The Interpretation of Dreams is offered here in the translation by Dr. A. A. Brill, who for almost forty years was the translator and standard-bearer of Freudian theories in America.
Sigmund Freud was born in 1856 in Moravia, Austrian Empire (now the Czech Republic). Between the ages of four and eighty-two his home was in Vienna; in 1938 Hitler's invasion of Austria forced him to seek asylum in London, where he died in the following year.His career began with several years of brilliant work on the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. He was almost thirty when, after a period of study under Charcot in Paris, his interests first turned to psychology, and another ten years of clinical work in Vienna (at first in collaboration with Breuer, an older colleague) saw the birth of his creation, psychoanalysis. This began simply as a method of treating neurotic patients by investigating their minds, but it quickly grew into an accumulation of knowledge about the workings of the mind in general, whether sick or healthy. Freud was thus able to demonstrate the normal development of the sexual instinct in childhood and, largely on the basis of an examination of dreams, arrived at his fundamental discovery of the unconscious forces that influence our everyday thoughts and actions. Freud's life was uneventful, but his ideas have shaped not only many specialist disciplines, but the whole intellectual climate of the last half century.