Excerpts from Dream Psychology by Sigmund Freud

On Manifest and Latent Dream Content
I regard it, therefore, as my right to
establish this new view by a proper nomenclature. I contrast the dream
which my memory evokes with the dream and other added matter revealed by
analysis: the former I call the dream’s _manifest content_; the latter,
without at first further subdivision, its _latent content_. I arrive at
two new problems hitherto unformulated: (1) What is the psychical
process which has transformed the latent content of the dream into its
manifest content? (2) What is the motive or the motives which have made
such transformation exigent? The process by which the change from latent
to manifest content is executed I name the _dream-work_.

On Types of Dreams
We can, in the first place, distinguish those dreams which have a _meaning_ and are, at
the same time, _intelligible_, which allow us to penetrate into our
psychical life without further ado. Such dreams are numerous; they are
usually short, and, as a general rule, do not seem very noticeable,
because everything remarkable or exciting surprise is absent. Their
occurrence is, moreover, a strong argument against the doctrine which
derives the dream from the isolated activity of certain cortical

A second group is formed by those dreams which are indeed self-coherent
and have a distinct meaning, but appear strange because we are unable to
reconcile their meaning with our mental life. That is the case when we
dream, for instance, that some dear relative has died of plague when we
know of no ground for expecting, apprehending, or assuming anything of
the sort; we can only ask ourself wonderingly: “What brought that into
my head?” To the third group those dreams belong which are void of both
meaning and intelligibility; they are _incoherent, complicated, and
meaningless_. The overwhelming number of our dreams partake of this
character, and this has given rise to the contemptuous attitude towards
dreams and the medical theory of their limited psychical activity. It is
especially in the longer and more complicated dream-plots that signs of
incoherence are seldom missing.

On Infantile dreams
Before leaving these infantile dreams, which are obviously unrealized
desires, we must not fail to mention another chief characteristic of
dreams, one that has been long noticed, and one which stands out most
clearly in this class. I can replace any of these dreams by a phrase
expressing a desire. If the sea trip had only lasted longer; if I were
only washed and dressed; if I had only been allowed to keep the cherries
instead of giving them to my uncle. But the dream gives something more
than the choice, for here the desire is already realized; its
realization is real and actual. The dream presentations consist chiefly,
if not wholly, of scenes and mainly of visual sense images. Hence a kind
of transformation is not entirely absent in this class of dreams, and
this may be fairly designated as the dream work. _An idea merely
existing in the region of possibility is replaced by a vision of its

On Condensation of Dream Content
Through condensation of the dream certain constituent parts of its
content are explicable which are peculiar to the dream life alone, and
which are not found in the waking state. Such are the composite and
mixed persons, the extraordinary mixed figures, creations comparable
with the fantastic animal compositions of Orientals; a moment’s thought
and these are reduced to unity, whilst the fancies of the dream are ever
formed anew in an inexhaustible profusion. Every one knows such images
in his own dreams; manifold are their origins. I can build up a person
by borrowing one feature from one person and one from another, or by
giving to the form of one the name of another in my dream. I can also
visualize one person, but place him in a position which has occurred to
another. There is a meaning in all these cases when different persons
are amalgamated into one substitute. Such cases denote an “and,” a “just
like,” a comparison of the original person from a certain point of view,
a comparison which can be also realized in the dream itself. As a rule,
however, the identity of the blended persons is only discoverable by
analysis, and is only indicated in the dream content by the formation of
the “combined” person.

A great deal of what we have called “dream condensation” can be thus
formulated. Each one of the elements of the dream content is
_overdetermined_ by the matter of the dream thoughts; it is not derived
from one element of these thoughts, but from a whole series. These are
not necessarily interconnected in any way, but may belong to the most
diverse spheres of thought. The dream element truly represents all this
disparate matter in the dream content. Analysis, moreover, discloses
another side of the relationship between dream content and dream
thoughts. Just as one element of the dream leads to associations with
several dream thoughts, so, as a rule, the _one dream thought represents
more than one dream element_. The threads of the association do not
simply converge from the dream thoughts to the dream content, but on the
way they overlap and interweave in every way.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s