Excerpts from Must Read Books & Articles on
Mental Health Topics
Books, Part XXXVI
Freud and His Followers
Paul Roazen (1975)
The Women: Ruth Mack Brunswick
After Otto Rank, Freud never "adopted" another son. Although there were no women on his 1924 list of pupils who had remained loyal to him, from that time on Freud's female pupils stand out prominently. Freud found women less difficult and competitive. His female students constitute, in fact, a long line of adopted daughters: Mira Oberholzer, Eugenia Sokolnicka (Andre Gide's Polish analyst, whom he put into his novel The Counterfeiters and who, though analyzed by Freud, committed suicide by gas in 1934), Hermine von Hug-Hellmuth, Helene Deutsch, Marie Bonaparte, Ruth Mack Brunswick, Jeanne Lampl-de Groot, and the women who came to him primarily through their friendship with Anna Freud--Dorothy Burlingham, Eva Rosenfeld, Anny Katan, and Marianne Kris.
Freud is not the only famous man who, aging and in ill health, attracted a flock of admiring women; Albert Schweitzer, whom Freud regarded highly, did likewise. Freud did not actively seek adulation from these women, nor did he specifically choose his admirers. By and large he passively accepted women as members of the inner circle around him, though the existence of what resembled a royal court did not shock him. Alongside Freud's intense preoccupation with his work and his aggressiveness toward the outside world, went a passive surrender, not to one woman, but to a whole group of them. He did not want to worry about the nuisances of daily life. In his last years these women formed what some called a "camarilla" around him. They shielded him from visitors, arranged his vacations, and watched over his health. Shy and retiring with women, Freud ended his life surrounded by them; it is perhaps worth remembering that as a child he had five sisters.
These women went on to establish themselves in a profession markedly receptive to feminine talents. Although Ruth Mack Brunswick's place in Freud's life has not yet been adequately recognized, her career illuminates the last decade and a half of Freud's old age. By 1930 Ruth Mack Brunswick (1897-1946) was unquestionably Freud's favorite in Vienna.' Her access to him was unique: she came to dinner at his house, would visit him in summers, and was on good terms with his children. She was really a member of Freud's personal family. Loved and also jealously considered a rival by Freud's daughter Anna, Ruth Brunswick was the most important of the last of Freud's adopted daughters?
She also played a role in mediating between the American analysts and Freud's inner circle in Vienna. An American as well as a confidante of Freud's, simultaneously a member of the New York and Vienna Societies, she was in an excellent position to smooth over the natural disharmonies between these two very different worlds. In Freud's private practice, Ruth Brunswick was the channel through which wealthy Americans came to Freud; and in general she looked after the American analytic patients in Vienna.
Although to an outsider it might not always be clear who was "in" and who was not, to those who had been in communication with Freud for some time Ruth Brunswick's stature was well known. Her daughter was also a favorite of Freud and his wife. In his biography Jones did not mention Ruth Brunswick's position, possibly out of jealousy or perhaps out of tact. Unknown to him, she was one of the female recipients of Freud's much-cherished ring. According to Jones, only his wife Katherine, Freud's daughter Anna, Lou AndreasSalome, and Marie Bonaparte received rings. In fact, Gisela Ferenczi, Jeanne Lampl-de Groot, Ruth Mack Brunswick, Edith Jackson, Henny Freud, and Eva Rosenfeld were among the women to whom Freud gave rings.
Ruth Brunswick had charm and intelligence, and, as a prototypical American, few inhibitions; she was demonstrative and explosive, outgoing, effusive, and warm. She was also an elegant person with cultivated manners, as well as vivacious and possessed of a lively intellect. As a woman, she was neither especially attractive nor unattractive to Freud. As with his sister-in-law Minna, Freud liked to use women as a screen for his ideas; unlike Minna, however, Ruth tended to be domineering and was not a peaceful motherly type satisfied with simply understanding Freud's ideas. She was literate and verbal, well read, and one of the few Americans not stigmatized as an American in Freud's eyes.
Ruth Brunswick had a courageous mind, and this may have been the crux of the matter for Freud. She was not intellectually restricted; she dared to take risks. She could have one idea today and change her mind tomorrow. Few people brought that same intellectual elasticity to Freud. She was proud of her relationship with him, and it was a pleasure for them both.
Ruth Brunswick--then Ruth Blumgart--was twenty-five years old when she came to Freud, and she entered his world with enthusiasm and warmth. Freud became the ideal person for her, scientific mentor as well as father substitute. Her father, Judge Julian Mack, was a distinguished jurist and a well-known Jewish philanthropist. But she had an uncertain relationship with him, and Freud seemed the perfect solution. She knew that, after Frink's demise, he regarded her as his connection to the Americans, and that he trusted her to see that his work was correctly interpreted in American circles.
For a long time Ruth Brunswick was much closer to Freud than his own daughter Anna 4 He gave Ruth a few pages of the manuscript of the book on Woodrow Wilson, but Anna did not see any of the volume until 1965. As he showered honors upon Ruth and granted her intimacies, she aroused the jealousy of everyone less favored. Some of her male colleagues considered her obnoxious and aggressive.
Ruth Brunswick played a special part in supervising Freud's health. It was she who, through her father's influence on the Board of Overseers at Harvard, arranged in 1931 for a professor of medicine at Harvard to make a special prosthesis for Freud's mouth. She and Marie Bonaparte paid the expensive bill, which Freud ended up resenting; the new prosthesis was not a success, and Freud was touchy about being -beholden to anyone financially. Ruth hovered over Freud in his illness and even interfered with his diet.
Ruth had been married to Hermann Blumgart when she first came to Vienna in 1922. Blumgart had been a student of E. B. Holt's at Harvard Medical School, who not only gave one of the first courses on Freud but also wrote an early textbook on psychoanalysis. A graduate of Radcliffe College, Ruth went to medical school at Tufts. Through Hermann's brother Leonard, an analyst who had already been to Vienna for a short analysis with Freud, Ruth made arrangements to go there herself. Her marriage was evidently already in trouble. But she had completed her psychiatric residency, and she went to Vienna not only for help with her personal problems but also for training. Blumgart traveled to Vienna in an effort to bring her back. He was determined to remain a physician, and she wanted to become an analyst. Hermann Blumgart spoke to Freud in an effort to hold the marriage together, but to no avail. So Blumgart left his wife there and returned to America, where, as an expert in heart diseases, he pursued an outstanding career.
Ruth already had another man in mind for a husband, whom Freud too preferred for her: Mark Brunswick was five years younger than she and very much in love with her. He had made up his mind to marry her when as a teen-ager he attended her wedding. Hermann Blumgart was a first cousin of Mark Brunswick's mother. This group of Americans was interrelated by complicated ties: Mark Brunswick's mother later married Judge Mack in the last years of his life.
Ruth arranged for Mark, in addition to herself, to be analyzed by Freud. In 1924, at the age of twenty-two, Mark entered Freud's circle. Freud was then sixty-eight; Mark remembered Freud's remarking at their first interview, "Is it possible for anyone to be so young?" Mark had little formal education; a year at Exeter Academy was the last schooling he ever had. Shy and timid, musically a prodigy and yet emotionally undeveloped, he ultimately became a professor of music and chairman of his department at the City College of New York from 1946 to 1965. He was an open, imaginative, and artistic person, and Freud took to him right away. Mark knew nothing about science or medicine, and cared only for composing and his musical friends in Vienna. Freud had taken him into analysis as a prospective son-in-law so to speak; Ruth and Mark were already in love, and Freud set out to patch up Mark so he could marry Ruth.
Their marriage in 1928 was an event in Freud's life, for he rarely went out publicly in those days. The wedding was held in the town hall, with Freud as one of the witnesses. The second witness at the ceremony was Oskar Rie, the pediatrician of Freud's grandchildren and later of Ruth and Mark's daughter. (This child was named after Mathilda Hollitscher, Freud's eldest daughter, who was a close personal friend of Mark and Ruth's.) Rie's daughter, Marianne Kris, was Ruth's best friend. The Brunswicks' marriage papers had been drawn up by Freud's son Martin, a lawyer. Also present at the town hall for the ceremony were Mark's brother David (who was in analysis with Freud) and his youngest sister (who was in analysis with Nunberg).
Freud had taken Ruth and Mark into analysis simultaneously, and Mark's brother David as well. Between the three of them they made up 6o per cent of Freud's analytic time and income. (In those days Freud regularly carried about five analytic cases.) Today analysts do not, however, like to treat a couple, married or not, and it would be contraindicated by the "rules"; an analyst needs to be able to identify with his patient, and this is made more difficult in treating such closely linked people. But Freud would violate normal analytic procedures in the spirit of "the Rabbi may"--for the Rabbi special exemptions were permitted.
Mark Brunswick saw much of Freud in his family surroundings, since Ruth and he often visited the Freuds socially. Mark later felt that this personal contact did him a lot of good, but also reinforced certain pathological traits. Freud lived in two worlds and was self-protective; he tended to be unpsychological away from his practice. In his family circle Freud was pleasant and unguarded; he once teased his son-in-law, Mathilda's husband, for being s0 flirtatious with Ruth, when Ruth was Freud's patient at the time.
But Mark would not have dared to communicate to Freud his observations about the disparity between Freud's home and office behavior, or rather, at the time it never occurred to him to say he would not have dared to do so. Before going to Vienna, Mark had read and admired Freud's Totem and Taboo, but although he was interested in anthropology he could not develop an interest in medicine. He never considered becoming an analyst himself. He went only once or twice to meetings of the Vienna Society, and then he was shocked at the words that were used in public with both sexes present.
Mark also was acquainted with William Bullitt, then in analysis with Freud, and Marie Bonaparte, who, like Ruth, was intermittently in and out of analysis with Freud over many years; in the 1930's he also knew Edith Jackson, another patient 0f Freud's. Until the 1930's Freud's patients paid him twenty dollars an hour; then, of their own accord, they decided to raise their payments to twenty-five dollars.
The intimacy of these personal interrelations did not help Mark therapeutically; nor did Freud's indiscretions. For example, after David had been with Freud for some weeks, Freud complained to Mark: "What have you and Ruth done to me! Your brother is the most boring person!" In different ways both Mark and David were intimidated by Freud. David thought that Freud had been prejudiced against him by Mark and Ruth; apparently expecting intellectualized resistances from David, on the second day of his analysis Freud told David to speak in German and to enroll in medical school. David was then a psychologist by training who expected to go into business; he had dropped out of medical school in the United States, and he later did the same in Vienna. Freud assumed that, as an American, David would need a medical degree to qualify as an analyst in the United States. When David began practicing in America, Freud wrote him: "that you have become an analyst is the right punishment for you." It was one of Freud's jokes, but, to David, it also expressed Freud's attitude toward him.
The young Mark Brunswick had come to Freud with severe character disorders. In retrospect Mark believed that if Freud had refused to take him into analysis on the grounds that Ruth was already his patient, it would have been traumatic for him but it might have been better in the long run. (Afterward David too felt that Freud should not have taken him into analysis.) As it was, in September 1924, Mark began his first analysis with Freud, and it continued for three and a half years. At that point Freud pronounced him cured; Mark terminated the analysis and married Ruth. According to Mark, he had not been cured of a single symptom, although he did have better feelings toward his father. Mark adored Freud, although he developed some negative feelings toward him later on. Nevertheless, he had never found anything remotely petty in Freud; he felt that Freud's mistakes had stemmed from good will and had been sins of outgoingness.
Ruth and Mark left Vienna in June 1928 for the United States, where their baby was born; they returned to Europe in 1929 and stayed in Vienna until 1938. Around the end of 1933 or early 1934, Mark told Freud that he still had all his symptoms, but that in some sense he was now worse off, since he was trying to live up to an adult situation. Freud was disturbed at the news, and he took Mark back into analysis.
During his first analysis, when Mark had been a young man in love with a married woman, Freud and Ruth had discussed his case in complete detail. Ruth became almost a mother to Mark. This time, however, Freud explained to Mark that Ruth must not know about his analysis in the same way, and that he had made a serious mistake in discussing Mark's analysis with her before. Freud was natural and open in confessing his earlier error. (With other patients--such as David--he was less easygoing.)
Mark soon fell in love with a young girl. He asked Freud whether it was proper to violate his marriage vow, and Freud said yes. Ruth and Mark were divorced in 1937, but remarried within six months, though Freud was displeased with them for doing so. Mark made considerable progress in his treatment until 1938. By then none of his musical friends were still in Vienna. He had left Vienna in October 1937 and come back in December; he finally departed for good at the end of January 1938. Freud started writing Mark's case history the same month he left Vienna, but it was unfinished at Freud's death. (Some years later Mark underwent another analysis in New York, which he thought was far more successful than the ones with Freud.)
Tensions had already arisen between Freud and Mark, mainly over politics. Both Ruth and Mark were disappointed in Freud when the Socialists in Vienna were violently put down in 1934• Politically, Freud seemed to have completely reversed his position, and argued in favor of supporting Dollfuss, although his was an authoritarian regime. Freud was a dying man, and wanted at all costs to remain in Vienna. In February 1934 Mark and Freud agreed to part for a while, in view of Mark's bitterness over Freud's political attitude. Austria then had an anti-intellectual government, representing the social forces that had failed to accord Freud recognition, and the Socialists were Freud's friends. But Freud could not handle the issue in the analysis, perhaps because of a guilty conscience.
Time and again Mark and Ruth urged him to leave Vienna, but Freud resented this pressure, as he thought their fears were groundless. As early as 1932 he wrote in a letter: "That there is a risk of personal danger [in staying], as Ruth and Mark are never tired of telling me, I can hardly believe. I am pretty well unknown in Austria; the best informed only know that any ill-treatment of me would provoke a great stir abroad." The others in the analytic community in Vienna had difficulties in leaving because they often had to cross Freud to do so, and it seemed to them that they would be deserting a sinking ship.
By the time the Nazis took over Austria, Ruth had made her mark in analysis, largely as a result of Freud's patronage. For he had made one great personal gift to her--the referral of the Wolf-Man, his former patient. In doing so, Freud paid her the highest compliment. In her treatment of the case, however, she overlooked her own transference feelings for the Wolf-Man; since Ruth thought that "for this patient analysis was Freud," she considered that as a therapist "my own role was almost negligible; I acted purely as mediator between the patient and Freud.""'
For Ruth, the case and the article she wrote about it constituted a tremendous lift in her self-esteem. She wrote the article in close collaboration with Freud, though one hopes that Freud would not endorse the kind of tautology she ended her account with: the Wolf-Man's future health, she wrote, would be "in large measure dependent on the degree of sublimation of which he proves capable." In Freud's presence she had found herself. Without Freud, few of his followers would be of any importance in the history of ideas. Freud inspired and encouraged more from them than they had ever accomplished before.
Freud had discerned a natural psychological ability in Ruth Brunswick. She had an intuitive talent for "smelling" the unconscious. In her technique as an analyst she was always unconventional; within orthodox limits, she was a somewhat active analyst, although considering that Freud had been her analyst it is perhaps surprising that she was not more active than she was. Like Freud, she was more interested in the science of psychoanalysis than in therapy for its own sake. Most of her patients were Dutch, probably because Freud had initially sent her Dutch patients. (Analysis was recognized in Holland very early; it has flourished there, perhaps because the Netherlands is basically a middle-class country. By the I960's it was the only nation in which analysts complained of having too many students in analytic training.)
The police gave Ruth trouble at one point, since her visa did not permit her to work. Martin Freud tendentiously explained to the authorities that she was working, under supervision, merely for training purposes. In Vienna the Brunswicks had a car and big house with servants. In the eyes of the rest of the analytic community, they lived like millionaires.
Freud gave to Ruth unstintingly, ideas as well as patients; unlike some of his earlier male pupils, Ruth was never a rival. Freud even admired her interest in psychotics. She gave a seminar on psychosis for her colleagues in the Vienna Society; it was not a part of the regular curriculum of the Institute, but rather a "graduate" seminar, and Marie Bonaparte and Paul Federn, among others, attended sessions at her house in Vienna. One might wonder how Freud could have encouraged her work and remained silent about Federn's. It is true that Federn was confused in his ideas; but even if Freud doubted whether the treatment of psychoses was a legitimate application of psychoanalysis, his affection for Ruth won out.
Ruth Brunswick had the intellectual ability to incorporate her findings within Freud's framework. She had a talent for manipulating Freud's theoretical concepts, and she could use them to set forth new ideas of her own. She stressed the importance 0f the mother in the development of the
child, yet so tactfully that it did not seem to Freud to be a revolt against his basic ideas. One of the central trends in analysis since Freud's death has been a concern for cases in which "the etiology of ... illness goes back behind the Oedipus complex, and involves a distortion at the time of absolute dependence." As Jung had long ago pointed out, Freud had originally been oblivious of the non-oedipal role of the mother-child tie. But Ruth expressed her findings with absolute discretion.
Whereas Rank had built a rival theory around his innovation of emphasizing the importance of non-oedipal factors, Ruth stressed that there were "pre-oedipal" phases of child development. As she cautiously put it, "to the best of my knowledge the term pre-oedipal was first used by Freud
in 1931 ... and by this author in 1929...." She limited herself originally to the psychology of women, but her theories would in future years have implications for men as well. By "pre-oedipal" Ruth meant that an early emotional relationship preceded the triangular conflict in which the little girl longs for the love of father and feels rivalrous toward mother. And this earlier "position," which comes before the Oedipus complex, involves love and identification of the little girl with the mother. This is a far more archaic and primitive emotional involvement than the oedipal, and Ruth hypothesized that it lay at the root of the psychotic problems she was studying.
Ruth Brunswick had succeeded in incorporating ignored phenomena, which Freud's defecting pupils had stressed, within his libido theory; and so he paid high tribute to her work. By casting her theory originally in terms of the psychology of women (where Freud admitted he had not been able to get very far) and by retaining the importance of the Oedipus constellation itself (following Freud's notion that it had a "pre-history"), she was able to re-emphasize the importance of Freud's concepts and at the same time extend them.
As early as 1925, Freud had launched this shift in psychoanalytic thinking by postulating that the existence of a phase of emotional life prior to the oedipal complex meant that, in girls, "the Oedipus complex is a secondary formation." The more Ruth's work fleshed out the theory of pre-oedipal factors, the more important the Oedipus complex seemed to become, for it now had a developmental history of its own. "Our insight," Freud wrote in 1931, "into this early, pre-Oedipus phase in girls comes to us as a surprise, like the discovery, in another field, of the MinoanMycenean civilization behind the civilization of Greece."
Freud acknowledged Ruth Brunswick's work on pre-oedipal patterns in women; she "was studying these problems at the same time as I was. ..." After her death Nunberg claimed that in "her exceedingly important paper on The Preoedipal Phase of Libido Development . . . she asserted that she could not exactly say which were Freud's ideas and which were her own";" although this admission cannot be found in Ruth's paper, Nunberg may well have heard her make such a remark, for it is consistent with her intimate collaboration with Freud. Freud conceded that women analysts had been able to discover this earlier attachment to the mother that he himself had not been able to make out "because the women who were in analysis with me were able to cling to the very attachment to the father in which they had taken refuge from the early phase that was in question." Yet Freud still maintained that "the phase of exclusive attachment to the mother, which may be called the pre-Oedipus phase, possesses a far greater importance in women than it can have in men." A preoedipal fixation in a woman, it was believed, would lead to a lack of libido toward men, whereas a pre-oedipal tie in a man would mean a passive attachment to the father. In this area Freud acknowledged Ruth's priority; she was "the first," he wrote in 1932, "to describe a case of neurosis which went back to a fixation to the pre-Oedipus stage and had never reached the Oedipus situation at all."
Ruth Brunswick worked hard as a clinician and also participated in the politics of the psychoanalytic movement on both sides of the Atlantic. Jones claimed that she sided with Zilboorg against Brill; and Brill thought she had worked against Schilder, until he resigned from the New York Psychoanalytic Society. In Vienna, Ruth was more or less continuously in analysis with Freud, whenever he could fit her in. Her most famous American student was Karl Menninger; she also analyzed Robert Fliess, the son of Freud's former friend.
Despite her scientific productivity and her excellent functioning as an analyst, her health was troubled. She tended to convert emotional problems into somatic symptoms, and her doctors could not diagnose her illnesses as unequivocably organic. At one point they found too much arsenic in her blood; it was not clear whether she had been poisoned by the cook or by the wallpaper, but she had her rooms repapered. (James Jackson Putnam had earlier incriminated wallpaper as a common agent in arsenic poisoning.)
Ruth used morphine to cope with the terrible pain of what she thought were gall-bladder attacks. Doctors came and went, and it was known to a few in Freud's inner circle that she seemed to have mysterious illnesses. She underwent surgery, which was unsuccessful, perhaps because she had more than gall-bladder trouble. Max Schur, her doctor, thought she did not have gall stones, but others disagreed. (Ruth had analyzed both Schur and his wife, thereby reproducing her and Mark's situation with Freud.) She also suffered from neuritis. As a doctor she had been able to prescribe for herself--she took sleeping pills and pain killers--and by 1933-34 she had gradually slipped into a serious drug situation. Unhappy and plagued with organic troubles, by 1937 or so she had become an addict. In those days most addictions derived from using drugs for medicinal purposes.
For a time she was weaned from her dependency on drugs. On Freud's advice, she was once, while still in analysis, hospitalized in an effort to overcome her addiction. But Ruth was addicted not only to drugs; as a personality she was clinging and sticky, which may partly explain why in the end Freud became so rejecting toward her. Her life ended tragically; try as she might, she was unable to rise above a sickness which analysts described as pre-oedipal in character.
In Vienna, while Freud was still alive, she did not seem outwardly disturbed or pathological. She functioned effectively until the last part of her life, when she grew heavily dependent on drugs. Up to her sudden death early in 1946, she was regarded as a leading psychoanalyst, an intimate favorite of Freud's in the last years of his life.
Ruth's private misery is important because of her close involvement with Freud. Given Freud's personality, a drug addiction would be especially intolerable to him. In his dying days, despite the pain connected with his cancer, Freud was reluctant even to take aspirin. To use sedation to deaden the pain, to muddle his mind, and--worse still--to allow himself to become dependent in such a way, was unacceptable. He was proud of being able to overcome himself. For Ruth to become dependent on drugs, and finally addicted and enslaved, was a deadly affront to Freud's intolerance. He himself never resolved his own nicotine addiction, although for years he struggled against what he called "my habit or vice." (Curiously enough, Freud did not trace this smoking problem to a pre-oedipal tie to his mother, but even as late as 1929 referred to an identification with his father as a "heavy smoker.") Freud recognized Ruth's addiction as an illness to be understood and treated rather than condemned, yet he found such problems distasteful. Ruth could not have invented her addiction out of unconscious defiance toward Freud, in order to express her ambivalence; she had had something of this problem all along. Yet, to Freud, any addictive problem would be particularly bad, and it was one of the main constituents in his final disappointment in her.
When Ruth first came to Vienna in 1922, training amounted to not much more than being analyzed, ideally by Freud himself. A good deal of make-believe surrounds the early figures in psychoanalysis. From a contemporary point of view, training in those days may seem to be merely a
gesture; it has been said that most of Freud's "first adherents had only a purely intellectual experience of analysis and ... when they had been analyzed their treatment had been too short and too superficial to produce any lasting result." It has been suggested that their problems would have been fewer if only they had been adequately analyzed.
In Ruth's case, however, her analysis with Freud stretched on and on, extending, with some interruptions, from 1922 to 1938. Such a long analysis was in itself an addiction, reminiscent of what Freud had earlier feared would happen in the use of hypnotic technique. Freud's treatment of Ruth helped induce the very dependency which it should have been the task of analysis to dissolve. The main feature of Ruth's sad illness is not that so much analysis with Freud did not protect her from a debilitating disorder, but that the more Freud treated her the closer they became and the less she was helped to overcome her difficulties with dependence.
Freud liked working with Ruth too much; his feelings for her became an interference in her efforts to rise above her troubles. She enjoyed being dependent on him, which should have been treated as a problem and not indulged as a pleasure." Probably Freud should have sent her to someone else."" Ruth would have gone to another analyst, and when she returned to America she finally went to Nunberg just before she died. But it was not beyond Freud to have wanted to keep Ruth for himself; their mutual fondness and intellectual exchanges kept them together.
Genius can have a seductive power. Freud was irresistible to many people, even though he might not do anything intentionally to arouse adulation. Freud disliked infatuations, yet he aroused them to an extraordinary degree. Freud had set out to liberate, but sometimes he enslaved. The tenderhearted patients, with the weakest self-defenses, were those who succumbed in contact with Freud. If one cannot agree with an analyst who maintained that Freud had "destroyed" Ruth, it is because she herself lacked the essential narcissism which would have enabled her to withdraw self-protectively from Freud.
As one friend colorfully put it, Ruth always made a big tum-tum over the Professor. Like others, she expected more from Freud than any human being could provide. But then Freud had played a central role in her life and had called forth an enormous transference. Freud first treated Ruth in too close a way, and then tried to make the relationship more distant. Along with her dependency, Ruth tended to be domineering and dictatorial, and Mark Brunswick later remembered observing a conversation between Ruth and Freud on their porch in which she was laying down the law; Mark could not hear what was being said but he saw Freud's face freeze.
Freud's disappointment in Ruth developed as he grew sicker and more frail, and as she became more demanding and jealous of Anna Freud's role in caring for her father. Out of envy, Ruth behaved aggressively. Although some who were intimately acquainted with both Freud and Ruth did not know it, Freud became disillusioned with her. Despite years of analysis with him, she was more addicted than ever. By 1937, when his illness had gotten worse, Freud had more trouble controlling his irritability with her. From the outside, however, she still seemed to be one of his closest favorites.
As Freud's health deteriorated so did their relationship. She visited him in London in the summer of 1938, and was ecstatic about what she had gained from her renewed analysis. But by the winter of 1939, the last in Freud's life, he kept putting her off. She wanted to see him again, but he did not want her to come and watch him die. He reproached her with what he thought of as the "eternal feminine" need to see her father die; his idea that too much concern might be concealing an opposite feeling was perfectly valid, but all of his problems were exacerbated and he was bitter. By January 1939 he was not himself, and he began to act strangely toward her; though disappointed in both Mark and Ruth, if his health had been better he would not have expressed himself as he did. For his seventieth birthday Mark had given him the first volume of the Cambridge ancient history series, and since they discussed archaeology together, as each of the subsequent volumes was published Mark presented Freud with a copy; but when the last volume appeared in 1938, Freud ordered it for himself and then wanted to know who should pay. Areas of his personality were being restricted by his pain and his awareness of the approach of death. He once said of Ruth's daughter, whom he had adored, "I think I've heard of her."
Ruth had not gone to London when Freud emigrated from Vienna. Her father was ill in America, and Mark frequently telephoned her across the Atlantic; his mother was staying in Vienna with Ruth and their daughter. As Ruth's father's eyesight and memory had been affected by his illness, he needed his only daughter. And the Nazis were about to move into Austria. Freud had others to take care of him. Very reluctantly she went back to the United States.
Away from Vienna, however, Ruth gradually went to pieces. Given her tendency to hypochondria, one can only wonder if her illnesses had not, like those of the Wolf-Man in the 1920's, been exacerbated by an unresolved transference to Freud. She had horrible pains in her eyes, and prescribed drugs for herself. Despite her problems Freud had sent her patients over the years, and other analysts continued to do so; apparently there was no overt decline in her ability to analyze until almost the end. She obtained affidavits for all her close friends in Vienna, so that they could go straight to America if they chose to.
When Ruth returned to New York from her last trip to London, Freud was dying. Her worst period of drug addiction occurred in America. In 1940 her mother died, followed three years later by her father. And, as her relationship with Mark had greatly deteriorated, she was under a great deal of stress. Paradoxically, in view of her own problems, she had been against Mark's drinking until the last two years of their marriage, and he drank furtively, though by American standards he did not consume much. She clung to Mark as she did to whatever she was attached to. Still, among the analysts it was Ruth who welcomed Freud's son Oliver when he arrived in the United States with his wife in 1943. Two years later, Mark divorced her, and she went to Nunberg for further analysis. As Mark later put it, "Everything she loved seemed to have crumbled, so she crumbled too."
Toward the end of her life, Ruth--who had always had work inhibitions--developed a real block. She never published as much as Freud or she thought she should, which partly explains why she is so little known to the reading public today. A psychiatrist has recently related creative blocks to the problem of identity: "Some measure of a sense of personal identity quite apart from the work is necessary if the latter is to be carried out effectively. Perhaps Freud overestimated her talents; but if so, it was because of her immense attractiveness to him, which in itself requires some explanation. As sensitive as Freud could be about plagiarism vis-a-vis other students, he at least once made a point of giving Ruth a "present" of an idea; he said he was giving her this insight, that for the development of the aesthetic sense the relation of the infant to the mother's breast is of exceptional importance. She failed to pursue Freud's suggestion, and in one of his last papers in 1937 he was still hoping that she would publish more material on the Wolf-Man, who had once again been in treatment with her.
One cannot be sure whether Ruth regarded her separation from Freud as a rejection, which may have intensified her demands on him. In fact, by the end of his life Freud had had enough of her. With his death she lost not only a revered man in her life but also a source of gratification for her self-esteem. She may have then realized that she was not as creative as she had once thought. Her premature death ensured that she would publish much less than some of her contemporaries.
Ruth's death is not technically classifiable as a suicide, but it was the product of at least half-intentional self-destruction. Although originally her illnesses had made her prone to drugs, by the end she was drinking paregoric the way an alcoholic might drink whiskey; she also took barbiturates, and years of drug taking had undermined her health. She did not have fits or exhibit other addiction symptoms, but the Federal Bureau of Narcotics had taken notice of her. Then she contracted pneumonia, which persons with such addictions are prone to. After a difficult time, she seemed to be getting better; but the night before she died she had been unable to attend a party for Marie Bonaparte, another favorite of Freud's, who, however, at the end of Freud's life had pulled well ahead of Ruth in his inner circle.
Ruth's death on January 25, 1946, came as a great shock to everyone; Mark had seen her six hours before. The cause of the death was given out as "a heart attack induced by pneumonia," but that was concocted. She died of too many opiates, combined with a fall in the bathroom: she had hit her head and fractured her skull. She had been subject to severe diarrhea, and would take morphine for it, falling asleep on the bathroom floor. Possibly this last night of her life she had taken too many sleeping pills, and then fell; it was the fall that killed her.
Despite her importance to Freud and psychoanalysis, no obituary appeared in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis; because of her sad end, no one felt happy about writing it. Nunberg did write one for an American quarterly, referring only to her "sudden tragic death."
Any life looked at sympathetically is bound to have tragic features; but it would be as wrong to overemphasize this side as to succumb to the temptation to eulogize. According to Freud, accomplishments are tied to limitations, and even the best we manage is paid for at the price of human loss. But a suicide, or gradual self-destruction, is a different matter. In addition to the deaths of Federn, Stekel, Tausk, and Silberer, one can find other recorded suicides among this early group of analysts: Karen Stephen, Eugenia Sokolnicka, Tatiana Rosenthal, Karl Schrotter, Monroe Meyer, Martin Peck, Max Kahane, Johann Honegger.
Jones ridiculed the legendary "dangers of psychoanalysis; it either drove people mad or sent them to their death." Whatever one may think of the limited therapeutic usefulness of psychoanalysis, such exaggerated polemics are surely out of place. But it remains troubling that these early analysts should so frequently have killed themselves or otherwise come to bad ends. When informed of Honegger's death in 1911, Freud reflected in a letter to Jung: "Do you know, I think we wear out quite a few men." Yet it is questionable whether the group was more disturbed than any other set of people. A number of lives seemed to have been sacrificed for the sake of the triumph of Freud's work, but other great ideas in human history have also taken their toll. And what stands out in this group may be largely the result of the microscopic lens we have turned on it. Examine any human life with enough care and attention, and one will find pathology, pain, suffering, and inner torment. But this need not imply that tragedy is the only human experience. It may be a good deal easier to find words and concepts to describe the failures we endure, than to break through the banalities and cliches with which we usually describe the fulfilling parts of life.
List of Persons Interviewed by Paul Roazen for Freud and His Followers:
Dr. Hilda Abraham
Mrs. Karl Abraham
Dr. Alexandra Adler
Dr. Michael Balint
Dr. Therese Benedek
Dr. E. A. Bennet
Sir Isaiah Berlin
Mr. Edward Bernays
Miss Hella Bernays
Dr. Bruno Bettelheim
Dr. Carl Binger
Dr. Smiley Blanton
Miss Berta Bornstein
Dr. John Bowlby
Dr. David Brunswick
Prof. Mark Brunswick
Mrs. Stephanie Dabo
Dr. Helene Deutsch
Dr. H. V. Dicks
Dr. Kurt Eissler
Prof. and Mrs. Erik Erikson
Mr. Ernst Federn
Dr. Michael Fordham
Dr. Thomas French
Mrs. Alexander Freud
Miss Anna Freud
Dr. Esti Freud
Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Freud
Dr. and Mrs. Erich Fromm
Dr. William Gillespie
Dr. Edward Glover
Mr. Geoffrey Gorer
Dr. Roy Grinker, Sr.
Dr. and Mrs. Martin Grotjahn
Dr. Heinz Hartmann
Dr. Leston Havens
Dr. Paula Heimann
Mrs. Judith Bernays Heller
Dr. Ives Hendrick
Mr. Albert Hirst
Mrs. Edward Hitschmann
Dr. Willi Hoffer
Dr. and Mrs. Richard Hoffmann
Mrs. Mathilda Freud Hollitscher
Dr. Otto Isakower
Dr. Edith Jackson
Dr. Jolandi Jacobi
Dr. Elliott Jacques
Dr. Robert Jokl
Mrs. Ernest Jones
Dr. Abram Kardiner
Dr. Anny Katan
Prof. Hans Kelsen
Mr. M. Masud Khan
Dr. Marianne Kris
Dr. Edward Kronold
Dr. Lawrence Kubie
Dr. Jeanne Lampl-de Groot
Prof. Harold Lasswell
Mrs. Elma Laurvik
Prof. Nathan Leites
Mrs. Kata Levy
Dr. John Mack
Mrs. Nada Mascherano-Tausk
Prof. Heinrich Meng
Dr. Emmanuel Miller
Dr. Fritz Moellenhoff
Dr. Roger Money-Kyrle
Mrs. Merrill Moore
Prof. Henry Murray
Dr. Herman Nunberg
Prof. Talcott Parsons
Dr. Sylvia Payne
Prof. Lionel Penrose
Dr. Irmarita Putnam
Dr. Marian Putnam
Dr. Sandor Rado
Mrs. Beata Rank
Dr. J. R. Rees
Dr. Annie Reich
Dr. Theodor Reik
Prof. David Riesman
Mrs. Eva Rosenfeld
Dr. Charles Rycroft
Mrs. Hanns Sachs
Dr. Philip Sarasin
Dr. and Mrs. Raymond Saussure
Dr. Melitta Schmideberg
Dr. Max Schur
Dr. Hannah Segal
Dr. Rene Spitz
Dr. Richard Sterba
Dr. Anthony Storr
Mr. and Mrs. James Strachey
Dr. John Sutherland
Dr. Marius Tausk
Dr. Victor Hugo Tausk
Dr. Alan Tyson
Mrs. Helene Veltfort
Dr. Robert Waelder
Dr. Richard Wagner
Dr. Edoardo Weiss
Dr. Allen Wheelis
Prof. Robert White
Dr. and Mrs. George Wilbur
Dr. Donald Winnicott
Dr. Martha Wolfenstein
Mr. Leonard Woolf
Dr. Elizabeth Zetzel
Ella Freeman Sharpe
Chapter 1- The Dream As a Typical and Individual Psychical Product
Dreaming is a universal psychical functioning, common alike to primitive and cultured peoples. It is a psychical activity inseparable from life itself, for the only dreamless state is death. Dreams may not be remembered in waking consciousness, but subterranean psychical activity is, while life lasts, as unceasing as physiological processes of which also we are not aware in deep sleep. The dream, then, can be considered typical of the human mind. Freud called the unconscious laws governing all dream productions, condensation, displacement, symbolization and secondary elaboration. In addition to these general unconscious laws responsible for the formation of dreams he postulated the unconscious mind as the source of unceasing psychical activity which during sleep represented its wishes in dreams.
The dream reveals within itself those unconscious mental mechanisms evolved during the course of development for the purpose of controlling and shaping the primitive instinctual self towards that norm of behaviour demanded by the contemporary civilization.
A working knowledge of the dream as a typical functioning of the psyche--that is, a knowledge of the dream mechanisms and of the theory of unconscious symbolism--is therefore indispensable for dream interpretation. This knowledge may be gained intellectually from the recommended books, but emotional conviction is the result only of personal analytic experience.
I will turn next to the individual aspect of dreams. In addition to the knowledge I have indicated as necessary in the attempt to interpret dreams, one needs to possess also specific knowledge of the person whose dreams are subjected to interpretation. Typical as are the dream mechanisms, the unconscious symbolism and the indestructible primitive wishes, the dream is yet the key to an individual psychical orientation inseparable from that individual's reaction to a specific environment within a specific period of time. (Dreams indicate the cultural environment of the individual.,) The dream-life holds within itself not only the evidence of our instinctual drives and the mechanisms by which those drives are harnessed or neutralized, but also the actual experiences through which we have passed.
Dreams should be considered as an individual psychical product from a storehouse of specific
experience, which indeed the dreamer may in consciousness neither remember nor know that he knows. The material composing the latest content of a dream is derived from experience of some kind. All intuitive knowledge is experienced knowledge. Just as a child's play is evidence of both wish and experience, so the dream however alien to consciousness is the expression of personal experience. I am using the term " experience " here to include not only actual past occurrences but the emotional states and bodily sensations painful and pleasurable accompanying such occurrences.
In this respect one may make a comparison between dreams and works of art. To an artist forgotten experience seems accessible in some way so that it can be utilized although there may be no conscious awareness that past knowledge is part of his creative imagination. One would surmise, for example, that the repetition of a particular type of lighting in Rembrandt's pictures is determined by a predilection rooted in forgotten experience. Turner repeatedly introduces a similar bridge into landscapes which were inspired by countries widely separated geographically. The following analytic material illuminates the argument.
A patient brought a sketch of his own to show me. He said it was not entirely a reproduction of a landscape he had seen. The woodland depicted was definitely a reproduction of a scene he had enjoyed during his holiday, " but," he said, " there was nothing of that sort in the glen," and he pointed to a large solitary rock in the middle of it. " That," he said, " was an invention of my own. I saw nothing like that in the actual scenery before me." Twelve months after this analytic episode we were working upon a series of dreams, the details of which are not necessary for my present purpose. In each dream of the series occurred two female figures. The investigation of the significance of the women in the dream finally resulted in his saying, " Of course the first little girl I remember meeting was when I was four years of age. She was my own age. I remember nothing about her except my dislike of her." Then he added, " I have not thought for years of the place where I spent that holiday. I remember now one of the strangest things about it. There was a huge isolated rock in the district, and of course any visitor to this town goes to see it."
The forgotten experience at the age of four was therefore first of all manifested as an impulse to put a rock in a glen in his picture. The artist "invented" something. He did not know in consciousness that he had seen that rock. Further analysis revealed that the rock itself was remembered whereas the emotional experience which made him dislike the little girl was forgotten.
The picture on the dream-canvas contains in the same way elements of the forgotten past. The dream as a means of evocation of association that will bring to consciousness forgotten experience and its allied emotion is one of its main values in psycho-analytic technique.
A successful analysis results in the enlargement of the ego-boundaries. This involves a complicated psychical readjustment achieved through the dynamics of the transference. We can think of this extension of the ego-boundaries as the increased power of the ego to tolerate and deal with instinctual impulses in a rational and effective way within a socialized community, this being achieved proportionally to the modification of the unconscious super-ego.
In this process the dream is a help not only in the recovery of specific past emotional situations or phantasied ones but also in the correlation between these and the affects felt towards the analyst. The ego therefore becomes strengthened by the recovery of a past it is no longer necessary to deny or ignore both on its own account or on account of others. The past becomes assimilated and mastered through emotional re-living and understanding, and the personality becomes enriched through a transvaluation of past experiences. Not only is the psychical ego extended but bodily powers themselves are enhanced, recovered or developed. Of these the attainment of sexual potency is to be correlated with the possibility of the fullest psychical efficiency in a reality world.
In cases of impaired body-ego functioning such as psychical deafness and a considerable loss of vision I have found dreams very useful as a means of indicating specific situations in which denial of hearing and seeing became necessary through psychical fears. Such dreams are invaluable as an aid to the recognition of the repetition of the past in the transference setting.
The dream manifests the timelessness of the unconscious mind. It regards neither the temporal nor spatial factors that characterize reality. The reservoir of Id energy supplying the force we utilize in all our activities has no cognizance of time and space. Our essential life knows no mortality. Hence the vitality in extreme age of those whose psychical life is happily adjusted. On the other hand when it is not so adjusted the psychical fixations at early stages of development themselves become timeless and ubiquitous. The dream again is a useful means in analytic treatment of revealing both the stage of development and type of fixation to which the psyche is tethered.
I return now from these considerations of dreams as a means of understanding the specific personal vicissitudes in experience to the subject of the scope of this book. I shall not attempt the complete interpretation of any dream, not even when I devote a whole chapter to a single dream. I shall confine myself strictly to the actual material given to me by the patient in the course of one session. I wish to give samples of material from the ordinary course of analytic work. Such sessions will -be full of significances and revelations that any competent worker can hope to find, and also what is quite as important to realize they will be full of obscurities that are inevitable in an unfolding psychical pattern.
In analysis one would say that the assimilation of knowledge of the unconscious mind through the ego is an essential part of the psychical process. The principle involved in valid explanation is the revelation of the unknown, implicit in the known, in terms of the individual. This principle underlies all true dream interpretation.
Proceeding upon the principle of revealing the unknown implicit in the known, I propose to approach the subject of dream mechanisms through the avenue of the accepted characteristics of poetic diction. The laws of poetic diction were not in the first place originated by the critics of aesthetics to the purposed end of evoking good verse from the poet. They were formulated and codified from an intellectual critical survey of poetry itself. These laws are inherent and intrinsic in the best verse and so may be regarded as being the product of the closest co-operation between preconscious and unconscious activity. " I sing but as the linnets may and pipe because I must." The laws of poetic diction, evolved by the critics from great poetry and the laws of dream formation as discovered by Freud, spring from the same unconscious sources and have many mechanisms in common.
'Poetic diction should be " simple, sensuous, and passionate " (Milton), for the poet's task is to communicate experience. The basic means of communication for him is by sound and allied with that is the power of evoking imagery. To this end poetic diction prefers picturesque imagery to the enumeration of facts, it avoids the generic term and selects the particular. It is averse to lengthiness and dispenses with conjunction and relative pronoun where possible. It substitutes epithets for phrases. By means such as these a poem appeals to ear and eye and becomes an animated canvas.
The simplest of all poetic devices is the figure of speech called simile. (Note in passing the phrase " figure of speech." I shall refer to implied metaphor in another part of this lecture.) By simile is meant the equation of two dissimilar things by means of a common attribute, the similarity being expressed by means of the words " as " and " like."
Similarity of relationship may be expressed by simile, as for example, " The plough turns up the land as the ship furrows the sea." A compressed simile is called a metaphor, the words " like " and " as " being omitted. A transference of relationship can be made between one set of objects to another, for example, " The ship ploughs the sea."
Blue were her eyes as the fairy flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds
That ope in the month of May.
Omitting for the time being the important problem of true symbolism in the theory of dream formation, and thinking only in terms of simile and metaphor as known in poetic diction, I will give you a dream which illustrates very simply these figures of speech. They are to be found both in the dream and in the dreamer's elaboration of the dream content.
" I was at a concert and yet the concert was like a feeding. I could somehow see the music pass before my eyes like pictures. The music pictures passed like ships in the night. There were two sorts of pictures, white mountains with softly rounded tops, and others following them were tall and pointed."
We have in this dream first of all the simile, " The concert was like a feeding." " The music passed like pictures." We have metaphor in the context of " Ships that pass in the night and speak
each other in passing." The ships imply human beings (they speak) and the dreamer knows this although it is not explicitly stated.
Only in one particular do we need to call upon our knowledge of unconscious symbolism to help us interpret the dream, namely, in the matter of the pictures of softly rounded and pointed mountains. The rest is given in simile and metaphor.
I would like to point out other simple things about this dream, which because simple are none the less profound and because obvious the more likely to be overlooked. In the first place this dream bears witness to actual experiences, namely, the actual seeing of rounded and pointed mountains in pictures or in landscape and a correlation made by the observer on first seeing such pictures with the sight in reality of breasts and penis. Secondly, it bears witness to the child's wish to be fed at nighttime end of the child's phantasy on seeing the father's penis that it too was a feeding place. " Ships that pass in the night and speak each other in passing." So we read the dream wish. The great parents like ships in the night are friendly to each other. The child is secure in the plenitude of supply from both. The poignancy of the dream lay in the fact that in reality the patient was suffering from the loss by death of a beloved one. This loss had stirred memories to the depths of infantile frustration and desire. Notice too the importance of music as an unconscious selection of a possible sublimation of frustrated oral desire. Expressed by a poet it runs:
I will pass next to a device employed by poetic diction known as personal metaphor in which a transference of personal relations is made to an impersonal object. Poetic diction uses such phrases as, " a prattling brook," " the sighing oak," " a frowning mountain," phrases which transfer human activities on to the non-human. This device in poetic diction is a derivative of unconscious mechanisms in dreams for a flowing stream in a dream will by association suggest both a stream of urine and a flow of talk. Trees in dreams are objects on to which personal attributes are often transferred. The particular tree chosen by the dreamer will be specific to the purpose of the dream. " Bay trees " and " beech trees " I have found selected because the person whom the tree signified was once seen on a seashore. " Yew " trees I have found indicated the transference on to the analyst of an unconscious imago (you). A "pine " tree I have found indicating an unconscious longing for the person the tree represented, a " birch tree " the representation of a punishing parental image, while a " Scotch fir " has not only indicated the nationality of the parental figure, but the repressed experience of observing on the parental body hair which has been unconsciously likened to fur.
If music be the food of love play on.
The poetic device of metonymy means literally " a change of name." In this device a name that has a usual or even an accidental connection with a thing is used to indicate the thing itself. We speak, for example, of " the bar," " the bench," when we mean the profession of the law. Other examples among many are the " Woolsack," " the Chair," " the Crown." Metonymy serves as an economy in words and at the same time calls up a pictorial image. In dream mechanisms it aids the work of the censorship since the latent content will concern the thing itself and the manifest content the thing connected with it. In the dream, "I take a piece of silk from a cupboard and destroy it," I found that silk as silk per se stimulated no important associations, while the phrase " take silk " brought real emotional understanding, because " take silk " is the device of metonymy and means " to be called to the bar," i.e. to become a barrister. The first more superficial meaning of the dream was the hatred the dreamer had of his profession and on further analysis the dream revealed repressed hostile feelings towards the man's father who was himself a lawyer. Here is another example of the same device. The dreamer seemed to think that in her dream a baby had just been delivered. The top part of its face was slatey-coloured. Considerable anxiety was felt in the dream because of this last feature. Experiences connected with gynaecological work were the immediate associations, but these evoked no affect. This was released after the simple realization that "slatey-coloured " in actual experience will first of all be associated with slates (i.e. metonymy). "Slates" recalled a memory of the burial of a doll and a slate erected as a tombstone. An outburst of affect accompanied the recollection, and the unrecognized wish in the dream became clearer when in addition to the foregoing the patient recalled the tombstones of two little children of her mother's who had died before the patient was born, and phantasies of her own about her mother's womb.
Another common example of this figure of speech is in the use of the word " table." We speak of a person keeping a " good table," meaning thereby food and not the actual table. Leaving aside at the moment the question of symbolism, a knowledge of ordinary speech usage will lead us aright in the deduction that a dream of a table will at least indicate a reference to food. The first table supplying food is the mother's body. A mackintosh in a dream should direct our attention to its association with water. A visual image in a dream of water which the patient describes as a " sheet of water " should lead us directly to water associated with sheets. A "chair" should direct us to the finding of the associated person sitting in it, a dress to the body of the person wearing the dress. Here is a pleasing and simple example of this same device in a dream. "You were sitting in a deck-chair wearing a sailor hat." Let us forget unconscious symbolism for the moment and pursue only this device of metonymy. "A sailor hat," said my patient with the ingenuousness of the direct child, "will be a hat belonging to a sailor, and as you were sitting in a deck-chair it means you represent a sailor." "What kind of a sailor ? " I queried. " Well, I once told my mother you looked like a pirate." " Which pirate ? " I asked. " Oh, Captain Hook, I'm sure." We were then launched on a wealth of phantasy concerning the nefarious practices of pirates in comparison with which the bald interpretation of a sailor hat as unconsciously meaning a phallus would have been barren indeed. Two days after this dream the patient was deep in reverie concerning the problem of the protective efficiency of her nails and suddenly she had the horrid idea of long claws that could catch into things. " Captain Hook " was still being an active stimulus in her phantasy life!
I will make an interpolation here regarding technique in dream interpretation. You will have noticed the questions I put to the patient: " What kind of sailor ? " " Which pirate ? " The reason for such questions regarding details in dreams is to be found in the principle that is explicit in the rules of poetic diction and implicit in the unconscious dream mechanisms. Poetic diction prefers the particular to the generic term and in dream interpretation we gain understanding by the pursuit of a particular reference from any general term. Hence the analyst will not be content with the association of " a sailor " nor even of " a pirate," which was this patient's next association, but should follow up with the specific question " Which pirate ? " We must remember the latent material is specific to the individual, and that even in the matter of symbolism, the symbols themselves are indicative of a specific environment.
Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a part does duty for the whole. We speak of a fleet of so many " sails," of a factory accommodating so many " hands." " Oh, is it fish, or weed, or maiden's hair ? " the poet says, meaning that if it is hair he sees a maiden is drowned. In the music dream I quoted the " parts " signified the " whole." Breasts and penis were represented symbolically yet the total body was indicated in the image " Ships that pass in the night." The devices of metonymy and synecdoche are both illustrated in the case of the shoe fetish. On to the shoe is transferred the significance of the foot, but during the course of analysis one finds that the foot as a part of the body can not only take over the attributes of other parts of the body, but can represent the whole body as well. The following are further examples taken from dream material. " A scarlet pimpernel " evoked latent thoughts about the nipple. " A tangle of thorn bushes " and " a box hedge " represented pubic hair, and pubic hair itself evoked latent phantasies concerning the concealed female genital. " Box hedge " is particularly apt, box itself being a common vulval symbol.
Onomatopoeia is the poetic device used when the sounds of words employed echo the sense. Our language is rich in such words and the dream will often employ them since the psyche has at its disposal early personal experiences when sound was fused with meaning. We repeat in the individual acquisition of language something of the history of the development of language itself. Single letters can carry over in a dream the most primitive sounds allied with infantile experiences. I am indebted to a patient for the following interesting corroborative dream material. In the dream she was narrating was a combination of letters " K. OH." which had a chemical reference. In telling me the dream she said " S.O.S." instead of " K.OH." and then she corrected herself thus : " I said S.O.S. inadvertently, I meant to say K.OH." The formula K.OH. in the dream finally yielded by associations the significance of " Ka.Ka." the child's word for faeces. It was the inadvertently expressed " S.O.S." which finally was of most interest, for " S.O.S." is a present-day
signal for distress. " S " proved to be the hissing sound of urine inadvertently passed and the " O " the involuntary sound of distress often made by a child when such an accident happens. Etymological research has led students to conjecture that the present tense of the verb " to be," that is, " is, probably one of our most fundamental words, was in its origin the imitation of the actual sound of running water, thus meaning " life," " being." Hence in this dream, together with the inadvertent " S.O.S." we had in a purely verbal form the dramatization of a forgotten childhood anxiety situation. Our present-day signal of distress employed by ships at sea, " S.O.S.," contains then a wealth of unsuspected meaning in its brevity and usefulness in an elemental danger situation on water.
The devices in diction known as " parallel " and " antithesis " are possible in a dream by means of pictures. Antithesis for instance can be conveyed by opposition in position, as, for example, " I sat opposite to her." Parallels can be conveyed by similarity of position. " You were sitting in a chair and alongside you was sitting X." Even to understand this simple device can be of immediate usefulness in interpretation for if " You " refers to the analyst and " X " is a person unknown to the analyst then whatever is said by the patient about " X " will in some way apply to " You."
Repetition of phrases is a device in diction to secure emphasis. The method employed in the dream is the repetition of some dream element.
I will now turn to the consideration in more detail of the figure of speech called " implied
metaphor." A great part of our ordinary language is implied metaphor. Things that are not tangible and visible are described by means of the relationship of those that are. Words expressing mental and moral states are based upon an analogy drawn between mind and body. A very few examples will suffice as illustration, such as " a striking thought," " a wealth of knowledge," "food for thought," " a spotless character," " a brown study," " a hot temper." The sense of hearing being less powerful than the senses of taste, touch and sight, the poorer sense borrows from the richer when epithets are required to describe sound. Hence we have implied metaphor. in such descriptions of sound as " a sweet voice," " a piercing scream." Words have a history of displacement individually as well as racially from the first context in which we heard them, when they designated some definite sensible image. Words acquire a second meaning and convey abstract ideas, but they do not lose as far as the unconscious storehouse of our past is concerned the concrete significance the words possessed when we first heard and used them. The individuality of a word consists in the sum of its past and present significations. The value of a dream therefore lies not only in discovering the latent material by means of the manifest content, but the language used in the narration of dream and in the giving of associations will itself help towards elucidation. Apart from other psychical values that follow from self-expression as such, the very language used in self-expression will itself yield up significance. To take full advantage of this we need to remember that words will not only carry a secondary meaning
but implicitly also a primary one. We need to be alive to their historical past, and to the fact that that historical past will often convey the historical past of the speaker. Here are two simple examples; " I dreamt of X, she is her mother's spoiled darling." The patient in saying this meant that X was pampered. She was using the secondary meaning of " spoiled." Its other meaning for any child will be marred, dirtied, ruined, just as etymologically the word means " to skin or mar." An analyst who remembers this is likely to reach the significance of the dream more quickly than one who does not. Here is another example. "I dreamt I was speculating on the Stock Exchange." The patient's associations will in the first place be concerned with the theme of stocks and shares but the word " speculating " should suggest to the analyst that the fundamental primary activity indicated is that of looking. The " Stock Exchange " will then be worth further consideration in the same way. To repeat then, one great value of directing a patient's attention to elaborating the dream is that it gives the analyst an opportunity to interpret dreams more fully from the actual words chosen by the patient. The "bridges of thought are crossed and re-crossed by names and names have manifold mutations. We must remember that the dream will evoke words that connote and include many significances in contrast with scientific words which are the most exclusive. The dream that is abstractly expressed will only become serviceable to us analytically when it can be translated pictorially. We must reach the primary meaning of words underlying the secondary. Concrete terms owing to their origins are infinitely richer in associations than abstract ones.
I pass now from implied metaphor, by means of which knowledge we have the key for analysis of abstract phraseology, to the consideration of the concrete terms themselves. I would draw your attention first to the well-known capacity on the part of the unconscious mind in the art of punning. Should we be more correct in looking upon this both in dreams and in conversation as a glimpse of the way in which we learned words in the first instance, that is, phonetically ? Only rarely by dreams and odd memories do we get even a slight conception of this phonetic ramification, carrying with it ideas of one signification on to new words that sound like the ones we heard first. We have here a fruitful field for investigation. We need to remember that the sound of a word and its first significance will be implicit in another word (or phrases) of the same sound but of different meaning. Here is an example. "I dream of Iona Cathedral." This is not merely an example of punning. It is a fragment of history in the child's acquisition of language. The first time the dreamer as a child heard the word " Iona " it sounded and meant to him " I own a cathedral." I am indebted to the same patient for the following memory. His father promised to bring him The Lays of Ancient Rome and the son thought that his father would give him a present of eggs.
I will continue with further examples which illustrate this importance of verbal expression and how our awareness of the acquisition of language phonetically is of use in helping us to realize the import of words. Let us remember too that expression and experienced knowledge are two aspects of one fact. Here is an admirable example. "I was with dogs and about to go on an allotment but I was warned that it was dangerous. It seemed it was dangerous to tread on the ground as if it were infectious." I will give only a few pertinent associations. The infection suggested to the patient " foot and mouth " disease. One dog in the dream seemed to be a greyhound. Two successive toys of the patient's early childhood were " Grey Bunny " and " Long Dog." " Foot and mouth " instantly suggested a childhood game of putting her foot into her mouth. The patient then informed me she was constipated. With even this one bodily reference and the given associations I have selected, one can infer fairly quickly the experiences and phantasies of episodes in her forgotten childhood. Listen to the word " a-llot-ment " instead of thinking or picturing the acquired specialized meaning of the word as we understand it to-day. The dream can then easily be apprehended through this one word. Here is another example. "In the dream," the patient remarked, there was a courtyard." I am omitting from the dream many specific details in order to illustrate my immediate subject of the importance of different significations one word will imply. Here for instance "court " will suggest at least " to woo " but the sound of "court " will also suggest the word " caught." The word " courtyard " suggested neither of these meanings to the patient. Needless to say the analyst did not suggest them either until the patient in the course of the analytical hour spoke as follows: " Last weekend I went to X's place in---shire. He has a little enclosed garden place and you get to it through a special gate. I went in and shut the door. When I was ready to return I found the door locked and there was no way out but by climbing the wall and that was spiked." The unconscious phantasies of the dangers of " courting " thereupon became accessible.
I have a "feeling of depression" was a patient's opening remark lately. The hour's analysis was concerned with anxiety regarding the female genitals. I had no hesitation finally in saying that he was dealing with repressed emotions concerning an incident some time in childhood when he literally felt the " depression " of a little girl's genitals. " I feel," said another patient in response to the stimulus of a dream about food " that when I think of that food I used to have, there was something fecal about it." Where do you feel it ? " I asked. " Well, I was thinking about it, I mean," he replied. Yet even as he was speaking he was unconsciously moving his fingers over one another. The experience was in his fingers, the knowledge of an early experience of touching faecal matter was stored in them. In the case of a patient who is very occupied by external real interests I have to rely on phrases such as the following to evoke phantasy and memory that is implicit but unknown in consciousness. " I must start to make that garment, but I must say I am filled with horror at the thought." " Filled with horror " had the ultimate significance of horrible phantasies concerning the horrible things inside the body, i.e. terrifying phantasies concerning procreation. "In my dream," said another patient, "I was pulling out tin-tacks." After many circumlocutions she returned to the dream and ruminated on the word " tin-tack." " What other name have they ? " " Screws ? " " No," she did not mean tin-tacks, screws, or rivets. Then after a pause she suggested tentatively they might be called " nails." So one realized there was a moment in the past when she first heard that the little pointed bits of iron were called " nails," and on to these "were transferred affective thoughts and phantasies and deeds associated with her own nails. Hence the reason why she could not remember the word " nails."
An inhibition in connection with reading the daily paper was. illuminated for me by a patient bewailing the fact repeatedly, " I have not read the paper this week. I don't know what has been happening. I haven't looked at the paper at all." During the course of the analytical hour her seemingly chance associations brought her to the fact that she was menstruating. Then the theme with which she opened came to my mind : "I have not read the paper. I don't know what has been happening." I realized then that the sound " red " will be first known by a tiny child in conjunction with a colour sensation, and that the later use of " read " as the past tense or past participle of " read " will carry with it also its first significance, Thus I was put on the track of an actual experience, namely that of seeing menstrual blood in a lavatory (paper) when the sight had aroused anxiety. So we can understand a deeper significance in " I don't know what is happening in the world."
A patient told me he dreamt of "a meal at which a sirloin of beef was being carved." Brought up in a specific environment and at a time when in such households the courtesy term " sir " was in common usage, I had little doubt that a " sirloin " once meant for him the " loin of a sir."
If the patient dreams of the sea not only will water be a significant element but it is useful to remember that " see " and " sea " have the same sound and the theme of looking will also be important. One may assume because of one's knowledge of symbols that a pier in a dream will signify the phallus. But I find that one often gets into touch with human experience more quickly if one remembers that " pier " and " peer " sound alike, that " peer " means " look " and that " piers " are to be found at the seaside where opportunities of looking and seeing are many.
"In my dream the meal was all over and I felt angry," said a patient. She went on to elaborate thus " One would feel upset if one wanted to go on eating because one was hungry." The clue to the dream lay in the patient's substitution of " upset " for " all over," when she elaborated the dream. Infantile emotional " upsets " are accompanied by concrete happenings.
"Sandwich " is an interesting word. It is sometimes useful as referring to a time when the child lay between its parents. A fish-paste sandwich I have found can indicate what the child placed between its parents. To eat a sandwich can symbolize the incorporation of both parents. But I have found the "sandwich" in a dream is adequately explained only when associations have brought memories of the sands on the seashore. The word " wich " (which) has represented not only the query concerning the genitals, the difference between girl and boy, but also the potentialities of the development of the " witch " psychology in the little girl.
An interesting dream told to me by a patient was accompanied by great anxiety "lest bats in a lavatory pan over which she wanted to sit should fly into her anus. My interest at the moment is not the symbolism of the phantasy but the fact that from associations to the dream it was possible to date the phantasy in connection with a definite illness. At the time of an illness from influenza I gathered that the patient was suffering also from an anxiety neurosis. Her conscious dread at that time was of being splashed by the water while sitting on the lavatory seat. She was suffering from " influenza." The word being then apparently unknown, the child only understood the sound of " flu " (flew). Hence " influenza " became the vehicle of her unconscious phantasy. In the dream there is the fear lest " bats " should fly into her anus; we can infer therefore that " enza " signified for the child " bats," and that associated with " bats " were frightening unconscious phantasies.
In families where children have a religious upbringing the word " hymn " must primarily designate a man. A patient at the age of sixteen became devoted to Tennyson's " In Memoriam." A dream. revealed that the format of the poem, its arrangement into groups of stanzas, had unconsciously become associated with the lay-out of a hymn-book. The hymn of childhood was praise of the beloved good father. The " In Memoriam " of adolescence was the praise of a good lost object and thereby represented the psychical . retention of that good object.
A " running " figure in a dream can always be interpreted as symbolical of urinary experiences which precede the child's ability to run on its own legs, the bodily motion or " movement " that long antedates spatial movement. When a patient expresses anxiety concerning his love affairs by repeating the phrase " falling in love " one finds a key to a wealth of phantasy by treating the phrase " falling in " as a dread of an actual " falling into." Should a bird called a " swallow " appear in a dream one may remember that the dreamer heard the word " swallow " in the first place connected with food. The word " stroke " has many significances. It has both a loving and fierce meaning. I have had three patients who in early childhood had direct experience of people having " strokes." One patient had sunstroke herself, the other two had ocular experience of adults stricken by sudden seizures. In each case the word " stroke " was laden with affective meaning. In one, an early displacement of affect was made on to " up-strokes " and " down-strokes " in early writing lessons, thus making the acquisition of writing a retarded painful accomplishment. I have known writing to be retarded too because of the term " pot-hooks " employed in the teaching of writing.
A patient after a dream concerning raspberries remembered vomiting as a child after he had eaten raspberries. The clue to understanding, apart from one's deductions through analytic experience, came in the information that raspberries were called " rasps " at home. The word " rasp " brought several memories such as the " feel " of the cat's tongue, the cat's fur rubbed the wrong way, the " feel " of the implement called a " rasp," and finally the fact of the " hairs " on the raspberry itself. From these associations it was not difficult to understand the unconscious phantasy associated with the "rasps " that caused the child to vomit. I have had corroboration from several patients that a child interprets the phrase " furred tongue" quite literally.
The presence of a "see-saw " in a dream will lead one direct to a masturbation theme because of the bodily movement implied, but a "see-saw " will denote also a connection between masturbation and sight which may be of importance in the specific sexual history. Here is another interesting insight into phantasy formation. A child gradually apprehended that his father went into the city every day because he was a " stockbroker." The first meaning this term had for him was that his father was engaged in " breaking stock." Then the child heard his father talk of " widows' insurance." He did not know what a " widow " was. The nearest meaning that he could supply was " window," so the logical deduction from his own range of facts was that his father's work in the city was breaking windows. When " widow " was understood to be a woman the unconscious phantasy was still further reinforced.
If events in a dream take place in a drawing-room, or a with-drawing-room we may expect
"drawing" to be possibly of importance. The first accessible significance will often be that of drawing with pen, pencil or crayon, but finally we can rely upon bodily processes revealing the ultimate meaning of the dream, such as sucking from, or out of. One gets further help from even concrete terms by not remaining satisfied with the first one offered.
The names of places selected by the dream as appropriate for the drama enacted may sometimes be helpful towards its elucidation. Bournemouth, Barmouth, Wales, Maidenhead, Virginia Water, Hyde Park Corner, Chile, Spion Kop, Lyons' Corner House, Covent Garden, are a few typical examples of such place names.
Names, both Christian and surname, are useful in the same way, sometimes directly as given in the manifest content, sometimes indirectly as the opposite of the manifest content. The name " Sharpe," for instance, is often indicated in a dream by a " flat " or a " block of flats." " Mr. Seymour," " Mr. Attwater," " Mrs. Payne," are further examples of definite names which have been useful in the interpretation of specific dreams.
The dream then has a twofold value; it is the key to the understanding of unconscious phantasy and it is the key to the storehouse of memory and experience. The unconscious wish and phantasy have at their disposal all experiences from infancy. As an approach to the mechanisms that make the manifest dream out of latent thoughts and the unconscious store of experience and impulse I have detailed the principles and devices employed by poetic diction, since these principles bear so directly the impress of the same origin as dream mechanisms. I have indicated the help to be obtained in elucidating dreams from the simple fact that the bridges of thought are crossed and re-crossed by names, that the basis of language is implied metaphor and that we all learned our mother tongue phonetically.