Page:Freud - The interpretation of dreams.djvu/31

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13
LITERATURE OF THE DREAM

of him in my waking state, although a scar on my chin might have reminded me of his help.

As if to counterbalance the immense rôle ascribed to the infantile impressions in the dream, many authors assert that the majority of dreams show elements from the most recent time. Thus Robert55 (p. 46) declares that the normal dream generally occupies itself only with the impressions of the recent days. We learn indeed that the theory of the dream advanced by Robert imperatively demands that the old impressions should be pushed back, and the recent ones brought to the front. Nevertheless the fact claimed by Robert really exists; I can confirm this from my own investigations. Nelson,50 an American author, thinks that the impressions most frequently found in the dream date from two or three days before, as if the impressions of the day immediately preceding the dream were not sufficiently weakened and remote. Many authors who are convinced of the intimate connection between the dream content and the waking state are impressed by the fact that impressions which have intensely occupied the waking mind appear in the dream only after they have been to some extent pushed aside from the elaboration of the waking thought. Thus, as a rule, we do not dream of a dead beloved person while we are still overwhelmed with sorrow. Still Miss Hallam,33 one of the latest observers, has collected examples showing the very opposite behaviour, and claims for the point the right of individual psychology.

The third and the most remarkable and incomprehensible peculiarity of the memory in dreams, is shown in the selection of the reproduced material, for stress is laid not only on the most significant, but also on the most indifferent and superficial reminiscences. On this point I shall quote those authors who have expressed their surprise in the most emphatic manner.

Hildebrandt35 (p. 11): "For it is a remarkable fact that dreams do not, as a rule, take their elements from great and deep-rooted events or from the powerful and urgent interests of the preceding day, but from unimportant matters, from the most worthless fragments of recent experience or of a more remote past. The most shocking death in our family, the impressions of which keep us awake long into the night, becomes obliterated from our memories, until the first moment