Dreams and Myths

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This essay is an exercise in applied psychoanalysis: reference can be made to introduction to the "Essays in Applied Psychoanalysis" written by Sigmund Freud in the first edition of Delusions and Dreams in Jensen's "Gradiva" (1907a [1906]), as well as to Freud's essay "Creative Writers and Day-dreaming" (1908e [1907]). Abraham's essay can be compared to Franz Riklin's "Réalisation de désir et de symbolisme dans le conte" (Desire and symbolism in tales; 1908).

Abraham compared collective myths with dreams and located the following similarities: both make use of symbolic imagery; both are the products of human fantasy aimed at the fulfillment of wishes; both are subject to censorship and the same defense mechanisms: "Myths are what survives of the psychic life of peoples; dreams are individual myths," he wrote. This same theme was subsequently discussed by Otto Rank, Theodor Reik, and Géza Róheim before interest in it faded.

Johannes Cremerius

See also: Abraham, Karl; Applied psychoanalysis and the interaction of psychoanalysis; Dream; Myth; Mythology and psychoanalysis; Primitive.

Source Citation

Abraham, Karl. (1949). Dreams and myths: a study in race psychology. In Selected papers of Karl Abraham, M.D.. (Douglas Bryan and Alix Strachey, Trans.). London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-analysis. (Original work published 1909)

Further Reading

Wangh, Martin. (1954). Day residue in dream and myth. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 2, 446-452.