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Sigmund Freud (1856–1939). The Interpretation of Dreams. 1913.

Preface to the Second Edition

IF there has arisen a demand for a second edition of this rather difficult book before the end of the first decade, I owe no gratitude to the interest of the professional circles to whom I appealed in the preceding sentences. My colleagues in psychiatry, apparently, have made no effort to shake off the first surprise which my new conception of the dream evoked, and the professional philosophers, who are accustomed to treat the problem of dream life as a part of the states of consciousness, devoting to it a few—for the most part identical—sentences, have apparently failed to observe that in this field could be found all kinds of things which would inevitably lead to a thorough transformation of our psychological theories. The behaviour of the scientific critics could only justify the expectation that this work of mine was destined to be buried in oblivion; and the small troop of brave pupils who follow my leadership in the medical application of psychoanalysis, and also follow my example in analysing dreams in order to utilise these analyses in the treatment of neurotics, would not have exhausted the first edition of the book. I therefore feel indebted to that wider circle of intelligent seekers after truth whose co-operation has procured for me the invitation to take up anew, after nine years, the difficult and in so many respects fundamental work.

I am glad to be able to say that I have found little to change. Here and there I have inserted new material, added new views from my wider experience, and attempted to revise certain points; but everything essential concerning the dream and its interpretation, as well as the psychological propositions derived from it, has remained unchanged: at least, subjectively, it has stood the test of time. Those who are acquainted with my other works on the Etiology and Mechanism of the psychoneuroses, know that I have never offered demanded—will differ from the present one. They will have, on the one hand, to include selections from the rich material of poetry, myth, usage of language, and folklore, and, on the other hand, to treat more profoundly the relations of the dream to the neuroses and to mental diseases.

Mr. Otto Rank has rendered me valuable service in the selection of the addenda and in reading the proof sheets. I am gratefully indebted to him and to many others for their contributions and corrections.

VIENNA, Spring of 1911.