Dora's dream of travelling to her father's funeral, told to Freud at the end of 1900. Online event, 31st January 2021.
This is the second dream that Dora told Freud. It is a dream of independence, as well as of concern for her father.
Our panel of experts plus a worldwide audience participated in a discussion of the second dream that Dora told Freud, and watched a painting of the dream being made by Julia Lockheart. In the dream Dora is living away from her parents in a town and receives a letter to say that her father has died. She goes past woods to try to get to a railway station, and is then at the family home. While the funeral is happening Dora is in her room and reads a large encyclopaedia-like book.
In her free-associations she tells of a young man she knows who has gone to a German town to work, of instances where she has preferred to be on her own, and of her worries for her father’s health. The dream occurred just before Dora suddenly stopped seeing Freud, which might be relevant to the theme in the dream of an older man dying. The full text of the dream and Dora’s associations are below.
In the painting Julia chose two pages from The Interpretation of Dreams that allowed for the five scenes to be depicted. As usual, by chance words that Freud wrote are relevant and are incorporated into the artwork. For example, in the woods, ‘the strange man in the dream’, ‘return home’, and ‘dead father’, and, above the stairs at the family home, ‘former household’.
The second dream (Freud. 1905, Fragments of an analysis of a case of hysteria (‘Dora’), Pelican Freud Library, vol.8, pp.133-134): I was walking about in a town which I did not know. I saw streets and squares which were strange to me. Then I came into a house where I lived, went to my room, and found a letter from Mother lying there. She wrote saying that as I had left town without my parents' knowledge she had not wished to write to me to say that Father was ill. "Now he is dead and if you like you can come." I then went to the station and asked about a hundred times: "Where is the station?" I always got the answer: "Five minutes." I then saw a thick wood before me which I went into and there I asked a man whom I met. He said to me: "Two and a half hours more." He offered to accompany me. But I refused and went alone. I saw the station in front of me and could not reach it. At the same time I had the usual feeling of anxiety that one has in dreams when one cannot move forward. Then I was at home. I must have been travelling in the meantime, but I know nothing about that. I walked into the porter's lodge, and enquired for our flat. The maidservant opened the door to me and replied that Mother and the others were already at the cemetery.
In the next session Dora made two additions: ‘I saw myself particularly distinctly going up the stairs,’ and ‘After she had answered I went to my room, but not the least sadly, and began reading a big book that lay on my writing-table.’ (footnote, p.134.)
Dora’s associations were:
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Dr Julia Lockheart