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Sigmund Freud (1856–1939). Delusion and Dream. 1917.

Part II. Delusion and Dream in Wilhelm Jensen’s Gradiva by Dr. Sigmund Freud

Section III

IN the further course of the story there is another dream, which can tempt us, even more perhaps than the first, to try to interpret it and fit it into the psychic life of the hero; but we save little if we leave the representation of the author of “Gradiva” here, to hasten directly to this second dream, for whoever wishes to interpret the dream of another, cannot help concerning himself, as extensively as possible, with every subjective and objective experience of the dreamer. Therefore it would be best to hold to the thread of the story and provide this with our commentaries as we progress.

The new delusion of the death of Gradiva at the destruction of Pompeii in the year 79 is not the only after-effect of the first dream analyzed by us. Directly afterwards Hanold decides upon a trip to Italy, which finally takes him to Pompeii. Before this, however, something else has happened to him; leaning from his window, he thinks he sees on the street a figure with the bearing and walk of his Gradiva, hastens after her, in spite of his scanty attire, does not overtake her, but is driven back by the jeers of the people on the street. After he has returned to his room, the song of a canary whose cage hangs in the window of the opposite house calls forth in him a mood such as if he wished to get from prison into freedom, and the spring trip is immediately decided upon and accomplished.

Our author has put this trip of Hanold’s in an especially strong light, and has given to the latter partial clearness about his subjective processes. Hanold has, of course, given himself a scientific purpose for his journey, but this is not substantial. Yet he knows that the “impulse to travel has originated in a nameless feeling.” A peculiar restlessness makes him dissatisfied with everything he encounters and drives him from Rome to Naples, from there to Pompeii, without his mood’s being set right, even at the last halting-place. He is annoyed by the foolishness of honeymoon travelers, and is enraged over the boldness of house-flies, which populate the hotels of Pompeii; but finally he does not deceive himself over the fact that “his dissatisfaction was certainly not caused by his surroundings alone, but, to a degree, found its origin in him.” He considers himself over-excited, feels “that he was out of sorts because he lacked something without being able to explain what, and this ill-humor he took everywhere with him.” In such a mood he is enraged even at his mistress, science; as he wanders for the first time in the glow of the midday sun through Pompeii, all his science had left him without the least desire to rediscover it;” he remembered it as from a great distance, and he felt that it had been an old, dried-up, boresome aunt, dullest and most superfluous creature in the world.” (G. p. 44.)

In this uncomfortable and confused state of mind, one of the riddles which are connected with this journey is solved for him at the moment when he first sees Gradiva walking through Pompeii; “he became conscious for the first time that he had, without himself knowing the motive in his heart, come to Italy on that account and had, without stop, continued from Rome and Naples to Pompeii to see if he could here find trace of her—and that in a literal sense,—for, with her unusual gait, she must have left behind in the ashes a foot-print different from all the others.” (G. p. 47.)

As our author has put so much care into the delineation of this trip, it must be worth our while to explain its relation to Hanold’s delusion and its place in the sequence of events. The journey is undertaken for motives which the character does not at first recognize and does not admit until later, motives which our author designates directly as “unconscious.” This is certainly true to life; one does not need to have a delusion to act thus; rather it is an everyday occurrence, even for normal people, that they are deceived about the motives of their actions and do not become conscious of them until subsequently when a conflict of several emotional currents reestablishes for them the condition for such confusion. Hanold’s trip, therefore, was intended, from the beginning, to serve the delusion, and was to take him to Pompeii to continue there the search for Gradiva. Let us remember that before, and directly after the dream, this search filled his mind and that the dream itself was only a stifled answer of his consciousness to the question of the whereabouts of Gradiva. Some force which we do not recognize, however, next prevents the plan of the delusion from becoming conscious, so that only insufficient pretexts, which can be but partially revived, remain as a conscious motivation for the trip. The author gives us another riddle by having the dream, the discovery of the supposed Gradiva on the street, and the decision to make the journey because of the influence of the singing canary follow one another like chance occurrences without inner coherence.

With the help of the explanations which we gather from the later speeches of Zoë Bertgang, this obscure part of the tale is illuminated for our understanding. It was really the original of Gradiva, Miss Zoë, herself, whom Hanold saw from his window walking on the street (G. p. 15), and whom he would soon have overtaken. The statement of the dreamer—“she is really living now in the present, in the same city with you,”—would, therefore, by a lucky chance, have experienced an irrefutable corroboration, before which his inner resistance would have collapsed. The canary, however, whose song impelled Hanold to go away, belonged to Zoë, and his cage was in her window, in the house diagonally opposite from Hanold’s (G. p. 105). Hanold, who, according to the girl’s arraignment, was endowed with negative hallucination, understood the art of not seeing nor recognizing people, and must from the beginning, have had unconscious knowledge of what we do not discover until later. The signs of Zoë’s proximity, her appearance on the street, and her bird’s song so near his window intensify the effect of the dream, and in this condition, so dangerous for his resistance to the eroticism, he takes flight. The journey arises from the recovery of the resistance after that advance of erotic desire in the dream, an attempt at flight from the living and present beloved. It means practically a victory for repression, which, this time, in the delusion keeps the upper hand, as, in his former action, the “pedestrian investigations” of women and girls, the eroticism had been victorious. Everywhere, however, the indecision of the struggle, the compromise nature of the results was evident; the trip to Pompeii, which is to take him away from the living Zoë leads, at any rate, to her substitute, Gradiva. The journey, which is undertaken in defiance of the most recent dream-thoughts, follows, however, the order of the manifest dream-content to Pompeii. Thus delusion triumphs anew every time that eroticism and resistance struggle anew.

This conception of Hanold’s trip, as a flight from the erotic desire for the beloved, who is so near, which is awakening in him, harmonizes, however, with the frame of mind portrayed in him during his stay in Italy. The rejection of the eroticism, which dominates him, expresses itself there in his abhorrence of honeymoon travelers. A little dream in the “albergo” in Rome, caused by the proximity of a couple of German lovers, “Augustus” and “Gretchen,” whose evening conversation he is forced to overhear through the thin partition, casts a further light on the erotic tendencies of his first great dream. The new dream transports him again to Pompeii where Vesuvius is just having another eruption, and thus refers to the dream which continues active during his trip; but among the imperiled people he sees this time—not as before himself and Gradiva—but Apollo Belvedere and the Capitoline Venus,—doubtless ironic exaltation of the couple in the adjoining room. Apollo lifts Venus, carries her away, and lays her on an object in the dark, which seems to be a carriage or a cart, for a “rattling sound” comes from it. Otherwise the dream needs no special skill for its interpretation. (G. p. 26.)

Our author, whom we have long relied on not to make a single stroke in his picture idly and without purpose, has given us another bit of testimony for the non-sexual force dominating Hanold on the trip. During hours of wandering in Pompeii, it happens that “remarkably, it did not once appear in his memory that he had dreamed some time ago that he had been present at the destruction of Pompeii by the volcanic eruption of 79.” (G. p. 38.) At sight of Gradiva he first suddenly remembers this dream, and at the same time the motive of the delusion for his puzzling journey becomes conscious. Then what other meaning could there be for forgetting the dream, this repression-boundary between the dream and the psychic condition of the journey, than that the journey is not the result of the direct instigation of the dream, but of the rejection of this latter, as the emanation from a psychic force which desires no knowledge of the secret meaning of the dream?

On the other hand, however, Hanold is not happy at this victory over his eroticism. The suppressed psychic impulse remains strong enough to revenge itself, by discontent and interception, on the suppressing agency. His longing has changed to restlessness and dissatisfaction, which make the trip seem senseless to him. His insight into the motivation of his trip is obstructed in service of the delusion; his relation to science, which ought, in such a place, to stir all his interest, is upset. So our author shows his hero, after flight from love, in a sort of crisis, in an utterly confused and unsettled condition, in a derangement such as usually appears at the climax of illness if neither of the two struggling forces is so much stronger than the other, that the difference could establish a strict, psychic régime. Here then our author takes hold to help and to settle, for, at this place, he introduces Gradiva, who undertakes the cure of the delusion. With his power to direct to a happy solution the fortunes of all the characters created by him, in spite of all the requirements which he has them conform to, he transports the girl, from whom Hanold has fled to Pompeii, to that very place and thus corrects the folly which the delusion caused the young man to commit in leaving the home-city of his beloved for the dead abode of the one substituted for her by his fancy.

With the appearance of Zoë Bertgang as Gradiva, which marks the climax of the suspense of the story, our interest is soon diverted. If we have hitherto been living through the developments of a delusion, we shall now become witnesses of its cure, and may ask ourselves if our author has merely invented the procedure of this cure or has carried it out according to actually existing possibilities. From Zoë’s own words in the conversation with her friend, we have decidedly the right to ascribe to her the intention to cure the hero. (G. p. 97.) But how does she go about it? After she has cast aside the indignation which the unreasonable request, to lie down to sleep again, as “then,” had evoked in her, she appears again next day, at the same place, and elicits from Hanold all the secret knowledge that was lacking to her for an understanding of his conduct of the previous day. She learns of his dream, of the bas-relief of Gradiva, and of the peculiarity of walk which she shares with the relief. She accepts the rôle of a spirit awakened to life for a short hour, which, she observes, his delusion assigns to her, and in ambiguous words, she gently puts him in the way of a new rôle by accepting from him the grave-flower which he had brought along without conscious purpose, and expresses regret that he has not given her roses. (G. p. 71.)

Our interest in the conduct of the eminently clever girl, who has decided to win the lover of her youth as husband, after she has recognized his love behind his delusion as its impelling force, is, however, restrained at this place probably because of the strange feelings that the delusion can arouse even in us. Its latest development, that Gradiva, who was buried in the year 79, can now exchange conversation with him as a noon-spirit, for an hour, after the passing of which she sinks out of sight or seeks her grave again, this chimaera, which is not confused by the perception of her modern foot-covering, nor by her ignorance of the ancient tongues, nor by her command of German, which did not exist in former times, seems indeed to justify the author’s designation, “A Pompeiian Fancy,” but to exclude every standard of clinical reality; and yet on closer consideration the improbability in this delusion seems to me, for the most part, to vanish. To be sure, our author has taken upon himself a part of the blame, and in the first part of the story has offered the fact that Zoë was the image of the bas-relief in every trait. One must, therefore, guard against transferring the improbability of this preliminary to its logical conclusion that Hanold considers the girl to be Gradiva come to life. The explanation of the delusion is here enhanced by the fact that our author has offered us no rational disposal of it. In the glowing sun of the Campagna and in the bewildering magic powers of the vine which grows on Vesuvius, our author has introduced helpful and mitigating circumstances of the transgression of the hero. The most important of all explanatory and exonerating considerations remains, however, the facility with which our intellect decides to accept an absurd content if impulses with a strong emotional stress find thereby their satisfaction. It is astonishing, and generally meets with too little acceptance, how easily and often intelligent people, under such psychological constellations, give the reactions of partial mental weakness, and any one who is not too conceited may observe this in himself as often as he wishes, and especially when a part of the thought-processes under consideration is connected with unconscious or repressed motives. I cite, in this connection, the words of a philosopher who writes to me, “I have also begun to make note of cases of striking mistakes, from my own experience, and of thoughtless actions which one subsequently explains to himself (in a very unreasonable way). It is amazing but typical how much stupidity thereby comes to light.” Now let us consider the fact that belief in spirits, apparitions and returning souls (which finds so much support in the religions to which, at least as children, we have all clung) is by no means destroyed among all educated people, and that many otherwise reasonable people find their interest in spiritism compatible with their reason. Yes, even one become dispassionate and incredulous may perceive with shame how easily he turns back for a moment to a belief in spirits, when emotions and perplexity concur in him. I know of a physician who had once lost a patient by Basedow’s disease and could not rid himself of the slight suspicion that he had perhaps contributed by unwise medication to the unfortunate outcome. One day several years later there stepped into his office a girl, in whom, in spite of all reluctance, he was obliged to recognize the dead woman. His only thought was that it was true that the dead could return, and his fear did not give way to shame until the visitor introduced herself as the sister of the woman who had died of that disease. Basedow’s disease lends to those afflicted with it a great similarity of features, which has often been noticed, and in this case the typical resemblance was far more exaggerated than the family resemblance. The physician, moreover, to whom this happened was I, and therefore I am not inclined to quarrel with Norbert Hanold over the clinical possibility of his short delusion about Gradiva, who had returned to life. That in serious cases of chronic delusion (paranoia) the most extreme absurdities, ingeniously devised and well supported, are active is, finally, well-known to every psychiatrist.

After his first meeting with Gradiva, Norbert Hanold had drunk his wine in first one, and then another of the hotels of Pompeii known to him, while the other guests were having their regular meals. “Of course, in no way had the absurd supposition entered his mind” that he was doing this to find out what hotel Gradiva lived and ate in, but it is hard to say what other significance his action could have. On the day after his second meeting in Meleager’s house, he has all sorts of remarkable and apparently disconnected experiences; he finds a narrow cleft in the wall of the portico where Gradiva had disappeared, meets a foolish lizard-catcher, who addresses him as an acquaintance, discovers a secluded hotel, the Albergo del Sole, whose owner talks him into buying a metal brooch encrusted with green patina, which had been found with the remains of a Pompeiian girl, and finally notices in his own hotel a newly-arrived, young couple, whom he diagnoses to be brother and sister, and congenial. All these impressions are then woven into a “remarkably nonsensical” dream as follows:

“Somewhere in the sun Gradiva sat making a trap out of a blade of grass in order to catch a lizard, and she said, ‘Please stay quite still—my colleague is right; the method is really good and she has used it with the greatest success.’”

To this dream he offers resistance even while sleeping, with the critique that it is indeed the most utter madness and he casts about to free himself from it. He succeeds in doing this, too, with the aid of an invisible bird who utters a short, merry call, and carries the lizard away in his beak.

Shall we risk an attempt to interpret this dream also, that is, to substitute for it the latent thoughts from whose disfigurement it must have proceeded? It is as nonsensical as one could expect a dream to be and this absurdity of dreams is the mainstay of the view which denies to the dream the character of a valid psychic act, and has it proceed from a desultory stimulus of the psychic elements.

We can apply to this dream the technique which can be designated as the regular procedure of dream-interpretation. It consists in disregarding the apparent sequence in the manifest dream but in examining separately every part of the content, and in seeking its derivation in the impressions, memories and free ideas of the dreamer. As we can not examine Hanold, however, we must be satisfied with reference to his impressions, and may with due caution substitute our own ideas for his.

“Somewhere in the sun Gradiva sat catching lizards, and said,”. What impression of the day is this part of the dream reminiscent of? Unquestionably of the meeting with the older man, the lizard-catcher, for whom Gradiva is substituted in the dream. He was sitting or lying on a “hot, sunny” slope and spoke to Hanold, too. Even the utterances of Gradiva in the dream are copied from those of the man. Let us compare: “‘The method suggested by my colleague, Eimer, is really good; I have already used it often with the best of success. Please remain quite still.’”—Quite similarly Gradiva speaks in the dream, only that for the colleague, Eimer, is substituted an unnamed woman-colleague; the often from the zoölogist’s speech is missing in the dream, and the connection between the statements has been somewhat changed. It seems, therefore, that this experience of the day has been transformed into a dream by some changes and disfigurements. Why thus, and what is the meaning of the disfigurements, the substitution of Gradiva for the old gentleman, and the introduction of the puzzling “woman-colleague”?

There is a rule of dream-interpretation as follows: A speech heard in a dream always originates from a speech either heard or uttered in waking life. Well, this rule seems followed here; the speech of Gradiva is only a modification of a speech heard in the daytime from the zoölogist. Another rule of dream-interpretation would tell us that the substitution of one person for another, or the mixture of two people by showing one in a position which characterizes the other means equivalence of the two people, a correspondence between them. Let us venture to apply this rule also to our dream; then the interpretation would follow: “Gradiva catches lizards, as that old gentleman does, and like him, is skilled in lizard-catching.” This result is not comprehensible yet, but we have another riddle before us. To which impression of the day shall we refer the “woman colleague,” who is substituted in the dream for the famous zoölogist, Eimer? We have here fortunately not much choice; only one other girl can be meant by “woman-colleague,” the congenial young lady in whom Hanold has conjectured a sister traveling with her brother. “In her gown she wore a red Sorrento rose, the sight of which, as he looked across from his corner, stirred something in his memory without his being able to think what it was.” This observation on the part of the author surely gives us the right to assert that she is the “woman-colleague” of the dream. What Hanold cannot remember is certainly nothing but the remark of the supposed Gradiva, as she asked him for the grave-flower, that to more fortunate girls one brought roses in spring. In this speech, however, lay a hidden wooing. What kind of lizard-catching is it that this more fortunate woman-colleague has been so successful with?

On the next day Hanold surprises the supposed brother and sister in tender embrace and can thus correct his mistake of the previous day. They are really a couple of lovers, on their honeymoon, as we later learn, when the two disturb, so unexpectedly, Hanold’s third meeting with Zoë. If we will now accept the idea that Hanold, who consciously considers them brother and sister, has, in his unconscious, recognized at once their real relation, which on the next day betrays itself so unequivocally, there results a good meaning for Gradiva’s remark in the dream. The red rose then becomes a symbol for being in love; Hanold understands that the two are as Gradiva and he are soon to be; the lizard-catching acquires the meaning of husband-catching and Gradiva’s speech means something like this: “Let me arrange things; I know how to win a husband as well as this other girl does.”

Why must this penetration of Zoë’s intentions appear throughout in the form of the speech of the old zoölogist? Why is Zoë’s skill in husband-catching represented by that of the old man in lizard-catching? Well, it is easy for us to answer that question; we have long ago guessed that the lizard-catcher is none other than the professor of zoölogy, Bertgang, Zoë’s father, who must, of course, also know Hanold, so that it is a matter of course that he addresses Hanold as an acquaintance. Again, let us accept the idea that Hanold, in his unconscious, immediately recognizes the professor,—“It seemed to him dimly that he had already seen the face of the lizard-hunter probably in one of the two hotels.” Thus is explained the strange cloaking of the purpose attributed to Zoë. She is the daughter of the lizard-catcher; she has inherited this skill from him. The substitution of Gradiva for the lizard-catcher in the dream-content is, therefore, the representation of the relation between the two people, which was recognized by the unconscious; the introduction of “woman-colleague” in place of colleague, Eimer, allows the dream to express comprehension of her courtship of the man. The dream has welded two of the day’s experiences in one situation, “condensed” as we say, in order to procure, to be sure, very indiscernible expression for two ideas which are not allowed to become conscious; but we can go on diminishing the strangeness of the dream still more and pointing out the influence of other experiences of the day on the formation of the manifest dream.

Dissatisfied by the former information, we might explain why the scene of the lizard-catching was made the nucleus of the dream, and suppose that the other elements in the dream-thoughts influence the term “lizard” in the manifest dream. It might really be very easy. Let us recall that Hanold has discovered a cleft in the wall, in the place where Gradiva seems to him to disappear; this is “wide enough to afford passage to an unusually slender figure.” By this perception he is forced in the day-time to an alteration in his delusion; Gradiva did not sink into the ground when she disappeared from his sight, but was going back, by this route, to her grave. In his unconscious thought he might say to himself that he had now found the natural explanation for the surprising disappearance of the girl; but must not forcing one’s self through narrow clefts, and disappearing in such clefts recall the conduct of lizards? Does not Gradiva herself, then, in this connection, behave like an agile, little lizard? We think, therefore, that the discovery of this cleft in the wall had worked as a determinant on the choice of the “lizard” element for the manifest dream-content; the lizard-situation of the dream, therefore, represented this impression of the day, and the meeting with the zoölogist, Zoë’s father.

What if, become bold, we now wished to attempt to find in the dream-content a representation also for the one experience of the day which has not yet been turned to account, the discovery of the third hotel, “del Sole”? Our author has treated this episode so exhaustively and linked so much with it, we should be surprised if it, alone, had yielded no contribution to the dream-formation. Hanold enters this hotel, which, because of its secluded situation and its distance from the station, has remained unknown to him, to get a bottle of lime-water for congestion of blood. The hotel-keeper uses this opportunity to extol his antiques and shows him a brooch which, it was alleged, had belonged to that Pompeiian girl who was found near the Forum in fond embrace with her lover. Hanold, who had never before believed this frequently repeated story, is now compelled, by a force strange to him, to believe in the truth of this touching story and in the genuineness of the article found, buys the brooch and leaves the hotel with his purchase. In passing, he sees nodding down at him from one of the windows a cluster of white, asphodel blossoms which had been placed in a water-glass, and he feels that this sight is an attestation of the genuineness of his new possession. The sincere conviction is now impressed upon him that the green brooch belonged to Gradiva, and that she was the girl who died in her lover’s embrace. The tormenting jealousy, which thereupon seizes him, he appeases with the resolution to assure himself about this suspicion, the next day, from Gradiva, herself, by showing the brooch. This is a strange bit of new delusion; and shouldn’t any trace point to it in the dream of the following night?

It will be well worth our while to get an understanding of the origin of this augmentation of the delusion, to look up the new unconscious idea for which the new bit of delusion is substituted. The delusion originates under the influence of the proprietor of the Sun Hotel, toward whom Hanold conducts himself in so remarkably credulous a manner, as if he has received a suggestion from him. The proprietor shows him a small metal brooch as genuine, and as the possession of that girl who was found in the arms of her lover, buried in the ashes, and Hanold, who could be critical enough to doubt the truth of the story as well as the genuineness of the brooch, is caught, credulous, and buys the more than doubtful antique. It is quite incomprehensible why he should act so, and no hint is given that the personality of the proprietor himself might solve this riddle for us. There is, however, another riddle in this incident, and two riddles sometimes solve each other. On leaving the “albergo,” he catches sight of an asphodel cluster in a glass at a window, and finds in it an attestation of the genuineness of the metal brooch. How can that be? This last stroke is fortunately easy of solution. The white flower is, of course, the one which he presented to Gradiva at noon, and it is quite right that through the sight of it at one of the windows of this hotel, something is corroborated, not the genuineness of the brooch, but something else which has become clear to him at the discovery of this formerly overlooked “albergo.” In the forenoon he has already acted as if he were seeking, in the two hotels of Pompeii, where the person lived who appeared to him as Gradiva. Now, as he stumbles so unexpectedly upon a third, he must say in the unconscious: “So she lives here”; and then, on leaving: “Right there is the asphodel flower I gave her; that is, therefore, her window.” This, then, is the new idea for which the delusion is substituted, and which cannot become conscious because its assumption that Gradiva is living, a person known by him, cannot become conscious.

How then is the substitution of the delusion for the new idea supposed to have occurred? I think thus: that the feeling of conviction which clung to the idea was able to assert itself and persisted, while another ideational content related to it by thought-connection acted as substitute for the idea itself which was incapable of consciousness. Thus the feeling of conviction was connected with a really strange content, and this latter attained, as delusion, a recognition which did not belong to it. Hanold transfers his conviction that Gradiva lives in this house to other impressions which he receives in this house, becomes, in a way, credulous about what the proprietor says, the genuineness of the metal brooch, and the truth of the anecdote about the lovers found in an embrace, but only by this route, that he connects what he has heard in this house with Gradiva. The jealousy which has been lying ready in him gets possession of this material, and even in contradiction to his first dream there appears the delusion that Gradiva was the girl who died in the arms of her lover, and that the brooch which he bought belonged to her.

We notice that the conversation with Gradiva, and her gentle wooing “through the flower” have already evoked important changes in Hanold. Traits of male desire, components of the libido are awakened in him, which, to be sure, cannot yet dispense with the concealment through conscious pretexts; but the problem of the corporeal nature of Gradiva, which has pursued him this whole day, cannot disavow its derivation from the erotic desire of the young man for possession of the woman, even if it is dragged into the scientific world by conscious stress on Gradiva’s peculiar hovering between life and death. Jealousy is an added mark of Hanold’s awakening activity in love; he expresses this at the opening of the conversation on the next day, and with the aid of a new pretext achieves his object of touching the girl’s body, and of striking her, as in times long past.

Now, however, it is time to ask if the course of delusion-formation which we have inferred from our author’s representation is one otherwise admitted or possible. From my experience as physician, I can answer only that it is surely the right way, perhaps the only one, in which the delusion receives the unswerving recognition due its clinical character. If the patient believes in his delusion so firmly, it does not happen because of inversion of his powers of judgment, and does not proceed from what is erroneous in the delusion; but in every delusion there lies also a little grain of truth; there is something in it which really deserves belief, and this is the source of the conviction of the patient, who is, to this extent, justified. This true element, however, has been repressed for a long time; if it finally succeeds in pushing into consciousness (this time in disfigured form), the feeling of a conviction clinging to it, as if in compensation, is over-strong and now clings to and protects the disfigurement-substitute of the repressed, true element against every critical impugnment. The conviction at once shifts itself from the unconscious, true element to the conscious, erroneous one connected with it, and remains fixed there as a result of this very displacement. The case of delusion-formation which resulted from Hanold’s first dream is nothing but a similar, if not identical, case of such displacement. Yes, the depicted manner of development of conviction in the delusion is not fundamentally different from the way in which conviction is formed in normal cases, where repression does not enter into play. All our convictions lie in thought-contents in which the true and the false are combined and they stretch over the former and the latter. They differentiate at once between the true and whatever false is associated with it and protect this, even if not so immutably as in the delusion, against merited critique. Associations, protection, likewise, have their own value even for normal psychology.

I will now return to the dream and lay stress on a small, but not uninteresting feature which establishes a connection between two occasions of the dream. Gradiva had placed the white asphodel flower in definite contrast to the red rose; the finding of the asphodel flower again in the window of the Albergo del Sole becomes a weighty proof for Hanold’s unconscious idea which expresses itself in a new delusion; and to this is added the fact that the red rose in the dress of the congenial young girl helps Hanold again, in the unconscious, to a right estimation of her relation to her companion so that he can have her enter the dream as “woman colleague.”

But where in the manifest dream-content is found the trace and representation of that discovery of Hanold’s for which we find that the new delusion is substituted, the discovery that Gradiva lives with her father in the third hotel of Pompeii, the Albergo del Sole, which he has not been acquainted with? Well, it stands in its entirety and not even much disfigured in the dream; but I dread to point it out, for I know that even with the readers whose patience with me has lasted so long, a strong opposition to my attempts at interpretation will be stirred up. Hanold’s discovery is given in full in the dream-content, I repeat, but so cleverly concealed that one must needs overlook it. It is hidden there behind a play on words, an ambiguity. “Somewhere in the sun Gradiva sat”; this we have rightly connected with the locality where Hanold met the zoölogist, her father; but can it not also mean in the “Sun,” that is, in the Albergo del Sole, in the Sun Hotel Gradiva lives? And doesn’t the “somewhere” which has no reference to the meeting with her father sound so hypocritically indefinite for the very reason that it introduces the definite information about the whereabouts of Gradiva? According to previous experience in the interpretation of real dreams, I am quite sure of such a meaning in the ambiguity, but I should really not venture to offer this bit of interpretation to my readers, if our author did not lend me here his powerful assistance. On the next day he puts into the mouth of the girl, when she sees the metal brooch, the same pun which we accept for the interpretation of the dream-content. “‘Did you find it in the sun, perhaps? It brings to light many such works of art’”; and as Hanold does not understand the speech, she explains that she means the Sun Hotel, which is called “Sole” here, whence the supposed antique is also familiar to her.

And now may we make the attempt to substitute for Hanold’s “remarkably nonsensical” dream unconscious thoughts hidden behind it and as unlike it as possible? It runs somewhat as follows: “She lives in the Sun with her father; why is she playing such a game with me? Does she wish to make fun of me? Or could it be possible that she loves me and wishes me for a husband?” To this latter possibility there now follows in sleep the rejection, “That is the most utter madness,” which is apparently directed against the whole manifest dream.

Critical readers have now the right to inquire about the origin of that interpolation, not formerly established, which refers to being made fun of by Gradiva. To this “Traumdeutung” gives the answer; if in dream-thoughts, taunts and sneers, or bitter contradictions occur, they are expressed by the nonsensical course of the manifest dream, through the absurdity in the dream. The latter means, therefore, no paralysis of psychic activity, but is one of the means of representation which the dream-work makes use of. As always in especially difficult passages, our author here comes to our assistance. The nonsensical dream has another postlude in which a bird utters a merry call and takes away the lizard in his beak. Such a laughing call Hanold had heard after Gradiva’s disappearance. It really came from Zoë who was shaking off the melancholy seriousness of her lower world rôle; with this laugh Gradiva had really derided him. The dream-picture, however, of the bird carrying away the lizard may recall that other one in a former dream in which Apollo Belvedere carried away the Capitoline Venus.

Perhaps the impression now exists with many readers that the interpretation of the lizard-catching situation by the idea of wooing is not sufficiently justified. Additional support is found here, perhaps in the hint that Zoë, in conversation with her colleague, admits about herself that very thing which Hanold’s thoughts suppose about her, when she tells that she had been sure of “digging up” something interesting for herself here in Pompeii. She thereby delves into the archaeological series of associations as he did into the zoölogical with his allegory of lizard-catching, as if they were opposing each other and each wished to assume properties of the other.

Thus we have finished the interpretation of the second dream. Both have become accessible to our understanding under the presupposition that the dreamer, in his unconscious thought, knows all that he has forgotten in his conscious, has in the former rightly judged everything which, in the latter, he delusively misconstrues. In this connection we have, of course, been obliged to make many assertions which sounded odd to the reader because they were strange to him and probably often awakened the suspicion that we were giving out as our author’s meaning what is only our own meaning. We are ready to do everything to dissipate this suspicion and will therefore gladly consider more exhaustively one of the most knotty points—I mean the use of ambiguous words and speeches as in the example, “Somewhere in the Sun Gradiva sat.”

It must be striking to every reader of “Gradiva” how often our author puts into the mouths of both the leading characters speeches which have double meaning. For Hanold these speeches are intended to have only one meaning, and only his companion, Gradiva, is affected by their other meaning. Thus, after her first answer, he exclaims: “‘I knew that your voice sounded so,’” and the yet unenlightened Zoë has to ask how that is possible, as he has never before heard her speak. In the second conversation, the girl is for a moment puzzled by his delusion, as he assures her that he recognized her at once. She must understand these words in the meaning that is correct for his unconscious, as his recognition of their acquaintance which reaches back into childhood, while he, of course, knows nothing of this meaning of his speech and explains it only by reference to the delusion which dominates him. The speeches of the girl, on the other hand, in whose person the most brilliant mental clarity is opposed to the delusion, are made intentionally ambiguous. One meaning of them falls in with the ideas of Hanold’s delusion, in order to enable her to penetrate into his conscious comprehension, the other raises itself above the delusion, and, as a rule, gives us the interpretation of it in the unconscious truth which has been represented by it. It is a triumph of wit to be able to represent the delusion and the truth in the same expression.

Interspersed with such ambiguities is Zoë’s speech in which she explains the situation to her girl friend and at the same time rids herself of her disturbing society; it is really spoken out of the book, calculated more for us readers than for her happy colleague. In the conversations with Hanold, the double meaning is chiefly established by the fact that Zoë makes use of the symbolism which we find followed in Hanold’s first dream, in the equivalence of repression and destruction, Pompeii and childhood. Thus on the one hand she can, in her speeches, continue in the rôle which Hanold’s delusion assigns to her, on the other, she can touch upon the real relations, and awaken in Hanold’s unconscious a knowledge of them.

“‘I have long accustomed myself to being dead.’” (G. p. 71.) “‘For me, the flower of oblivion is the right one from your hand.’” (G. p. 71.) In these speeches is given lightly the reproof which then breaks out clearly enough in her last sermon when she compares him to an archaeopteryx. “‘That a person must die to become alive again; but for archaeologists that is, of course, necessary,’” (G. p. 110) she continues after the solution of the delusion as if to give us the key to her ambiguous speeches. The most beautiful symbolism appears, however, in the question: (G. p. 93.) “‘It seems to me as if we had already eaten our bread thus together once two thousand years ago. Can’t you remember it?’” In this speech the substitution of historic antiquity for childhood, and the effort to awaken his memory of the latter are quite unmistakable.

Whence, therefore, comes this striking preference for ambiguous speeches in “Gradiva”? It seems to us not chance, but the necessary sequence from the preliminaries of the tale. It is nothing but the counterpart of the twofold determination of symptoms in so far as the speeches are themselves symptoms and proceed from compromises between the conscious and the unconscious; but one notices this double origin in the speeches more easily than in the acts; and when, as the pliability of the material of conversation often makes possible, each of the two intentions of a speech succeeds by the same arrangement of words in expressing itself well, then there is present what we call an “ambiguity.”

During the psychotherapeutic treatment of a delusion, or an analogous disturbance, one often evolves such ambiguous speeches in patients as new symptoms of the most fleeting duration, and can even succeed in making use of them, whereby, with the meaning intended for the consciousness of the patient, one can, not infrequently, stimulate the understanding for the one valid in the unconscious. I know from experience that among the uninitiate this rôle of ambiguity usually gives the greatest offense, and causes the grossest misunderstanding, but our author was right, at any rate, in representing in his production this characteristic feature of the processes of the formation of dream and delusion.