The Obsession with Dreams

June O. Leavitt

in The Mystical Life of Franz Kafka

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199827831
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919444 | DOI:
The Obsession with Dreams

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Kafka’s literary corpus contains over thirty-seven chronicles about his dreams. This is most significant in light of the fact that the occult training programs pervasive in Europe in the early part of the 20th century laid great stress on paying attention to dreams. In opposition to Freud, who perceived dreams as providing a passage into the dark recesses of the human psyche, Theosophists saw dreams as revelations concerning the soul’s experiences during sleep. However, as Kafka was familiar with psychoanalytical theories and even wrote about them disparagingly, this chapter examines his dream chronicles for indications of Freudian techniques of interpretation. Although Kafka does employ psychoanalytical methods to interpret two dreams, he ultimately abandons this approach and adopts the occult discourse about dreams containing ciphers about the destiny of the soul. This suggests that his passion for recording his dreams was increasingly impelled by spiritual objectives.

Keywords: Kafka; dreams; Sigmund Freud; dream interpretation; interpretation of dreams; symbolism of dreams; significance of dreams; dreams in the Bible

Chapter.  8022 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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