The Counterthesis in “The Dream Book” and “A Religious Experience”

Diane Jonte-Pace

in Speaking the Unspeakable

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780520226005
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520927698 | DOI:
The Counterthesis in “The Dream Book” and “A Religious Experience”

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This chapter provides a counterthesis to two works of Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams and A Religious Experience, at sites that bracket the entire span of Freud's career, the limitations, interruptions, and subversions of the Oedipal masterplot, the points at which Freud turned aside from an Oedipal interpretation. It begins by describing and interpreting two key moments in The Interpretation of Dreams, suggesting that the more visible framework for the volume is undercut by an interruptive counterthesis which subverts the masterplot by acknowledging its limitations, both implicitly and explicitly. Freud's text not only provides cartography for the “royal road to the unconscious,” but simultaneously deconstructs its own cartography at sites Freud described as the beginning and the end of interpretation. This beginning and end coincide with the encounter with religion and the maternal body. The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.

Keywords: counterthesis; Oedipal interpretation; misogyny; religious experience; interpretation of dreams

Chapter.  8520 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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