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The interpretation of Dreams
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The interpretation of Dreams

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With a preparation of propyl . . . propyls . . . propionic acid. How on earth did this occur to me? On the evening of the day after I had written the clinical history and dreamed

about the case, my wife opened a bottle of liqueur labelled `Ananas',which was a present from our friend, Otto. He had, as a matter of fact, a habit of making presents on every possible occasion; I hope he will some day be cured of this by a wife. This liqueur smelt so strongly of fusel oil that I refused to drink it. My wife suggested: `We will give

the bottle to the servants,' and I, more prudent, objected, with the philanthropic remark:

`They shan't be poisoned either.' The smell of fusel oil (amyl . . .) has now apparently awakened my memory of the whole series: propyl, methyl, etc., which furnished the preparation of propyl mentioned in the dream. Here, indeed, I have effected a substitution: I dreamt of propyl after smelling amyl; but substitutions of this kind are perhaps permissible, especially in organic chemistry.

Trimethylamin. In the dream I see the chemical formula of this substance -- which at all events is evidence of a great effort on the part of my memory -- and the formula is even printed in heavy type, as though to distinguish it from the context as something of particular importance. And where does trimethylamin, thus forced on my attention, lead me? To a conversation with another friend, who for years has been familiar with all my germinating ideas, and I with his. At that time he had just informed me of certain ideas concerning a sexual chemistry, and had mentioned, among others, that he thought he had found in trimethylamin one of the products of sexual metabolism. This substance thus leads me to sexuality, the factor to which I attribute the greatest significance in respect of the origin of these nervous affections which I am trying to cure. My patient Irma is a

young widow; if I am required to excuse my failure to cure her, I shall perhaps do best to

refer to this condition, which her admirers would be glad to terminate. But in what a singular fashion such a dream is fitted together! The friend who in my dream becomes my patient in Irma's place is likewise a young widow.


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