Dream treatment
On sitting down to read a letter from Freud
in Hélène Cixous
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This short chapter describes how the author wakes up awash in the sounds of seagull cries, and recalls having dreamed of receiving a letter from Freud (written in English, nearly eighty years after his death). All that can be recalled of the letter is a feeling of great pleasure and the phrase ‘probably not’. Pondering what to make of all this, the author telephones Cixous to ask for her thoughts. We are all insane in our dreams, Freud noted in his earliest work, Studies on Hysteria: comparison is made between the insanity of Sigmund Freud and the insanity of Donald Trump. Contrast is made between Freud’s openness to thinking the other, and Trump’s position in which, as Howard Jacobson puts it, ‘nothing strange to him is allowed entry’. Finally, attention is given to the question of ‘dream treatment’, above all the question of (in Cixous’s words in Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing) ‘how to treat the dream as dream’.

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