Emily-Rose Baker
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The Third Reich of Dreams
Resisting fascism through the oneiric unconscious
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Between 1933 and 1939, Berlin-based Jewish journalist Charlotte Beradt undertook a clandestine project to collect the nightmares of the German nation, which were eventually published in 1966 under the title The Third Reich of Dreams. Demonstrating the deep psychological reach of the Third Reich, which penetrated even the unconscious minds of its subjects during sleep, this extensive archive boasts over three-hundred dreams of German citizens, both Jews and gentiles, yet has received little critical attention since its publication over fifty years ago. This chapter critically examines the political potency and collective nature of dreams of Nazi fascism in Beradt’s archive alongside an analysis of Arthur Miller’s play Broken Glass (1994), in which a Jewish woman living in 1938 New York is inexplicably paralysed by reports of antisemitic violence in the Third Reich. By uniting these real and fictional episodes of the collective interwar unconscious, this chapter demonstrates the ability of dreams and other psychic modes to not only reflect but respond to the otherwise latent fears of the collective interwar imaginary as a reaction against the ways in which totalitarianism seeks to colonise the psyche. Bringing Michel Foucault’s early work on the dream as constitutive of the imagination into dialogue with Cathy Caruth’s notion of the ‘life drive’ central to traumatic dreams, I build on Sharon Sliwinski’s convincing notion of dreaming as an expressly political act to elucidate the decolonising logic harnessed by dreams.

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Dreams and atrocity

The oneiric in representations of trauma


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