Dare To Dream: Analyzing Dream Interpretation As An Act Of Translation In Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria

  • Bonnie Tulloch


Dream interpretation is not a primary focus of the translation scholar. This lack of attention is surprising considering the substantial influence psychoanalysis has had on literary theory. Freud’s interpretations are acts of translation. As a translator he seeks to render the foreign, or unconscious, accessible to public view. Freud claims that dreams are disguised representations of repressed desires lurking in the unconscious (Dora 59- 60). Thus, any translation of dreams requires an aggressive transformation of their original content. In his case study Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria Freud applies his theory to his interpretation of a young woman’s dreams, explaining her hysteria through the sexual repression underlying their content. His interpretations resonate with Lawrence Venuti’s concept of foreignization (Invisibility 22); they are controversial because they challenge cultural modes of perception. As a translator Freud hopes to liberate society through his new understanding of human behavior. I examine how Freud’s approach to dream interpretation relates to current issues in translation theory. Specifically, I look at how his abusive methods challenge traditional notions of fidelity, freeing the translator to create. His work is more than a straightforward decoding of a text. This paper will explore Freud’s innovative perspective and the insight it offers into the translation process. His method of psychoanalysis, which has benefited the study of literature, can equally benefit the study of its translation.