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A New Kind of Dream: Freud, Trauma, and WWI
A Look at War and Artistic Creation Through the Theories of Cathy Caruth and Sigmund Freud
Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, the “father of psychoanalysis,” is perhaps best known to the general public for his work on the unconscious, sexuality, the ego, and dreams. He showed us the often-enigmatic ways past traumatic experiences play themselves out in the present.
Freud’s work with WWI combat veterans marked an unprecedented turn in his understanding of dreams and trauma as his focus on the individual transformed into a study of community and the collective unconscious. The war not only had professional but personal implications for him; his two sons, Jean-Martin and Ernst, fought for Austria, a country that, almost 20 years later forced Freud, a Jew, and his family into exile when the Nazis took over. Three of his four sisters died in concentration camps during WWII.