Study Guide

Frau L. in The Interpretation of Dreams

By Sigmund Freud

Frau L.

Frau L. was a woman of Freud's acquaintance—and someone he had previously treated medically (5.2.9).

Although Freud doesn't tell us much about her, we do know that she helped to inspire Freud's interpretation of his Dream of the Botanical Monograph (5.2.7). As Freud explains, Frau L. had once told him a story about her marriage. Her husband usually brought her flowers on her birthday, but one year he forgot. She interpreted this as a sign of her husband's waning affections and, as Freud says, she "was not to be consoled" (5.2.7).

As Freud interprets the Dream of the Botanical Monograph, he recalls that story. Given the context of the dream, it makes him think of the fact that he rarely brings his own wife flowers, even though she often brings his favorite "flower" home to him. Since Freud's favorite flowers were artichokes, Frau L.'s story provides an associative bridge to another element of the dream—a childhood memory in which Freud pulled a book apart "like an artichoke" (5.2.14).

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