Study Guide

R. in The Interpretation of Dreams

By Sigmund Freud

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In Freud's Dream of Uncle Josef (4.1.10-11), "R." is one of the three men who are blended into one figure in the dream. Freud doesn't identify the real-life name of this friend, but he says that "R." was one of the colleagues "whose example I had taken as a warning to me" (4.1.8).

Like Freud, "R." was Jewish and had been nominated for "promotion to professorship" in the university (4.1.8). However, because of the anti-Semitic climate in turn-of-the-century Vienna, the Minister of Education had chosen not to give "R." the promotion for which he had been nominated.

As Freud's interpretation of the Dream of Uncle Josef makes clear, "R." appears as a "simpleton" in the dream so that Freud can look good by comparison (4.1.15-16). As Freud says, "[i]f the appointment of my friends R. and N. had been postponed for 'denominational' reasons" (translation: because they were Jewish), "my own appointment was also open to doubt; if, however, I could attribute the rejection of my two friends to other reasons, which did not apply to me, my hopes would remain untouched" (4.1.16).

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