Dreaming, Vol. 9, No. 1, 1999

    Dreaming, Vol. 9, No. 1, 1999

Dreaming and the Impossible Art of Translation


Carol Schreier Rupprecht, PhD [i]



This essay identifies translation both as an historically core metaphor in Euro-American dream theory and as a contemporary ally for dream teaching and research. It also traces the mutuality of translators' reliance on Freud, Jung, and other dream theorists in their metaphorical expression of the art and craft of translation. The sustained interaction of oneiric and linguistic metaphor-making stems from the fact that virtually all of our knowledge about dreams has been mediated through language and that all dream reporting is itself an act of intersemiotic translation. In an attempt to stimulate further comparative inquiry, the overlapping concerns and often uncanny affinities between language/translation studies and dream/interpretation studies are articulated.


Keywords: dream, education, language, reading, translation, Freud, Jung


Translation it is that openeth the window, to let in the light; that breaketh the shell, that we may eat the kernel; that putteth aside the curtain, that we may look into the most holy place; that removeth the cover of the well, that we may come by the water... (Smith [1611 Preface] In Opfell 1982, 148)

 It is impossible as a rule to translate a dream into a foreign language...[ii]


 This essay could easily have borne a different title: "Translation and the Impossible Art of Writing (and Reading) a Dream Report." The central premise is that every time we write down a dream-and every time we read a dream report-we enact a process of translation: a transfer of meaning from one language to another. To speak of the "language" of dreams, of course, is to speak metaphorically, as so many writers have done in the extensive corpus of research on language and dreaming. Unfortunately, the metaphor has degenerated into a cliché by habitual and unexamined use. One aim of this essay is to reinvigorate this vitiated metaphor by returning "language" to its literal sense and placing it in the context of translation. Despite their strong interest in language, the majority of dream researchers have been strangely silent on translation.[1][iii] Possible explanations for this silence will emerge as the essay goes on, but for now let me proceed with this intriguing albeit neglected subject and the story of how it came initially to my attention.


With help from a variety of sources, I pose and respond to one question: What do people interested in the study of dreaming have to gain from attention to the process of translation? For the sake of clarity in the often obfuscating discourse on language of and in dreams, I will start by anchoring my terms as much as possible within their denotative boundaries, knowing that it is the very nature and special value of these particular terms to press against such boundaries and to resist definition. I use language to refer strictly to that system of sounds and signs we mean when we speak of a "native" or a "foreign" language. By translation I refer very specifically to what has been called translation proper: interlingual translation as the transfer of meaning from one language to another; the interpretation of verbal signs in one language by means of verbal signs in another (Steiner, 1992, 436). "Translating consists in producing in the receptor language the closest natural equivalent to the message of the source language..." (Nida, 1966, 19). I use dream as coterminous with the written dream record composed by the dreamer upon awakening, the artifact that researchers like David Koulack insistently, and aptly, remind us is "the report of the memory of the dream" (Koulack, 1991, 11).


Finally, I will not be concerned with dreamers themselves, except for the students in my dream and translation seminars whom you will meet as we go along. This study is not motivated by the instrumentality of those psychologists who want the dream to serve therapeutic goals for an individual dreamer or by the objectives of those scientists who search for evidence of the physiological determinants of all human dreaming. Instead it seeks to open one more window on dreaming, to let in a particular light that has been shuttered off, so that all dreamers, and dream workers from any discipline, may expand their notion of what goes into a dream report and what, if we can learn how to read it, may come out of this linguistic construction. And I mean "read" in Hans-Georg Gadamer's sense: "Reading is already translation and translation is translation for the second time. The process comprises in its essence the whole secret of human understanding and social communication" (Gadamer in Biguenet, 1989, ix).


When I began to invest time in dreaming and translation studies, I encountered a few obstacles. The first was a lack of interest in dreaming among academic colleagues in language and literature who had command of many languages-and a commensurate lack of interest in translation among U.S. dream researchers, most of whom were stolidly monoglot. Those with no languages other than their first or native tongue considered their condition natural and hardly noteworthy and exhibited little curiosity about those whose language background differed. On the other hand, those who were multilingual, including several Jungian analysts I interviewed in Zurich in the 1970's for a study of language in dreams, also considered their condition natural and unremarkable. The plight of the monolingual had never entered their minds. Further, no academic discipline provided or yet provides a home for translation or offers the professional formula for legitimizing its study. It is not, as generally thought, a sub-field of applied linguistics, and its chief exponent, George Steiner, resists labeling as "theory" even his own extended discourse on the subject. This essay, then, among its other aims, attempts to shift translation from the margins of two areas of inquiry to the center of their combined study. I introduce readers to the connection between translation and dreaming by approaching it from three angles: historical, comparative, and pedagogical.

 How has translation functioned as a core metaphor in Euro-American dream theory of the twentieth century? In other words, what have dream theorists of diverse and often divergent schools of oneiric belief meant when they have used the term and concept of "translation"? And what have Euro-American translators of the same era gained in metaphoric elucidation of their art by recourse to dream theory?

 What happens in the university classroom when dream research and humanities pedagogy are conflated and placed at the intersection of dream theory and translation theory?

 What do the affinities between dream theory and translation theory point toward for the future direction of dream study?


Inconsequential Impossibilities

  Ein Traum ist in der Regel unübersetzbar in andere Sprachen...2


The moment of initiation into awareness of the interdependence of translation and dreaming came to me as a university student while reading on my own Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams in James Strachey's English. I was continually drawn with almost magnetic force to Freud's footnotes, which rippled along beneath his main arguments. At the bottom of many pages I found what were to me Freud's most interesting observations, especially on language. The main site of discovery was a 1911 footnote to a 1909 footnote to the edition dated 1900. Part of that footnote forms the epigraph above: "Ein Traum ist in der Regel unübersetzbar in andere Sprachen..." (Freud [1900] 1961, 71). In Strachey's version, the sentence fragment reads: "It is impossible as a rule to translate a dream into a foreign language..." (Freud [1900] 1954, 99).


Why, I wondered, would this be so? I was at that time already competent in two languages beyond my own native English and thus familiar with the phenomenon of translation. The "foreign" languages I knew, Latin and French, turned up regularly in my dreams. I had translated lyric poems, and parts of longer literary pieces, from one language to another. I had composed my own poetry in French. Translation proper-that transfer of meaning from one language to another-was, I had learned from these experiences, impossible. I had also learned, however, as George Steiner would confirm for me much later, that there were no "empirical consequences" to this impossibility. Humans all over the world would need to go on communicating, and so they would go on translating no matter what reservations they had about the process. Translation was as inevitable as it was impossible. And I could see no reason why the text of a dream report would not be at least as translatable as that of a dense, allusive, image-laden lyric poem.

 Since Freud was, of course, speaking about the written report of a remembered "manifest" dream and not the "latent" dream thoughts that he saw as the appropriate focus of attention, I could understand his reservations on translatability from that perspective. In addition, he would require the presence and participation of the dreamer, although he doesn't qualify his statement to suggest that a dreamer might be able to translate his or her own dream. In fact, his claim actually seemed to arise from interests that went well beyond the latent/manifest distinction. Some of these interests, which certainly predated the founding of psychoanalysis, had already shown up in preceding footnotes.[1][iv] It is possible to uncouple Freud's thought on translation from the premises and principles of psychoanalysis; the same is true for Jung's ideas on translation and his system of analytical psychology.

As I read further in Freud's Collected Works, I soon found "translation" and its related grammatical forms to be ubiquitous. Indeed, Freud invoked translation so often that it seemed to function as a "root metaphor" in my secular adaptation of Kelly Bulkeley's definition of that term: a metaphor that "expresses our ultimate existential concerns and provides meanings that orient" our intellectual topics and explorations (Bulkeley, 1994, 145).

 Closer reading of footnotes in The Interpretation of Dreams leads us to the second half of the complete sentence from which the epigraph (in English for this essay and in German for this section) are extracted. That clause expresses Freud's skepticism about the translatability even of books about dreaming, including his own: "Ein Traum ist in der Regel unübersetzbar in andere Sprachen und ein Buch wie das vorliegende, meinte ich, darum auch." (Freud [1900] 1961, 104) In Strachey's English: "It is impossible as a rule to translate a dream into a foreign language and this is equally true, I fancy, of a book such as the present one." (Freud [1900] 1954, 99) An extra footnote appended in 1930 to the 1919 footnote demonstrated, however, that Freud eventually arrived at a more pragmatic position on translation of dreams and of dream research than he had held at the turn of the century.

 By the 1920's, Freud must have realized that his work was gaining a wide audience only through translation into other languages; so he gave his personal sanction to translations by A. A. Brill (1913) and anonymous "others": "Nichtsdestoweniger ist es zuerst Dr. A. A. Brill in New York, dann anderen nach ihm, gelungen, Übersetzungen der Traumdeutung zu schaffen" (Freud [1942] 1961, 104). ["Nevertheless Dr. A.A. Brill of New York, and others after him, have succeeded in translating The Interpretation of Dreams" (Freud [1900] 1954, 99; Trans. Strachey). Subsequent readers of English translations who are also able to read Freud in the original German have been less laudatory.[1][v] 

There remains, however, one additional translation issue here. In A. A. Brill's version of the sentence, Freud simply says that "dreams are, as a rule, not translatable into other languages."(Freud [1900] 1913, 82). Brill rendered unübersetzbar as untranslatable. Nowhere in the German passage does the adjective unmöglichkeit (impossible) appear. Strachey simply introduced the adjective into his "translation." While Brill was more accurate here in diction than Strachey was, he is not totally reliable either. Brill omitted entirely the part of Freud's sentence that cast doubt on the translatability of Die Traumdeutung, the very project in which Brill was engaged. It is significant, however, that Freud and his English translators have let his comment on the untranslatability of a dream stand through all subsequent editions even though it has meant truncating Freud's original sentence. 

I have presented Freud's footnote with all its accretions because it is a microcosm of the complexities of reading in translation, showing the variability in even a single sentence of clear prose. It is my way of saying for this essay: caveat lector. I do not want to confirm or refute Freud's postulate on untranslatability in its weak form or its strong form; rather I want to use it as an impetus for tracing the translation metaphor in Freud, in Jung who is usually neglected in language-based studies of dreaming, and in two later archetypalists, James Hillman and Paul Kugler. I want also to show the ways in which practicing translators analogized their work with the dream theorizing of Freud and Jung. 

Throughout I join forces with translation scholar George Steiner as he takes the first giant step to move dreaming and translation off their parallel paths of analogy and metaphor onto a network of interpenetration and interdependence. I also show some of what happened when I offered college students in my Comparative Literature classes the opportunity, which I had stumbled upon as an undergraduate, to engage Freud's position on oneiric translatability. My students considered Freudian views along with the theoretical stances of other writers, including George Steiner, as part of their conjoint study of dream theory and translation theory. Finally, with the students' assistance, I explore some of the remaining affinities between the two areas of inquiry and imagine a new future for dream study. 

It seems awkward and almost self-parodying to demonstrate Freud's and Jung's preoccupation with translation by citing from their works in English versions only, but in fact a majority of world readers, including readers of Dreaming, have not had recourse to either author in German. Further, übersetzen does not lend itself to many optional word choices or to ambiguity, so when the word appears in English, we can have some confidence about its proximity to the authors' intended meaning in German.

 Translation is allied to one of the many fundamental perspectives Freud and Jung shared in the beginning of their careers, a metaphor which can be called "the dream as text" (Rupprecht 1977). One extension of that metaphor was to link language and dreams and to discuss dreams in terms of translation. Freud set forth his view of the nature of dreams and his process of analysis in The Interpretation of Dreams and concluded:

 We are thus presented with a new task which had no previous existence: the task, that is, of investigating the relations between the manifest content of dreams and the latent dream-thoughts, and of tracing out the processes by which the latter have been changed into the former. (Freud [1900] 1954, 277; Trans. Strachey)

 Freud usually labeled "dream-work" the process by which the dreamer transforms the threatening latent dream thoughts into the acceptable content of a manifest dream, but at times he used "translation" as a synonym for that process. He also applied "translation" to the process by which the knowledgeable analyst turns the dream content of the manifest report back into the latent, originary dream thoughts:

 The dream-thoughts and the dream-content are presented to us like two versions of the same subject-matter in two different languages. Or, more properly, the dream-content seems like a transcript [Übertragung in the original] of the dream-thoughts into another mode of expression, whose characters and syntactic laws it is our business to discover by comparing the original and the translation. The dream-thoughts are immediately comprehensible, as soon as we have learnt them. The dream-content, on the other hand, is expressed as it were in a pictographic script [Brill says hieroglyphics], the characters of which have to be transposed individually into the language of the dream-thoughts. (Ibid.)

 This paradigm, then, actually gave birth to two translators in psychoanalysis: One-the analyst-illuminates and reveals; the other-the dreamer/censor-obfuscates and conceals. The analyst becomes a remarkable figure in the history of translators, rather like a Biblical Daniel who can actually produce the original dream which is unknown to the dreamer as well as grasp-and communicate to others-the meaning of that dream. And the analyst does this by "translation." The move is an extraordinary one, some inverse or reverse rendition of intersemiotic translation, going from an already translated text-the dream report, a set of verbal signs-back to an original non-text-the latent dream thoughts, a shift for which there is no precedent I know in the practice of interlingual translation. The analyst becomes the unraveler of the fabric of the dream report (the metaphor is Freud's) and enacts a kind of transubstantiation even more ingenious than that which Freud attributes to the dreamer/censor. Freud also wrote that the analyst's task was "to translate the dream into the language of waking life" (Collected Papers 5: 139-40, 150). For him this meant undoing the dream-work's transformation of the latent dream thoughts so that the patient could gain access to the latter with his or her conscious ego.

Translators who found Freud's dream theory plausible identified readily with the processes he described, but the patterns of analogizing took unexpected turns. Some saw the dreamer/censor as a typically bad translator and the "dream-work" as a kind of failed translation. One was Robert Adams, professor and translator of Voltaire and Stendahl into English. In his book on translation, Proteus: His Lies, His Truth (1973), Adams wrote the following criticism of a French translation of a William Faulkner novel, The Sound and the Fury:

 The translator obviously brought to his task genuine care and respect. Yet, perhaps for that very reason, his translation tends to level, to soften, to iron out the asperities and tangles of Faulkner's text. What Freud called 'dream work,' which is the energy devoted by the mind to softening and transforming the raw materials of psychic trauma into endurable dream-equivalents, has its counterparts in 'translation-work.' In the case of The Sound and the Fury this translation-work takes its simplest, most ordinary, and most depressing form - it is prevailingly inertia, friction, and occasionally static. (28) 

Adams' observation seems to describe accurately the surprising flatness often found in the prose of a dream report when the original dream appears to have been one of great intensity: exotic adventure, bizarre inversion of waking life realities, deep affect. The dreamer's reading aloud of such a report or narrating the dream orally can sometimes reinvest the material with some of the original experience's energy, but, on the whole, dream reports tend to be drastically deflated versions of their often powerfully expressive antecedents. Yet Adams' main point is to identify the novel with the dream and the poor translator with the dreamer/censor.

 Adams does not extend his comparison toward the position that a good translator would be the figure who corresponds to the analyst in Freud's formulation, but other translators did see themselves as playing the role of the analyst, of the patient/dreamer, or of both. There is a kind of helter/skelter transferring and projecting of their own feelings and texts onto diverse participants (person/dream/dream report) in the psychoanalytic process. It is not clear whether an impetus for certain role correlations was the orthographical and sound resemblance between words-as in the case of translation and transference-but pairs such as this have mutual reverberations throughout the translators' writing.

 As Freud succinctly phrased it in his last words on the subject, a year before his death in 1939, transference is the process whereby the patient sees "in his analyst the return-the reincarnation-of some important figure out of his childhood and past, and consequently transfers on to him feelings and reactions that undoubtedly applied to his model" (Freud [1938] 1949, 66; Trans. Strachey). Freud had earlier gone into greater detail about this peculiar response of the neurotic to treatment in the psychoanalytic dyad:

 ...he applies to the person of the physician a great amount of tender emotion, often mixed with enmity, which has no foundation in any real relation, and must be derived in every respect from the old wish-fancies of the patient which have become unconscious. Every fragment of his emotive life, which can no longer be called back into memory, is accordingly lived over by the patient in his relations to the physician. (Ibid.) 

Although Freud uses terms of transfer, he does not apply Übersetzung to the interaction. Translators nonetheless sought in Freud's depiction of the analyst/patient relationship their personal experience of relationship to the author of the original text they were translating. Translators seemed willing to analogize the analyst/patient with the translator/author whether the author was living and present, or long dead and decidedly unavailable. In an exemplary passage written in 1966, Harvard professor of Comparative Literature and Italian Renaissance scholar Renato Poggioli made this comparison emphatic and elaborate:

 There is no paradox in maintaining that this leads us to a psychological theory of translation and even in claiming that such a theory must be a Freudian one. Yet the translator is not an inhibited artist, satisfied only when he is able to lay the burning ashes of his heart in a well-wrought urn outside of himself. Or one can say that he succeeds in overcoming his repressions [making translator the patient?] only in his tête-à-tête with a foreign poet; [making the poet the analyst?]; and that he ends by sublimating his inhibitions through the catharsis of an alien form. Translation is up to a point an exorcism, or, if we prefer, the conjuration through another spirit, of one's Self. Using for our own purpose the title of a famous play of Pirandello [Six Characters in Search of an Author/Sei personnagi in cerca d'autore] one may say that the translator is a character in search of an author, in whom he can identify, or at least transpose, a part of himself. Such identification is not an impersonation; it is rather a transference, in the psychoanalytic meaning of the term. (141)

 Poggioli, like many European and American translators, relies on a Freudian model of clinical interaction, for in Jungian psychology transference, except in cases of the possibly psychotic analysand, is relegated to a far less central role. Jung, however, did make in German the explicit link between Übersetzung (translation) and Übertragung (transference) when he was speaking in 1935 during the Tavistock lectures in London:

 The term 'transference' is the translation of the German word Übertragung. Literally Übertragung means: to carry something over from one place to another. The word Übertragung is also used in the metaphorical sense to designate the carrying over from one form into another. Therefore in German, it is synonymous with Übersetzung - that is, translation. ([1935] 1968, 153; Trans. Hull) 

Here there appears to be conflation, based on letter and sound similarities, without taking account of significant semantic differences and without exploring the implications of different operational levels of the figurative and the literal. The metaphorical use of one term becomes synonymous with the literal use of another. Despite such differences, the sense of resemblance is reinforced in translations of Jung because the word similarity is echoed in English.

Similar pairings that grip the imagination recur in our dream and translation sources; perhaps words naming such phenomena are particularly susceptible to recurrent association. Consider the ineradicable cliché from the Italian: tradurre/tradire. The echo is not so insistent in the English infinitive: to translate/to betray. But the noun forms are homomorphic except in number of syllables: tradutore/traditore and translator/traitor. The compelling force that leads to endless reiteration of these coupled terms seems to hint at deeply held, perhaps unconscious, convictions, intuitions, hopes and fears. This pair underscores the dark side of translation as an inevitable process of loss, as in Robert Frost's endlessly echoed definition of poetry as that which "gets lost in translation." In Italian and in English, the paired words express both fear of deception and betrayal and fascination with these shadowy aspects of human nature.

 Throughout French literature one finds a similarly recurrent and suggestive liaison between the nouns songe (dream) and mensonge (lie, failure to tell the truth). One sestet from a sonnet by Louise Labé, sixteenth century poet, exemplifies literary use of this rhyme scheme which mixes masculine and feminine endings:" O dous sommeil, o nuit a moy heureuse!/Plaisant repos, plein de tranquilité,/Continuez toutes les nuiz mon songe:/Et si iamais ma poure ame amoureuse/Ne doit avoir de bien en verité,/ Faites au moins qu'elle en ait en mensonge."[1][vi] (See Note 6 for English translation.) Linguistic perseveration in this instance seems to reflect the deep anxiety over the danger of being misled by language and by dream. Is my lover telling me the truth, or lying? Is this possibly duplicitous dream of divine or demonic origin? Such linkages of pair words are so assiduously maintained despite the lack of etymological legitimation that one suspects a highly charged psychic sub-stratum. (See Sarah White in this issue and Paul Kugler, following.)

 Returning to our original pair words, Horst Frenz, scholar, professor, editor, and translator (of Gerhart Hauptmann's plays into English), also applied the Freudian idea of transference to the poet/translator relationship in a 1961 essay, "The Art of Translation." He then extended the comparison to include a dimension that Jung would have recognized and applauded.

 It is clear that a translator must bring sympathy and understanding to the work he is to translate. He must be the original author's most intimate, most exact, in short, his best reader. But he must do more than read. He must attempt to see what the author saw, to hear what he heard, to dig into his own life in order to experience anew what the author experienced...but what is more important is that he be able to imagine the situation - that he understand what a German translator has called the 'lebendige Zusammenhang" [vital (living) conditions and circumstances]. The translator as the writer must be sensitive to the mythological, historical and social traditions reflected in a language. (120)

 Jung, in his own early work, maintained Freud's distinction between the latent and manifest levels of a dream and appears also to have inherited the dream-as-text metaphor and its concomitant idea of translation as dream interpretation. In the "Analysis of Dreams," written originally in French and published in 1909, and in some other works he just modifies Freud's distinction by assigning a compensatory function: "Naturally the purposeful character of the dream content cannot be directly seen from the manifest dream content; it requires an analysis of this manifest content to reach the actual compensatory factors of the latent dream contents" (Analysis of Dreams [1909] In CW 4, para.66; Trans. Mairet, rev. Hull).

 Later in his career, however, Jung challenged Freud's position but retained and even expanded his metaphors. Jung began to insist first on the primacy and then on the exclusive validity of the manifest dream. He stated in 1931 in a lecture called "The Practical Use of Dream Analysis": "The manifest dream picture is the dream itself and contains the whole meaning of the dream" ([1934] 1961, CW 16. para. 319; pg. 149; Trans. C. F. Baynes and W. S. Dell). In saying this. Jung replaced a favorite Freudian metaphor of the dream as a house of which the manifest dream is only a facade (and a facade in the negative sense of being a false front) with an expanded version of the dream-as-a-text which we need to learn how to read.

 Like the doctor, they want to get behind the dream at once in the false belief that the dream is a mere facade concealing the true meaning. But the so-called facade of most houses is by no means a fake or a deceptive distortion; on the contrary it follows the plan of the building and often betrays the interior arrangement...What Freud calls the dream façade is the dream's obscurity, and this is really only a projection of our own lack of understanding. We say that the dream has a false front only because we fail to see into it. We would do better to say that we are dealing with something like a text that is unintelligible not because it has a facade-the text has no facade-but simply because we cannot read it. We do not have to get behind such a text, but must first learn to read it. (Ibid.) 

Extending the dream as text metaphor in his later writing, Jung stressed reading as the essential process prior to interpretation. He gradually moved from Freud's free association toward a method that he called amplification: extending and deepening dream content with analogous images from a variety of sources such as myth and legend. Jung's awareness that interpretation depended completely on that initial process of reading is affirmed by practicing translators: "All acts of translation begin with a thorough investigation of the reading process...[Translators] explore each word first as word and then as a reflection of a larger cultural and historical context" (Biguenet 1989, ix).

 Like Freud, Jung often spoke of dream hieroglyphics, of the "pictorial and sensual language" of dreams. In the Tavistock lectures he used Freud's own terms and images for the dream as a text, while establishing a very different procedure for translation of that text.

 I do not apply the method of free association because my goal is not to know the complexes; I want to know what the dream is. Therefore I handle the dream as if it were a text which I do not understand properly, say a Latin or Greek or Sanskrit text, where certain words are unknown to me or the text is fragmentary, and I merely apply the ordinary method any philologist would apply in reading such a text. My idea is that the dream does not conceal; we simply do not understand its language. For instance, if I quote to you a Latin or a Greek passage, some of you will not understand it, but that is not because the text dissimulates or conceals, it is because you do not know Greek or Latin. ([1931] 1968, 92; Trans. Hull)

 Jung continued to develop the analogy of his work with that of the philologist whose methodology he seems to present as two kinds of decoding, on the one hand as interlingual translation from one text to another and on the other hand from unknown non-alphabetic writing, such as that on clay tablets, to an alphabet-based language. At its rudimentary level the latter process would be simple transliteration; at another level, Jung seems to mean intersemiotic translation, between sets of differently constituted sign systems, e.g., pictorial to linguistic. Ultimately he seems to want the language analogy to anchor his amplification method.

 I adopt the method of the philologist, which is far from being free association, and apply a logical principle which is called amplification. It is simply that of seeking parallels. For instance, in the case of a very rare word which you have never come across, you try to find parallel text passages, parallel applications perhaps, where that word also occurs, and then you try to put the formula you have established from the knowledge of other texts into the new text. If you make the new text a readable whole, you say, 'Now we can read it.' That is how we learned to read hieroglyphics and cuneiform inscriptions and that is how we can learn to read dreams. (Ibid.)

 Jung described his strategy for interpreting dreams: "I therefore proceed as I would in deciphering a difficult text" (ibid., 92). Such a presentation of his amplification method makes it a way of reading dreams close to the practice of translating texts: As he says in "The Practical Use of Dream-Analysis": "Every interpretation is an hypothesis, an attempt to read an unknown text" (CW 16, para. 322, pg. 150).  

 From the perspective of the postmodern revolution in critical theory, which was just gaining momentum at the end of Jung's life in 1961 and now seems to have reached its watershed,[1][vii] Jung's musing on what he calls philology and on translation often sound unsophisticated. He has confidence in a linguistic stability and referentiality that have been sucked away in an undertow from the late twentieth century tsunami of critical theory. A text has now reached the definitional apogee (or nadir, depending on your point of view) in Kelly Bulkeley's "a text is that which can be interpreted" (1994, 100). But archetypal psychologist Paul Kugler (1982) argued in The Alchemy of Discourse that Jung not only antedated but also anticipated and even worked out in some detail the psycholinguistic principles that are attributed to Claude Lévi-Strauss and Ferdinand de Saussure. 

It is not necessary, however, to accept the argument about Jung as the unacknowledged harbinger to find Kugler's insights fresh and especially applicable to a discussion of dreaming and translation, as we will see when we return to his work later. For now I want to look to an earlier archetypal psychologist, James Hillman, who greatly influenced Kugler and was in turn influenced by him (Hillman, 1979, 208).

 An Eranos lecture in 1973 formed the basis for Hillman's The Dream and the Underworld (1979). There Hillman proposed that the analyst's task was to " translate the ego into dream language" and not the dream into ego language (95). This was a reversal of Freud's dictum for which Jung's theory provided the momentum and the material. Hillman further claimed that the dream is psyche speaking to itself in its own language (12). And he warned his readers of the limitations of their ego language.

 Hillman's position is buttressed by translators like Jackson Matthews and Roger Shattuck. Matthews describes his efforts to turn Valéry's French verse into English and warns of the limitations of a one-language poet: "He may not become conscious enough of his own language, of language as objective matter to be working in" (1966, 70-71). For, as Matthews further observes, "Once a sensibility has been deeply formed in a language [Hillman would say the language of ego consciousness], it is bound to hear other languages comparatively, to feel their rhythms against the background of its own" (67). The danger Matthews sees for the monoglot and Hillman for the ego-dominated individual is that neither can truly hear the differences of expression in languages other than the single one they have acquired. Thus, they are cut off from different ways of experiencing and perceiving and consequently barred from new options for being and becoming, options for the societies in which they live as well as for themselves as individuals intrapsychically or interpersonally.

 In his determination to provoke readers into probing beyond the extant conventions of thinking about dreams, Hillman takes an extreme position: don't go over the bridge to the Underworld (the Unconscious) and then return; go over the bridge to the Underworld and then let the bridge burn behind you. Hillman is very clear about the items of baggage that must be left behind on such a trip and translation is one of them, although he himself does not cease using this term and concept throughout the book: "This one way passage means forswearing all the processes which bind us to the upper world, especially translation, reclamation, compensation" (13). But abandoning the world of consciousness for the world of dream or remaining monolingual and culturally insular were not practical alternatives in the 1970's and they are not now. 

Words and dreams, naturally polysemous and polyvalent, offer us a contrasting alternative: the multiplication of possibilities in translation and interpretation beyond the bridge metaphor, which allows for only one way or two-way crossings, by making use of multilinguality and translation to develop a dynamic of exchange commensurate with the multiplicity of tongues active in waking life around the world and the multiplicity of dreams arising in the sleep of the world's people. Try replacing a bridge with a transfusion and you perceive the difference in the metaphors that dream workers can borrow from translators. The prefix trans- may mean across but, instead of thinking of going from one fixed place to another via a human-constructed edifice, think about the infusion of new life-giving cells into a receptor with no dimunition of life in the donor as a metaphor for dreaming and then writing down and reading the dream report.

 Roger Shattuck characterizes translation's benefits in another way: "In its truest role translation does not consist solely in reducing all foreign works to the limitations of, say, English, but equally in reshaping and enlarging English to reach meanings which it has not yet had to grapple with" (1954, 230). Similarly, by the committed retrieval of dreams and informed, attentive writing and reading of dream reports, the dreamer can begin to expand the ego's receptivity to material from the unconscious, an expansion of the native language by influx of a foreign language which Shattuck has observed in action and has himself achieved. The ultimate reach of this idea is expressed in virtually Kabbalistic terms by George Steiner: "The translator enriches his tongue by allowing the source language to penetrate and modify it. But he does far more: he extends his native idiom towards the hidden absolute of meaning" (1992, 67).


 Such a semantic ideal figures also In The Alchemy of Discourse where Paul Kugler sets out a psycholinguistics that he derives from the work of Jung. He starts from a position I have taken in this essay, of showing what Freud and Jung have in common and then tracing their divergence. I have tried to go on from their early agreements, however, to a contrastive study that does not privilege psychoanalysis over analytical psychology or vice versa but identifies the unique contributions of each to this study of dreaming and translation. Writers generally, however, seem to need to assert the superiority of one through disparagement of the other and Kugler stays within that tradition.

As an archetypalist, Kugler not only asserts Jung's priority of thought in regard to certain trends in linguistics and anthropology; he also puts Freud and Jung in competition over their psycholinguistic understanding. While Kugler notes that their common point of departure was word association experiments, Freud incorrectly saw as arbitrary and coincidental associations that Jung appropriately regarded as meaningful. Kugler argues, for example, that, whereas Freud (in Totem and Taboo) dismissed connections made by children between sound-associated words, Jung saw through the apparent chance coincidences of letter and sound similarity to an underlying archetypal basis. In Kugler's words: "Perhaps the reason dreamers, poets, and madmen display such an uncanny sense of the imagination is that their perceptual systems-like those of the oral tellers of myths-are tuned to the invariant archetypal structures of sound and image" (Kugler 1982, 28).

Kugler narrowly skirts primitivizing here and one of the moves that saves him from this trap is that he brings in comparative languages to support the idea of a cross-cultural archetypal invariant beneath the word connections: "...amplification of the linguistic complex will take a more concrete shape as the German, French, and Hungarian counterparts are brought into the picture" (23). Kugler uses examples such as the relation between violet and violate in English, between Blumen (bloom) and Blut (blood) in German.  Further, Kugler places Jung and himself within "the revolutionary paradigm shift" of the early twentieth century from "theories based on the primacy of matter to theories founded on the primacy of relations" whether in atomic physics or depth psychology (34) or, I would add, dream or translation theory. Kugler feels compelled to give relations ascendancy over matter rather than seeing them as complementary. Yet wherever we look in dreaming and in translating we encounter not dualistic tension-Freud v. Jung, relations v. matter-but multiplicity and motion, diversity and dynamism. 

The best studies in both fields are directed by these energies and celebrate them. Harry Hunt's felicitously titled The Multiplicity of Dreams (1989) is a celebration of "the multiplicity of dream forms" because they offer "some of the most convincing evidence for the potential unity amidst endless diversity that constitutes the human mind" (x). What Hunt assays within cognitive and dynamic psychologies, anthropology, and neurophysiology, George Steiner enacts for translation in After Babel, where he exults in the "psychic indispensability of the prodigality of diverse languages" (xv) and instigates a possible reinterpretation of the Tower of Babel story as promise rather than punishment. Hunt's devising of a new taxonomy for the diversity in dreams and Steiner's creation of a dynamic four-step translation process for passage among multiple languages are complementary strategies. 

The most recent dream worker to advocate multiplicity as a sine qua non of dream study, Kelly Bulkeley, foregrounds religious and spiritual dimensions in his own work but, like so many of his predecessors in other fields, he also turns to translation, here in the philosophical rendering of Hans-Georg Gadamer. Although I think Bulkeley, like so many researchers, unduly restricts Freud's view of translation to a formulaic symbol substitution, his use of Gadamer contributes significantly to the new emphasis in dream study: "Gadamer helps us see that the similarity [between dream interpretation and translation of foreign language texts] derives from the multiplicity of meanings that inevitably, and legitimately, emerges from the efforts of different interpreters working out of different contexts" (Bulkeley 1994, 103). 

Finally, the only formally recognized professional linguist I know who confesses to an interest in dreams and makes them part of his private and public life is Paul Friedrich. He makes fine contributions to dream study by also writing from the perspectives of cultural anthropology and of poetry on a five-year dream journal that he kept. His neologism-oneireme-to identify any of the elements of all dreaming that occur on many intersecting planes of sensory experience proves very helpful, as does the term he uses for his multidisciplinary view of the world, its constantly shifting parameters, and our always changing perspectives on it: parallax. By parallax he means "The apparent change in the position of an object resulting from a change in the direction or position from which it is viewed" (1986, epigraph).

Friedrich presumes continuous change and motion-his subject is "linguistic relativity and poetic indeterminacy"-as does Steiner who calls the carrying out of his new, four-step translation process the "hermeneutic motion." Further, a classic early article on dreams stressing the need to take account of fluidity and change is Montague Ullman's "Dreaming as Metaphor in Motion" (1969). He identifies the transition from a dream through memory to a dream report as a kind of psychological intersemiotic translation "of felt reactions into conscious experience," although he calls the process by the customary generic word, "translation." "It is in this sense that the dream is essentially a metaphor in motion" (699).

Ullman also sets the frontier of that translation process as far back as the falling asleep phase: "Is the hypnagogic image simply the first step in dreaming, namely the translation of the last remembered bit of cognitive data into a visual image?" (701). Ullman attacks Freudian psychoanalysis for taking away patients' initiative precisely when they need empowerment and, through the concept of the censor, denying them what dreams can uniquely offer: novelty, new ideas and ways of seeing, in short-creative capacity to re-envision their lives.

One ancillary benefit of such emphasis on multiplicity and motion is that it deflects certain Western tendencies toward dualism that seem always to infiltrate dream study and result in polarizations; I have been often guilty of such dichotomizing myself. It is fatally easy to represent the dream as transient life between such polarities as day/night, conscious/unconscious, waking/sleeping. The shift in emphasis away from duality frees up attention to the continuities among these phenomena and to the transition phases, the hypnagogic and hypnopompic. In addition, this extended inclusiveness helps depose some clichés that too narrowly govern oneiric thought. One such increasingly empty adage is the Aristotle quotation, "the best dream interpreter is he who recognizes resemblances." This is a misleading claim, too often invoked and usually oversimplified in its application. That Aristotelean sentence fragment in its original context is much more complex and metaphoric than the segment always quoted. In comparative analysis of dreams or languages, resemblance-seeking is by itself like a poor interlinear translation full of superficial similarities based on naive and false notions of synonymity. Translators tell us that the best of their kind seek out instead the "contrast-in-kinship" (Middleton in Biguenet 127). Relationships in oneiric and linguistic fields are like our consanguineous relatives whom we may resemble in many unavoidable ways; we understand the importance of recognizing and honoring the resemblances but our survival as an extended family depends on making room for fairly profound differences, and, for the world family, making room for multiple languages, too.

Without knowledge of either Jung's or Kugler's positions, working only from her exposure to Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams and George Steiner's After Babel, one student in my 1993 seminar on Dream Theory and Translation Theory, Marie Reniers, presented an unusual case that supports the meaningfulness of such communication through sound. Having lived in Cameroon during her junior year, she decided to address on an essay assignment a puzzling question: How could she describe to family and friends the "language" of drums which she had learned to hear in Cameroon, a language which spoke to her with unforgettable power? When she began the study of translation, she found a vocabulary for articulating her dilemma. She realized that she kept trying to "translate" the drum sounds into English words to convey her powerful response of having learned the language of the drums, a difficult move between two systems of signs, one aural and one oral.

In an essay on "West Africa's Oral Tradition, Drum Language and Intersemiotic Translation," she detailed what she had observed about orature (oral transmission through speech and sound-only transmission through drumming) and concluded: "If we go beyond a definition of speech that credits a progression of single letters as the source of certain meanings, we must confront the fact that it is often the sounds made by these signifiers that represent their effects on our minds." (2) She pointed out that, contrary to popular Western beliefs, drumming and the oral tradition did not always predate literacy and a written tradition in West Africa but often coexisted with them. Drums were not just used by the griot or storyteller as accompaniment or reinforcement; the drums could also tell stories on their own. Since no two drum performances are ever identical, or even greatly like each other, each performance can be seen as a translation; each performer as a translator. She argues that each telling "appropriates the story" in Steiner's sense, Marie Argues, since "each performer radically makes the text his own. Here I must question the emphasis we place upon the concept of the original text in our society" (5). No ranking of conformity to the original is done because no criteria for relative authenticity are workable. According to Marie, an expansion of the notion of translation is needed because the tests of fidelity or betrayal can't be applied; each performer is a creator, each performance a creation. Because the text does not exist without the performer, the translation can never fall short (6-7).

One can transfer these insights to dream reports and literary texts. Alfred Alvarez, the poet and fiction writer, shows how to do so in his evocative Night: Night Life, Night Work, Sleep and Dreams (1995). He recounts his experience in composing and in reading poetry where the life-sustaining element is the "way the line moves," an "inner rhythm," not unlike Kugler's invariant archetypal substratum. A line may have no visual elements at all, Alvarez observes, no concrete images, but "if you listen properly you can hear it stir and pause and breathe." He says also, "I know from my own experience that it is sometimes possible to hear a poem before you know what it is about, to get the movement before you get the words." This dynamic is the same, Alvarez says, as the dynamic in dreams (179-180).

I have had this sensation myself when listening to a speaker of a language other than English, sometimes a language in which I also have fluency, other times one unknown to me, like Chinese when I was living in Beijing. One can "hear" what is going on, not just in tone and mood, and even anticipate where the speaker is going semantically. One feels an inner inevitability about which words are in what order, what direction they must take and even at what pace they will proceed. Such experiences as Alvarez and I and others have shared may be related to the phenomenon that so intrigued Freud and some of his contemporaries: "Vaschidehas remarked that it has often been observed that in dreams people speak foreign languages more fluently and correctly than in waking life" ([1900] 1954, 11; Trans. Strachey). One has already (largely subconsciously perhaps) assimilated the language's inner rhythm and this attunement carries along with it certain formal aspects.

Mark Lee, another student in the 1993 seminar on Dream Theory and Translation Theory, speculated about that possible level of communication occurring in his dreams. His essay, "Language as a Second Language," deserves the extended verbatim quotation that follows. My explanatory interjections, made necessary by the excerpting I did from the essay, are bracketed; parentheses are Mark's.

In my experience, there is one place where people communicate with each other on the meta-level, bypassing spoken or written language all together. The place is in dreams. In dreams, characters communicate with each other through thoughts and direct feelings. [When we waken] our brains, upon conscious analysis [of our dream,] may put actual words in the mouths of our dream actors, but during dreaming the thoughts are communicated without a spoken language ("spoken" meaning vocal cords vibrating to create sound waves in the air). A case in point: I have had tri-lingual dreams where individual characters spoke in different languages, but this fact was not perceived by the other characters who in their waking lives do not know the languages spoken other than their own.

I have had dreams involving my mother speaking Korean, my French hostess speaking French, and myself speaking Korean, French and English and everybody understanding each other perfectly. It's not surprising that my dream ego understood everything-I know the three languages-but...when I spoke French or Korean to my host family without problems [of] being understood, there was obviously some fundamental level of communication that went beyond all three languages. I, being the dreamer who dreamt this impossible situation, must have been operating on this level since the individual languages had no meaning in and of themselves; their meanings were defined solely by the fact of their utility as a form of communication. In other words, French wasn't intrinsically French, English wasn't intrinsically English, and Korean wasn't intrinsically Korean. They were all different forms of the same thing: basic communication. This 'language,' I would like to believe, is my 'real' 'native tongue.' (11-12)

Both Mark Lee and Marie Reniers struggled with issues in the monadist/universalist debate (outlined in Steiner) between those who argued for the unique cultural specificity that would prohibit or at least severely restrict the possibilities of translation and those who argued for a human universality that not only allowed but facilitated translation.

 Taken further, I suppose that the belief in some sort of universal mode of communication implies the possibility of translations. While I tend to be a monadist in practical terms, my hope is that the universalist is right. (Lee, 12)

As one of the current trends in dream work takes us away from intrapsychic analysis (a kind of monadism of the individual) and toward study of the effects of dreaming on the collective life of society, we will be confronting similar issues. We will do well to remember, as Marie learned, that what we consciously know and observe about language is grounded in our total systems, as individuals and as societies, of knowledge and belief, what some anthropologists call the cultural matrix.

 Marie observed that the "native" languages of the stories written by West Africans were often languages imposed by colonizing nations, and she wondered about the effects of this on the West African literary expression. "Their orature has had to undergo translation into what might be called real and tangible evidence of their colonial experience" (10). Her study suggests that native speakers of English and other European languages need to be wary of their own version of colonization and domestication when undertaking translation of dreams at the figurative or literal inter-lingual level, especially in highly desirable cross-cultural comparative analyses. Serious ethical issues accompany such research, too.

 Anthropologist Barbara Tedlock's 1982 cross-cultural symposium on dreams, published as Dreaming: Anthropological and Psychological Interpretations (1987), substantiates a similar embeddedness of dreams in the cultural matrix, and her contributors emphasize the collective social functions of dreaming. As dream researchers move beyond the intrapsychic as the central focus of attention, this greater inclusiveness will need to be situated within linguistic as well as social contexts. A multilingual sensibility will be required to accompany the international and multicultural reach of comparative dream studies.

This new inclusiveness characterizes Kelly Bulkeley's The Wilderness of Dreams (1994), but I would have welcomed more direct attention to languages and specifically to the language of dream reports. Bulkeley draws examples from anthropological accounts of Native Americans and dreamers from Pakistan and Ghana, as well as accounts from U. S. dreamworkers, including himself. The Wilderness of Dreams fulfills Bulkeley's aim to "initiate a critical, sophisticated, interdisciplinary study of dreams and religious meaning in the modern West" (Preface, xi). He draws with excellent effect from the Western philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer's ideas about translation for help in explicating dreams. He insists rightly on the importance of reconnecting images with cultures and avoiding naive universalization of meaning (148). But the specific link between Gadamer's ideas and language in the dream reports is missing. The sources of some of these quasi-anecdotal narratives are the reports of investigators whose racial, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds differ from those of their subjects. The story of Moses Amrah of the Mzema people of Southwest Ghana comes to us via an Italian anthropologist, and the information on Ahmad Sahib, a Pakistani businessman with a British education, was supplied by a white Western female anthropologist. All these samples are given to us in English and they sometimes incorporate apparently untranslatable expressions. Untranslatable words are very often touchstones of the deepest values in a culture and hence of critical cultural difference. Those wanting to add to the kind of investigation that Bulkeley does would do well to explore the linguistic complexities influencing all dream reporting but especially that of dreamers who do not fit in the investigators' linguistic and cultural matrices.

One can find a research model for infusing multicultural sensitivities with linguistic awareness in the writing of Wendy Doniger (O'Flaherty), especially in Dreams, Illusion and Other Realities (1984). In that study of texts from India, based on a comparison of Indian and non-Indian ideas about dreams and illusion, Doniger worked with all the Indian texts in Sanskrit and did her own translations. Throughout the book, she is acutely sensitive to the role of languages as the interface between the translation and interpretation of dream texts and literary texts. (Also see Serinity Young in this issue.)

 Like Doniger, few of those who translate languages or interpret dreams underestimate the obstacles in their professions or the difficulties of their tasks. Writers like Kugler and Steiner may tantalize with mystical images of "the hidden absolute of meaning" and quasi-numinous "invariant archetypes." Freud and Jung may proclaim confidently their ability to understand the meaning of dreams by following specified procedures. Nonetheless the topic of the impossible along with that of the inexpressible are as widespread among translators and dream theorists as the topics of promise and possibility. Werner Winter, a linguist who worked in European and Slavic languages and translated T. S. Eliot into German, identified one root of the impossibility in an essay appropriately titled, "Impossibilities of Translation."

 There is no completely exact translation...All attempts to compile lists of semantic entities supposedly universally valid have had the same fate: failure. For to translate is to replace the formulation of one interpretation of a segment of the universe around us and within us by another formulation as equivalent as possible. (141)

 With George Steiner, the liveliest living interlocutor on our topic, we can travel across the whole spectrum of the possible, the probable, the likely, the untenable, and the undoable with evidence collected from dozens of the thousands of languages in the world.

 Mapping the World

 "Each human language maps the world differently." (Steiner, 1992, xiv)

When George Steiner offers this observation, it seems as if he is echoing Sandor Ferenczi whom Freud paraphrased in the footnote that engendered this essay: "Indeed dreams are so closely related to linguistic expression that (Ferenczi) has truly remarked that every tongue has its own dream language" ([1900] 1954, 99; Trans. Strachey). In Steiner's case, however, he has three tongues that constitute his dream language. He was born into a trilingual household and spent his early years there in the simultaneous acquisition and usage of English, French, and German. His life experience as a polyglot personally and professionally-he augmented his store of languages as he grew older-provides a unique background for the study of translation. And the uniqueness is enhanced when one discovers Steiner's concomitant lifelong personal and professional interest in dreaming.

I have no recollection whatever of a first language. So far as I am aware, I possess equal currency in English, French and German. What I can speak, write, or read of other languages has come later and retains a 'feel' of conscious acquisition. But I experience my first three tongues as perfectly equivalent centres of myself. . . . I dream with equal verbal density and linguistic-symbolic provocation in all three. (1992, 120)

Responding to those who insisted to Steiner that he had to have one sole "first" language, he continuously monitored his multilingual speaking, writing, and dreaming patterns. In so doing he created a paradigm of questioning that seems very well-suited to dream work. He framed the question, with ironic use of different languages within it, this way: "Was there, despite my inability to 'feel the fact', a first language after all, a Muttersprache vertically deeper than the other two? Or was my sense of complete parity and simultaneity accurate?" (122) Steiner never gives a yes or no answer to these questions, but instead describes the experience of his multilinguality as parabolic. He also uses the image of the Möbius strip-a favorite of other language and dream researchers like Jacques Lacan, Norman N. Holland, and Bert O. States. Charting the trajectories of movement along a parabola or Möbius strip could be a revealing task, which mathematically skilled readers are hereby invited to undertake. Mathematical modeling of psychic and linguistic intricacies might help us represent to ourselves that which we cannot observe in progress: dreaming and the possibly analogous simultaneous multilingual translation going on in the mind of the polyglot speaker.

 Steiner presented his ideas on dreaming and on translation principally in two publications: After Babel: Aspects of Language Translation (1975; 1992) and "The Historicity of Dreams (two questions to Freud)" in Salmagundi (1983). The questions to Freud are not about dreams or translation, or even about language in general. It is my initiative to bring these publications together deliberately to explore their relationship, for although the dream essay is permeated with Steiner's ideas about translation, and vice versa, he makes few direct connections. That the two topics are fused in Steiner's mind is clear, however, from certain statements he makes in the article: "Dreams were no less splintered at Babel than were the tongues of men" (15).

 Trained in Comparative Literature, Steiner does not present himself as a linguist. In fact he disparages most schools of linguistics and dismisses with characteristic asperity those linguists who found fault with After Babel. Of them Steiner observed, "among stamp collectors letter writers are not always welcome" (After Babel, xi). He eschews disciplinary labels and divisions, presenting translation not as a sub-set of linguistics but as an autonomous, fluid field of inquiry not yet ready now-or perhaps ever-to be given the designation "theory" and definitely ineligible for partition into a "discipline."

Steiner also makes justifiable claim to innovative leadership in translation studies and to an understanding of their significance: "There had been [until After Babel] no ordered or detailed attempt to locate translation at the heart of human communication or to explore the ways in which the constraints on translatability and the potentialities of transfer between languages engage, at the most immediate and charged level, the philosophic inquiry into consciousness and into the meaning of meaning" (ix-x).

 Indeed there has not been until now any serious, sustained effort to bring translation to bear on that other dimension of human experience-dreaming-which also takes us deep into the heart of communication, of consciousness, and of the meaning of meaning. Yet what we have read here so far and what we will see ahead in student work testifies to the validity of Steiner's position that "our knowledge of dreams and dreaming, the material which constitutes the history of human dreams, are [sic] wholly inseparable from the linguistic medium" (15; italics Steiner's). Translation can function as both a hermeneutic and a poetics[1][viii] of dreaming, and, in the section that follows, translation proves its aptitude for dream pedagogy as well.

 Dreaming and Translating: Two Liberal Arts

  "It's much more than just possible to translate a dream into a foreign language; it's like discovering a whole new process of thinking, especially for the bilingual person." (12)


Céline Cohen was a senior in college in 1993 when she produced the above response to Freud's 1911 footnote on untranslatability. Her statement came in a paper, "Dreaming the Night Away: A Study of Dreams and Translation," written for the seminar that I was then teaching: Comparative Literature 500: Dreams and Texts: Translation and Interpretation. To demonstrate what can happen when I introduce into an undergraduate setting topics from my own research and writing, I will turn to her paper and to that of a classmate, Jenny Sorenson, whose essay, "Four Impossible Translations of My Dream," was also written in reaction to Freud's statement. First, let me provide some background on my educational experiments with dreaming.

 Throughout the 1990's, students like Céline and Jenny have joined me in testing an axiom at the heart of my pedagogy: if you want to gain the deepest possible understanding of a text, translate it or teach it. Do both these things in tandem with dream work and your liberal arts education will take on an intellectual and imaginative depth rare in the undergraduate academic experience. Over the past several years at Hamilton, a private liberal arts college in central New York, I have been integrating into the curriculum of my department-Comparative Literature-courses with connections to dreaming, as well as integrating dream texts into my more traditional courses in World Literature and Shakespeare. Now I teach annually an elective interdisciplinary course for first year students, CPLit 151: Dreams and Literature. Also, on a rotating basis with departmental colleagues, I take responsibility for the required senior seminar for which I always choose a dream-related topic. In the fall semesters of 1993 and 1997, that topic was dreams and translation.

The seminar experience has been alternately exhilarating and harrowing. Richard Jones's anecdotal accounts in The Dream Poet (1979) of working dreams into the curriculum at The Evergreen State College in Washington have been both an inspiration and caveat. His philosophy of education and his pedagogical practices, however, had to be substantially modified because of differences in our professional training, our institutions, and our student populations. Jones attempted to balance the Freudian model of dream interpretation by replacing Freud's "dream censor" with Jones's own "dream poet" (a new translator, we could say) to redirect the emphasis of dream work toward the literary and imaginal and to foster creativity in classroom dream study.

My task was somewhat different. Unlike the graduate students with whom most of Jones's and my university-based colleagues are engaged, my students are still in or just out of their teen years. Their professional futures do not hinge on my regard for their work; nor do they bring to my class or to me that prior commitment to my academic discipline and that interest in a career in my chosen field that motivates the older students. They are pre-disciplinary in their thinking and choose a liberal arts education over pre-professional training for the opportunity it gives them to explore unrestrictedly. Comparative Literature majors, for example, find their life work in a range of jobs and professions; our recent graduates include an environmental lawyer, a pediatric nephrologist, an internationally known painter, and a midwife-in-training.

 My students are also buoyantly iconoclastic, partly because they have not learned what social and intellectual icons govern their society and their education, and they are refreshingly irreverent. These students, out of ignorance and ingenuity, often devise experimental projects beyond my imagining which nonetheless lead serendipitously to startling new insights for me as well as for them. It is often the very projects that initially strike me on the basis of my knowledge of dreams and language as wrong-headed and likely to be frustrating and fruitless (or worse) that over and over have utterly unanticipated salutary effects. The intellectual risk-taking I encourage, and am thus forced to engage in myself, has contributed much to my own development as a dream researcher.

In one important way, the seniors in my seminar differ from their peers, however, as well as from many United States residents, in being fluent in at least one language other than their first or native one. Such fluency is required by the major. Almost all have lived and studied abroad for at least one semester and usually longer. In CPLit 500 in fall 1997, for example, language competencies included Spanish, French, Italian, German, Chinese, and Russian. In the 1993 version of the seminar, students brought the first four of these languages, plus Japanese, Korean and Swahili.

On the mid-term exam in the 1993 seminar I invited my students to consider Freud's untranslatability proposition, which had had such a long-lasting effect on me after encountering it as an undergraduate. That assignment elicited several provocative essays, among them the two mentioned earlier, by Céline Cohen and Jenny Sorenson.

 Céline Cohen has dual citizenship in France and the United States and is bilingual in French and English. Jenny Sorenson is U.S. born, a native speaker of English who began the study of French in high school and continued it in college. At the time of the course, she felt she had only a moderate mastery of French. Both of these students and their work represent a special case: self-translation. (Among practitioners of this art, Samuel Beckett and Vladimir Nabokov are notable literary examples.) Céline actually argues that the dreamer is the sole viable translator of her own dream, a position Freud would probably find congenial: "Since I was the one dreaming, only I could possibly know what occurred in my dream...I would supposedly know what my intentions were. You could call me 'hermeneutically competent'!" (11) It is not clear whether she means by "intentions" her motives for behavior in the dream or for the choices she made in writing her dream report, or both. I will not devote time here to the quite different case of a translator working with another person's dream, although my students regularly prove the usefulness of such an exercise, as well as of an exercise that may seem capricious to many: comparative translation of a literary text in a language unknown to the reader.


 Both students first recorded their dream in English and subsequently, after a brief passage of time, attempted to translate their dream reports into French. Jenny, in addition, then asked Céline and Mark Lee to translate her French version of her dream back into English so she would have multiple versions to compare with her original report. This last step, when she proposed it to me, seemed unlikely to tell her anything, hedged around as it was in complex variables, but it did result in some interesting observations.

Although, like the students in the 1993 version of CPLit 500, Céline and Jenny had read only Freud and Steiner among the authors cited earlier in this article, their practices bore out parts of all the authors' theories. First was the students' shocked awareness of how imprecise, limited, and careless they were in their customary use of English. Each had felt herself to have been especially careful in transcribing and then in translating her dream; after all, this was a graded assignment, part of a mid-term exam in the most important course in her major. In addition, they knew Steiner and were thoroughly sensitized to the complexity and variability of language use in all kinds of contexts.

These contexts notwithstanding, each found in her report careless habits of inaccurate diction, insensitivity to connotation, overuse of colloquialisms, and slang that didn't actually come near the meaning she meant to convey. Whatever inadequacy they had felt in turning their dreams into written reports they had originally attributed to the elusiveness of dream phenomena and the vagaries of memory. After the effort at translation of the report, however, they came to feel that much of their sense of constraint was due to the dullness of their linguistic sensibilities in their "native" language: "In another slightly different example I noticed again that my use of the English was not accurate [in relation to the actual dream experience of the image] and saw this only when I was translating into French" (Cohen, 10). Jenny experienced this and also the opposite; the attempt to translate sometimes revealed how perfect were her representations in English of certain dream elements. These were the phrases and passages she concluded were untranslatable from English, and yet she also felt they were indispensable to an understanding of her dream, a paradox often confronting the translator.

This untranslatability problem, and the inadequacy and inaccuracy of so much of her English version of her dream, made Jenny feel that she could not finish translating it into French; she would have had to go back in time and write the dream report down the first time in French. Unable to remember significant parts of the dream, she was unable to reconstruct them on the basis of her report. Her words were at times too far off the mark to trigger her memory. Although Jenny had thought her moderate mastery of French would present the greatest obstacle in carrying out the assignment she had chosen, the difficulty finally proved to be at least as much her limited mastery of her own native language.

Jenny thus demonstrated Jackson Matthews' contention that a one language person does not know her own language as "matter to be worked in." She had never thought about English as a language, she said, until she tried to translate a dream into it and then to translate that dream into a "foreign" language. Both students discovered that they had very little idea about the resources of their own language, much less how to mine their language for expressiveness in out-of-the-ordinary circumstances. They were, indeed, as Montague Ullman predicted, cut off from anything new the dream might have added to their existing perceptions of self and world.

Dream translation did give them the incentive to increase their attention to English. They easily integrated the theory they had read into their practice of writing down a dream and translating it. In contrast, exercises earlier in the semester and in other courses at Hamilton and abroad in which they were required to translate literature from another language into English had not had the same effect of heightening their linguistic awareness.

 Second, the students found that translating a dream into a foreign language alerted them to dimensions of the dream they had neglected, understated, or omitted for the apparent lack of equivalent verbal expressions. They gave up on some oneiremes entirely; for others they accepted uncomfortable compromises. Having settled for demonstrably inadequate equivalencies in English, Céline was pleased that she could at times capture some of the dream's seemingly elusive and inexpressible aspects through her other "native" language:

 At certain instances, my choice of French words, without [my] even thinking twice, fit exactly into the visual of my dream. That is to say that certain French words or phrases were a perfect match, in my mind, for these visual dream images [more so than the English in which she first wrote them down]. I experienced an overwhelming translation epiphany. I didn't realize until I began to translate from the English to the French that 'dévaler la colline' fit better into my dream image than "come over the top of the hill." (9)

 Céline also noted that, when she reread her dream report, where she had written in English about seeing an "American," she thought she had described the dream person in such detail that the reader of her report would have the same picture of the person as she had had in her dream. Only when she tried to find the equivalent to her dream "American" in French did she remember that English is not an inflected language. Gender difference was obliterated in the English word "American" whereas French, a gender-inflected language, required gender specification in the noun ending of the same word. Only then did she realize that no reader of her English version would have known that the American was a man and that his gender was a key factor to his role in her dream.


 A third discovery was made by Jenny: her dream had a uniquely personal idiom and her every day use of English was a virtual idiolect. Language, she wrote, is "inherently individual in that everyone has different fields of connotation as well as different vocabulary words, depending on what associations are made with the word (context, connotation, imagery, association)" (1-2). For example, she wrote, "the word home brings to mind certain emotions, smells, sounds which are different for everyone" (2). While such an understanding is neither original with the student nor new in the history of dream or translation study, the way she arrived at that understanding through translating her own dream is quite original. Through this unusual process she gained for the first time her own "voice" in writing, a goal in learning how to write well which often eludes even the most committed undergraduates in composition or creative writing courses. Watching Jenny take this path to understanding her dream, and her way of writing, taught all of us in the seminar to beware the too ready projection of our own associations onto the words of another dreamer's report.

CPLit 500 students always want to go word for word when they first start translating, usually because they feel a sense of moral obligation to the original and because they are taken in by the apparent simplicity of one to one correspondence. Jenny quickly discovered one flaw in such interlinear translation: the way words like to cluster together and create meaning through such groupings. "An individual has his or her own personal meaning for the phrase as well as the word. When repeatedly hearing the same words used together, one has the tendency to assign a meaning to the phrase as opposed to each individual word. The group of words could be considered one word because of the one established meaning 'it' denotes" (3). A single lexical unit cannot be isolated without semantic disruption of the entire phrase and the likelihood of finding an equivalent for the word cluster is even less than for the individual word.

In a similar way oneiremes of all sorts-sound, visuals, speech, action-are so interlaced that they must be considered within the web of relationship with other oneiremes, as Paul Kugler particularly, but also translators and dream interpreters generally, would agree.

For the bilingual or multilingual person, however, the scenario is more complex, and Céline 's experience showed that she felt her two languages to be, like Steiner's three,"completely equivalent centers" of her self. She communicated the surprising and pleasurable ease she felt in translating her dream report from English to French, encountering none of the frustrations and complications of her classmates. Inculcated in the difficulty, the impossibility of translation, and inured to the elusiveness of dreams through our readings in theory, Céline's first response to her practice was one of pleasant surprise: "I felt strangely comfortable translating my dream" (8).

In the end, she began to wonder whether she had in fact dreamed her dream originally in French and only wrote it down in English because that was the language dominant in her life on campus. "Did I undergo a simultaneous, parallel, double translation from unconscious to consciousness and from French to English?" (9) She began to feel that the philosopher W. V. Quine was right in his tentative speculation that "the bilingual has his own private semantic correlation-in effect his private implicit system of analytical hypotheses-and that this is somehow in his nerves" (Steiner 1992, 125). She also felt, at the same time, that her experience during the assignment had affirmed Steiner's skepticism about the bilingual person being held to be the ideal translator because "the bilingual person does not see the difficulties. The frontier between the two languages is not sharp enough in his mind" (ibid.).

My assessment of Céline 's condition is that, like Steiner's three, her two languages are seamless, whether she is sleeping or waking; they have worked out a private system of equivalencies. For the coordinate (as opposed to the compound) multilingual person, one who has acquired his or her languages simultaneously, the "self" seems to be multiple yet wholly integrated. Or perhaps, as deconstructive critical theory would have it, all of us have a multiple self, to the extent that we can speak of a "self" at all, and in the case of the multi-lingual person the evidence for it is just more concrete and thus very amenable to dream study.[1][ix]

Perhaps we can think of all humans as compound bilinguals-being born with the natural language of our dream world and acquiring the "native" language of our waking world. If that is true, translation would unquestionably be a desirable mode of operation in dream study.

 Céline and Jenny agreed at the end of their mid-term that dream reports fall short of dream experiences not necessarily because the latter are not translatable but at least partly because we do not have all the languages that would be required to express precisely the range of events and affects experienced in the dream. Since the outstanding virtue of the dream experience, as Ullman sees it, is to introduce us to new ways of being and thinking, it stands to reason we would have to stretch our minds, along with our vocabularies, to incorporate into the dream report that which we have never before had to name. If we had access to enough of the world's languages, several of the seminar students hypothesized, such multiple potentialities for expression would enable us to write down a dream, to translate a dream with ease, and to be thoroughly satisfied with the congruence between our dream and our report of it. Bilingual and multilingual dreamers, carefully studied, may provide the corrective needed to keep us from going around in hermeneutic circles when we enter the world of dreaming and dream reports.

 Based on this essay, which has spanned the work of several generations from Freud at the turn of one century to American teen-agers at the turn of another, the outlook for linked dream and translation study appears to be excellent. Some suggested areas for future research follow:

 Further application to dream study of Steiner's work on language. His writing on dreams represents a tiny fraction of his writing as a whole; its chief function is to alert us to the fact that, although After Babel's ostensible subject is translating, it is a book about dreaming as well.

 Comparative studies of dream and language dictionaries. Through teaching English as a Second Language for a number of years, I discovered that the only truly useful single language dictionaries are those designed for non-native speakers. One positive offshoot of the British colonial heritage is their production of such English as a Second Language dictionaries. Virtually all single language dictionaries, except etymological ones like the Oxford English Dictionary, are designed on the assumption the consulter already knows the language and seeks only definitions for new vocabulary words. The total inadequacy of most one language dictionaries is veiled from native speakers of that language.

Definitions are always predicated on prior thorough knowledge of the basic system of the language plus total familiarity with the underlying culture. Paul Kugler has sharply identified the problem: dictionaries are "tautological"(119). The parallel in dream dictionaries would be ones similarly limited to one-to-one correspondences. ESL dictionaries make none of these presumptions and the best ones note where the non-native speaker is most likely to misconstrue meaning and function. I think there are parallels here, and with thesauruses, to dream dictionaries. Comparative studies of dictionaries in both fields would be one way to investigate the relationship between universality and cultural specificity in words and in symbols. Sophisticated dreamers and dream workers scorn dream dictionaries but perhaps a truly useful dream dictionary is possible and we have been just too limited in our imaginations to create one.

Do more multiple comparative analyses, such as those conducted by both dream and translation writers. For example, compare several interpretations of a dream by various schools of thought. A fine example of this method can be found in Patricia Berry's "An Approach to the Dream" in Spring: An Annual of Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Thought, where she takes a single dream and shows how variously oriented analysts would interpret it (XXV:2, 58-79, 1974). Translators do their own version of this all the time. Essays abound, like Margaret Sayers Peden's comparative study of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz's sonnet #145. Peden reviews nine English translations structurally, metrically, and in other ways. Their failures and successes reveal, like a series of litmus tests, just where the strengths and weaknesses of the original poem are. Consistent lapses of translation quality across the group can be traced to imprecision in the lines of the original. I believe a dream report would yield insights in a similar pattern. I have used the technique successfully in the classroom with both poetry and dreams. The risk-takers among readers of this Special Issue may go one step further and follow the lead of Douglas Hofstader in comparative study of translations from a text written in a language unknown to them. In an engaging brief piece in The New York Times Book Review, December 8, 1996, Hofstadter, a Comparative Literature professor and author of Godel, Escher, Bach: The Eternal Golden Braid, shows what he learned about the original novel-and about language and literature-from reading several English translations of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. Hofstadter's point of departure was lack of knowledge of the Russian language and his playful spirit comes out in the title: "What's Gained in Translation." Like Hofstadter, I have done comparative translations of texts where I was ignorant of the language of the original. I am emboldened by his example to confess that here publicly for the first time and to add that I also have my students in several courses engage in this practice. While the spirit of these personal and pedagogical exercises is assuredly playful, the outcome, as Hofstader and I have personally experienced, can be an extremely serious, unique gain in knowledge. When I teach Dante's Divina Comedia and all else fails to ignite my students' passion for this lengthy medieval Italian Catholic poem, such a comparative study of both prose and verse translations effectively ensnares them in Dante's own experiments with language, his drive from the merely inexpressible toward the ineffable. Then they are ready to read his poem.

Translation is an irrepressible word with a wide network of relatives. Get to know some of them. Try them out on your dreams and in your dream research. Perhaps it is the mobility inherent in the prefix but few people can write of translation without becoming immersed in the lexicon of motion and change that gravitates to the term: tranfusion, transfiguration, transformation, transmutation, transaction, transport, transposition, transplant, transcription, transmission, transcendence, and-the most radical-transubstantiation. Generate new metaphors; reinvigorate old ones; deconstruct clichés, and expose their limitations on our thought; create neologisms that can express previously inexpressible oneiremes.

Much work lies ahead and I cannot even promise eventual closure, for I share translator Gregory Rabassa's view: "It is my feeling that a translation is never finished, that it is open and could go on to infinity..." (Rabassa in Biguenet 1989, 7) So, too, it is with dreaming.




I want to express my appreciation here to Anne Marcoline, Hamilton '98, who chose being the research assistant for this article as her seminar project and did an excellent job, as well as to Céline, Jenny, Mark, Marie, Tom Ayres '98 and all the other students in my classes whose willingness to take risks made our work together so memorable. I also want to give special thanks for their thoughtful comments on this article to Bert States and the two other readers for their thoughtful comments on my work; they will recognize the clarifying effects of their advice on both my thinking and my prose. 


 Adams, Robert M.1973. Proteus: His Lies, His Truth: Discussions of Literary Translation. New York: W. W. Norton.

Alvarez, Alfred. 1995. Night: Night Life, Night Language, Sleep, and Dreams.New York: W. W. Norton.

Arrowsmith, William and Roger Shattuck, eds. 1964. The Craft and Context of Translation: a Critical Symposium. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc.

Barnstone, Willis. 1993. The Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Benjamin, Walter. 1969. The Task of the Translator. Delos 2:90. Translated by J. Hynd, M.Valk.

Berry, Patricia. 1974. An Approach to the Dream. Spring: An Annual of Archetypal Psychology and Jungian Thought.XXV: 2, 58-79.

Bettelheim, Bruno. 1983. Freud and Man's Soul. New York. A. A. Knopf.

Biguenet, John and Rainer Schulte, eds. 1989. The Craft of Translation. University of Chicago Press.

Brower, Reuben A., ed. 1959. On Translation. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Bulkeley, Kelly, ed. 1996. Among All These Dreamers: Essays on Dreaming and Modern Society. Albany: State University of New York Press.

__________. 1994.The Wilderness of Dreams: Exploring the Religious Meanings of Dreams in Modern Western Culture. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Cohen, Céline. 1993. Dreaming the Night Away: A Study of Dreams and Translation. Unpublished essay. 1-12.

Frenz, Horst. 1961. The Art of Translation. In Comparative Literature: Method and Perspective. Eds. Newton Stallknecht and Horst Frenz. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Freud, Sigmund.  [1900] 1954. The Interpretation of Dreams. Translated by James Strachey. One volume reprint of vols.4-5 of the Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. London: The Hogarth Press.

___________. [1942] 1961. Die Traumdeutung. In Gesammelte Werke. Vol. 2/3. Frankfurt: S. Fisher Verlag.

___________. [1900] 1913. The Interpretation of Dreams. Translated by A. A. Brill. New York: The MacMillan Company.

___________.1924-1950. Collected Papers.Vol. 5. Various translators. London: Hogarth Press.

___________. [1938] 1949. An Outline of Psychoanalysis. Trans. James Strachey. London: Hogarth Press.

___________. 1950. On Dreams. Trans. James Strachey. London: Hogarth Press.

Friedrich, Paul. 1982. The Language Parallax: Linguistic Relativism and Poetic Indeterminacy. Austin: The University of Texas Press.

Groden, Michael and Martin Kreiswirth, eds. 1994. The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary     Theory and Criticism. [See especially the entry on Archetypal Theory by Carol Schreier Rupprecht.] Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Hillman, James. 1979. The Dream and the Underworld. New York: Harper & Row.

Hofstader, Douglas. 1996. What's Gained in Translation. New York Times Book Review. December 8. Section 7: 47.

Hunt, Harry T. 1989. The Multiplicity of Dreams. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Jones, Richard. 1979. The Dream Poet. Cambridge, MA: Schenckman Publishing Company.

Jung, C. G. [1931]1968. Analytical Psychology: Its Theory and Practice. Translated by R.F.C. Hull. New York: Random House.

_______. [1954] 1966. The Practice of Psychotherapy In The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 16. Translated by R.F.C. Hull. 2nd Ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

_______. [1934] The Practical Use of Dream-Analysis. In CW, Vol. 16. Translated by

R. F. C. Hull. 2nd Ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 139-161.

Koulack, David. 1991. To Catch a Dream: Explorations of Dreaming. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Kramer, Milton. 1993. Dream Translation: An Approach to Understanding Dreams. In New Directions in Dream Interpretation. Ed. Gayle Delaney. Albany: State University of New     York Press. 155-194.

___________. 1991. Dream Translation: A Nonassociative Method for Understanding the Dream. In Dreaming. Vol. 1 (2) 147-159.

Kugler, Paul. 1982. The Alchemy of Discourse: An Archetypal Approach to Language. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press.

_________. 1995 . The 'Subject' of Dreaming. In "Special Issue on Dreams". Ed. Michael Adams. Quadrant: Journal of Contemporary Jungian Thought. 63-83.

Labé, Louise. 1972. Love Sonnets.Translated by G. Martin. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Leavy, Stanley. 1978. Psychoanalytic Interpretation. The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. 28: 305-330.

Lee, Mark. 1993. Language as a Second Language. Unpublished essay. 1-13.

Lefevere, Andre. 1992. Translating Literature: Practice and Theory in a Comparative Literature Context. New York: The Modern Language Association of America.

Middleton, Christopher. 1989. On Translating Gunter Eich's Poem 'Ryoanji.' In The Craft of Translation. Eds. John Biguenet and Rainer Schulte.

Nida, Eugene A. 1966. Principles of Translation as Exemplified by Bible Translating. In

On Translation. Ed. Reuben A. Brower. New York: Oxford University Press.

[O'Flaherty], Wendy Doniger. 1984. Dreams, Illusion and Other Realities. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Olga S. Opfell, The King James Bible Translators. London: McFarland, 1982.

Ornston, Darius Grey Jr. ed., with Andre Bourguignon. 1992. Translating Freud. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Poggioli, Renato. 1959. The Added Artificer. In On Translation. Ed. Rueben A. Brower. New York: Oxford University Press.

Price, S. R. F. 1986. The Future of Dreams: From Freud to Artemidorus. Past and Present. 113:3-37.

Reniers, Marie. 1993. West Africa's Oral Tradition, Drum Language and Intersemiotic Translation. Unpublished essay. 1-15 .

Rupprecht, Carol Schreier. 1977. Who Speaks the Language of the Dream? Some Theories of Translation. Unpublished paper presented at the C. G. Jung Institute, Zurich. January.

__________. 1979. Translation and Transference: Parallel Processes in Literature and Depth Psychology. Unpublished paper presented at Conference on Jungian Perspectives on Creativity and the Unconscious at Miami University, Ohio. Spring.

__________. 1980. Before Babel: The Language of Dreams. Unpublished paper presented at the C.G.Jung Conference, University of Notre Dame, Indiana. April.

__________. 1985. The Common Language of Women's Dreams. In Feminist Archetypal Theory: Interdisciplinary Re-Visions of Jungian Thought. Eds. Estella Lauter and Carol Schreier Rupprecht. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.

__________. 1996. Sex, Gender and Dreams:From Polarity to Plurality. In Among all These Dreamers: Essays on Dreaming and Modern Society. Ed. Kelly Bulkeley. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Savory, Theodore. 1968. The Art of Translation. London: Jonathan Cape Ltd.

Sharp, Ronald A. 1989. Interrogation at the Borders: George Steiner and the Trope of Translation. NLH, 21 (1), 136-159.

Shattuck, Roger. 1964. Artificial Horizon: Translator as Navigator. In The Craft and Context of Translation: A Critical Symposium. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc.

Smith, Miles. [1611 Preface] 1982. In Olga S. Opfell, The Kings James Bible Translators. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc.

Sorenson, Jenny. 1993. Four Impossible Translations of my Dream. Unpublished essay. 1-15.

States, Bert O. 1988. The Rhetoric of Dreams. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

_________. 1993. Dreaming and Storytelling. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

_________. 1997. Seeing in the Dark: Reflections on Dreams and Dreaming. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Steiner, George. [1975]. 1992 . After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation. New York: Oxford University Press.

_________. 1983. The Historicity of Dreams (two questions to Freud). Salmagundi.Fall 6-21.

Tedlock, Barbara, ed. 1987. Dreaming: Anthropological and Psychological Interpretations. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Ullman, Montague. Dreaming as Metaphor in Motion. 1969. Archives of General Psychiatry.Vol. 21. December. 696-703.

Winter, Werner. 1964. Impossibilities of Translation. The Craft and Context of Translation: A Crtical Symposium. Eds. William Arrowsmith and Roger Shattuck. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc. 92-112.


[i] Correspondence should be addressed to Carol Schreier Rupprecht, PhD, Department of Comparative Literature, Hamilton College, Clinton, New York 13323 U.S.A.

[ii] The explanation for this quotation and its anonymity here is given later in the essay.

[iii] In various publications, Milton Kramer (1991, 1993) has named his non-associative method of dream interpretation "Dream Translation" in an attempt to differentiate it from Freud's method of dealing with the dreamer's free associations. The rubric is misleading, however, for Kramer does not talk about language of any kind in relation to dreaming. His method is clearly explicated and seems workable but would be more accurately named "A Non-Associative Method of Dream Interpretation." In light of Freud's ideas on reversal in dreams (see also Sarah White in this issue), it is interesting that Kramer acknowledges one limitation to his technique: it cannot deal with reversals. I do not think it can deal with antitheses either.


[iv] The footnote from which I have taken the epigraph was preceded in The Interpretation of Dreams by other footnotes lamenting the difficulties of reading in translation. In one, Freud attributed the unreliability of "oriental dream books" to the fact that the translations so greatly misrepresent what the original texts must have been like. In another, he regretted he could not grasp clearly Aristotle's differentiation between divine and demonic dreams since he did not know "how to translate it correctly." The epigraph footnote also contained Freud's mention of ideas about language and dream from the work of Nicholas Vaschide and Sandor Ferenczi. (See pages [numbers to be added by Dreaming staff when type is set.)


[v] See especially Bruno Bettelheim, Freud and Man's Soul (1983); Darius Grey Ornston, Jr., Ed., with Andre Bourguignon, Translating Freud (1992); S. R. F. Price, "The Future of Dreams: From Freud to Artemidorus" in Past and Present 113: 3-37, from which the following passage is taken: "Freudian dream theory has in fact received radical and perhaps fatal criticism. An initial problem is one of translation. English translations of Freud have been largely responsible for the influence of Freud in the English-speaking world, but they (even The Standard Edition) have systematically introduced (pseudo-) scientific terminology in place of Freud's own humanistic terms. For example, Freud's 'Das Ich und das Es' should be translated not as 'The Ego and the Id' but as 'I and It', while Die Traumdeutung refers to the ancient search for the meaning of dreams, just as Sterndeutung refers to that of the stars." (8)


[vi] Translation by G. Martin: "And so o sleep, o respite of delight,/O pleasant rest and peaceful, I enjoin/You to repeat this same dream every night;/And if it's destiny's intent to cheat/And dispossess my soul of love's true coin/At least let me receive love's counterfeit." Louise Labé, Sonnets, Trans. G. Martin (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1972) 29.


[vii] See The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism (1994), 18. Also consult for more information on Jung, James Hillman and Paul Kugler, my entry on "Archetypal Theory and Criticism" (36-40).


[viii] The development in the late twentieth century of a full-fledged "poetics" of dreaming has occurred most notably in the writing of Bert O. States. His exemplary books --The Rhetoric of Dreams (1988); Dreaming and Storytelling (1993); Seeing in the Dark (1997) -- are valuable not only for their views of dreams but for the range of theoretical and critical sources brought to bear on the subject. A latecomer professionally to the world of formal dream writing and research, he had earlier published several books on drama, including Hamlet and Waiting for Godot, and on literary theory and criticism: the phenomenology of theater, irony in drama, and the poetics of drama. This background coupled with a lively style of writing and lucid exposition of ideas, makes him the most informed current writer on the poetics of dreaming. Translators seem also now to be exploring the implications for literary theory and criticism of translation. Willis Barnstone, Comparative Literature professor and translator, has just come out with a full-length book, The Poetics of Translation. See also Paul Friedrich's The Language Parallax (1982).  (See References for further information.)


[ix] For a clear look at the implications for dream work in psychology and other fields of post-modern views of self and subjectivity, see Paul Kugler's essay, "The 'Subect' of Dreaming," in a Special Issue on Dreaming, edited by Michael Adams, of Quadrant: Journal of Contemporary Jungian Thought. (1995) 63-83.

  Copyright ©2003 Association for the Study of Dreams. All Rights Reserved