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Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming

Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming

Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming ( German : Der Dichter und das Phantasieren ), was an informal talk given in 1907 by Sigmund Freud , and subsequently published in 1908, on the relationship between unconscious phantasyand creative art.

Freud’s argument – that artists, reviving memories of childhood daydreams and play activities, succeeded in making them acceptable through their aesthetic technique [1] – was to be widely influential for interwar modernism . [2]

Artistic sources

Freud began to discuss the question of where writers drew their material, and suggested that children at play, and adults day-dreaming, both provided cognate activities to those of the literary artist. [3] Heroic and erotic daydreams or preconscious phantasies in both men and women were seen by Freud as providing substitute satisfactions for everyday deprivations; [4] and the same phantasies were in turn to shareable (public) artistic constructs by the creative writer, where they could serve as cultural surrogates for the universal instinctual renunciations inherent in civilization. [5]

Technical Artistic

Freud saw the aesthetic principle of the art of phantasy in a public artefact, using artistic pleasure to release a deeper pleasure on the release of forbidden (unconscious) material. [6] The process allowed the writer him / herself to emerge from their introversion and return to the public world. [7] If the phantasies come too close to the unconscious repressed, however, the process would fail, leading to creative inhibition or rejection of the artwork itself. [8]

Freud himself epitomized his essay’s argument a decade later in his Introductory Lectures , [9] stating of the true artist that:

“he understands how to work on his daydreams in such a way as to make them more difficult and easier to understand, and to make it possible for others to share in the enjoyment of them. tone em down so That They do not Easily betray Their origin from Proscribed sources …. He Has Achieved THUS through His phantasy what Originally He Had Achieved only in His phantasy – honor, power and the love of women “.

See also

  • DW Winnicott
  • Edmund Wilson
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Hanns Sachs
  • Sublimation


  1. Jump up^ Gay Peter,Freud: A Life for Our Time(1989) p. 307
  2. Jump up^ R. Berman,Translating Modernism(2010) p. 13
  3. Jump up^ Peter Gay,Freud(1989) p. 307-8
  4. Jump up^ S. Freud,On Psychopathology(PFL 10) p. 88
  5. Jump up^ S. Freud,Civilization, Society and Religion(PFL 12) p. 193
  6. Jump up^ Peter Gay,Freud(1989) p. 308
  7. Jump up^ Otto Fenichel, The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis(1946) p. 479
  8. Jump up^ Otto Fenichel, The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis(1946) p. 217
  9. Jump up^ S. Freud,Introductory Readings on Psychoanalysis(PFL 1) p. 423-3