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The Mystical Life of Franz KafkaTheosophy, Cabala, and the Modern Spiritual Revival$
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June O. Leavitt

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199827831

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199827831.001.0001

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The Obsession with Dreams

The Obsession with Dreams

4 The Obsession with Dreams
The Mystical Life of Franz Kafka

June O. Leavitt

Oxford University Press

Kafka’s literary corpus contains over thirty-seven chronicles about his dreams. This is most significant in light of the fact that the occult training programs pervasive in Europe in the early part of the 20th century laid great stress on paying attention to dreams. In opposition to Freud, who perceived dreams as providing a passage into the dark recesses of the human psyche, Theosophists saw dreams as revelations concerning the soul’s experiences during sleep. However, as Kafka was familiar with psychoanalytical theories and even wrote about them disparagingly, this chapter examines his dream chronicles for indications of Freudian techniques of interpretation. Although Kafka does employ psychoanalytical methods to interpret two dreams, he ultimately abandons this approach and adopts the occult discourse about dreams containing ciphers about the destiny of the soul. This suggests that his passion for recording his dreams was increasingly impelled by spiritual objectives.

Keywords:   Kafka, dreams, Sigmund Freud, dream interpretation, interpretation of dreams, symbolism of dreams, significance of dreams, dreams in the Bible

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