Page 151. " One of the first books that came into my hands once I could read "



   Freud alludes to his early intellectual accomplishment, by claiming as childhood reading a lengthy series of historical volumes by two-time French prime minister Adolphe Thiers (1797-1877).  André Masséna was one of Napoleon Bonaparte's most prominent military commanders during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars which Thiers chronicled.


Online editions of Thiers' 'History of the Consulate and the Empire of France Under Napoleon' in twenty volumes, (1845-1862)

Page 154. " nine squares in such a way that in whatever direction you add them up, they come to 15 "

    Reference to a simple form of the 'magic square' mathematical trick which has served both recreational and superstitious purposes for thousands of years, originating amongst the scholars of ancient China.


Online history of the 'magic square' at Dr Mike's Math Games for Kids!


Page 155. " Then on the Graben she sinks to her knees as if she has collapsed "

   Der Graben (The Trench) was and remains a famous shopping street in Vienna's city-centre.  Despite growing in respectability and profitability throughout the 19th century it was, as Freud alleges, a famous haunt of high-class prostitutes nicknamed the grabennymphen.

Google Map
Page 157. " I never knew the name of the novel, nor that of its author, but I can remember its conclusion very vividly "

   Freud refers here to the historical novel Hypatia by English author Charles Kingsley (1819–1875), recounting the fictionalised adventures of a Christian scholar named Philammon in 5th-century Alexandria.  Freud's recollection of the novel's ending is decidedly less than vivid: the hero becomes not a madman but a widely respected abbot before his death, and mingles into his prayers the names of the two women he loved, not three.  Falsely remembering a third enables Freud to continue his interpretation with a leap to the three Fates of classical myth (See note below). 


Online edition of Charles Kingsley's 'Hypatia; or New Foes with an Old Face', (1853)

Page 159. " the three Fates who spin man's destiny "

   In Greek myth the Fates, or Moirae, were variously described as being a single being or many, descended from the gods or superior to them.  Their number ultimately became fixed at three: one to spin, one to measure, and one to cut the thread of life.  The first is named Clotho, whose responsibility for birth makes her a mother to all, as Freud implies by comparing her to his own.


Online overview of the Fates' mythical evolution, at

Page 159. " Suck on at Wisdom's breasts, you'll find | She daily grows more sweet and kind "


  A line from Part I of Faust, a metaphysical tragedy by German polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832).  Like most of the lines Freud quotes it is spoken by the demon Mephistopheles, who speaks and acts on behalf of Satan (See note to page 65)


Online text of Faust: The First Part of the Tragedy, (first published 1808)



Page 159. " there arose the recollection of another dear teacher "

   Reference to Ernst von Fleischl-Marxow (See note to page 88).

Page 160. " Goethe once remarked about how sensitive we are about our names "

   Reference to an anecdote in Book Ten of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's autobiography.  He recounts how his friend, the poet Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803), sent him a note which played on the similarity between his name and the German words götter (god), Goten (Goths), and kot (dung). 

Online edition of Goethe's autobiography, 'Truth and Poetry: From my Own Life', translated by John Oxenford, (1848)

Page 160. " I have arrived at the Westbahnhof to set off for my holiday at Aussee "

   Wien Westbahnof is a major Austrian railway station, one of the two largest in Vienna, and the point of departure for trains to many other parts of Europe.  Bad Ischl is a town in upper Austria with rich salt deposits which made it a fashionable spa resort during the 19th century, when the medicinal properties of brine baths were widely touted.  In the mid 1800s it became the summer residence of Austria's imperial family.











Google Map

Google Map


Page 160. " I see Count Thun on the platform, who for his part is bound to Ischl to see the Emperor "

   Franz Anton von Thun und Hohenstein (1847-1916) was an Austro-Hungarian nobleman who briefly served as Austrian prime minister between 1898 and 1899, resigning after his Czech sympathies gave rise to diplomatic tension with Germany. 

Page 161. " I am singing to myself something which I then recognize as an aria from The Marriage of Figaro "

   The aria Freud recalls is from a recitative between the Countess, Susanna and Figaro in the satirical opera The Marriage of Figaro, one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's most famous works.  It was adapted from The Follies of a Day, or The Marriage of Figaro, a successful stage comedy of 1778 by Pierre Beaumarchais (See note to page 276).  


Online recording of the recitative from Act II, Scene One, of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's  'The Marriage of Figaro', (1784)


Online text of the libretto, by Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749-1838)

Page 163. " a fantasy transporting the dreamer to the revolutionary year of 1848 "



   1848 saw a number of political uprisings in numerous European nations, incited by the 'June days' workers' revolt in Paris (See note to page 23).  Viennese physician Adolf Fischof (1816-1893) was a leader of the Academic Legion, an organisation of university students who were a powerful revolutionary force in the city until they were crushed by the Austrian miliary, which placed Vienna under martial law. 

Page 163. " the scene in Shakespeare which inaugurates the civil war of the white and red roses "


Lancaster Rose
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLancaster Rose - Credit: Booyabazooka
Yorkshire rose
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeYorkshire rose - Credit: Booyabazooka

   A reference to William Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part I which chronicles the build up to the Wars of the Roses, a series of late 15th century conflicts for the throne of England between the houses of Lancaster and York.  In Act II Scene Four the two opposing leaders, Richard Plantagenet for York and the Duke of Somerset for Lancaster, select white and red roses respectively as symbols of their causes.


Online text of the play at


Page 163. " the habit of teasing his wife with 'Fifty years ago', after the title of a poem by Lord Tennyson "

   A reference to the first line, rather than the title, of The Roses on the Terrace by Alfred Tennyson (Demeter, and Other Poems, 1889):


    ROSE, on this terrace fifty years ago,  

    When I was in my June, you in your May,  

    Two words, ‘My Rose,’ set all your face aglow,  

    And now that I am white and you are gray,


    That blush of fifty years ago, my dear,

    Blooms in the past, but close to me to-day,  

    As this red rose, which on our terrace here

    Glows in the blue of fifty miles away.


Page 164. " I learned this from Zola's Germinal, in which children are invited to bring salad leaves of this sort with them "
Two dandelions side-by-side in some grass, (2008)
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumTwo dandelions side-by-side in some grass, (2008) - Credit: Lewis Collard

   Zola's novel chronicles the poverty and growing radicalism of French miners in the 1860s, often considered his masterpiece and certainly amongst his most successful.  In Chapter Four a child is ordered to gather for dinner a salad of dandelions, called hufflatich in German and, in French, pisse-en-lit - literally 'wet-the-bed', a reference to the plant's diuretic properties.


Online edition of Émile Zola's 'Germinal', as translated by Havelock Ellis, (1885)
Page 165. " Not in Germinal but in La Terre, an error I only noticed after the analysis "


   Émile Zola's La Terre (1887) chronicles the decline of a farming family, depicting the squalor and poverty of rural life in 19th-century France (including, as Freud suggests, recreational farting competitions).  Freud's determination to preserve his errors of thinking in his dream accounts indicate the importance of so-called 'slips' for his psychological theory.


Online edition of Émile Zola's 'La Terre', as translated by Henry Vizetelly, (1888)


Page 165. " the sailing of the Armada against England, after whose defeat the English had a commemorative medallion struck "

   The late-16th century conflict between Catholic Spain and Protestant England came to a head in 1588 when Philip II of Spain launched a full-scale naval invasion of Britain.  After being temporarily repelled by English forces, the Spaniards retreated around the west coast of Ireland, where a combination of the current and unusually powerful gales destroyed what remained of their fleet's invasive prospects.  This event was seen by many in England as a sign of the nation's divine righteousness, and was commemorated in a number of medals bearing inscriptions such as flavit et dissipati sunt ('He blew with His winds, and they were scattered'). 

Page 166. " Anyone who recalls Master Rabelais's unsurpassed account of the life and deeds of Gargantua "

    Amongst the many works of French physician and satirical writer François Rabelais (circa 1494-1553) are a series of five novels which chronicle the comically grotesque Life of Gargantua and of Pantagrue, a father-and-son pair of giants.  Freud alludes to a scene in Chapter XVII of the second volume, in which the elder of the two drowns over a quarter-of-a-million inhabitants of Paris with a flood of urine. 


Online edition of François Rabelais' 'Gargantua', as translated by Thomas Urquhart and Peter Antony Motteux, (1534)