This map plots the settings and references in The Interpretation of Dreams
To start exploring, click a red pin
Freud's home for most of his life, and for all but the bitter end of his professional career, turn-of-the-century Vienna is a palpable presence throughout the book. The capital of what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it had undergone extensive expansion and architectural revitalisation under Emperor Franz Joseph I, who reigned from the mid-1800s until 1916. Franz Joseph also worked to diminish institutional prejudice against Jews and establish equal rights, attracting an influx of upwardly-mobile middle class families, including Freud's. Nevertheless, Freud does not hesitate to record the lingering presence of antisemitism in his own experience of Viennese society, as well as that of his friends and family, at various points throughout the book. It was only when Nazism reached his doorstep that an elderly Freud would finally leave the city which had provided him with the setting and subjects for his greatest work.
Following his final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, French dictator Napoleon Bonaparte spent the last years of his life as a British prisoner on the isolated island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic.
Moselle wines are produced in any one of the several European territories which contain a stretch of the so-named river, including the high quality wine-region of Mosel in western Germany.
Johann Maria Farina (1685-1766) was an Italian perfumer who founded the oldest perfume factory still in business in Cologne, Germany, as well as inventing the famous scent to which he gave the city's name. His eau de Cologne was an enormous success, popular in the royal courts of numerous European nations throughout the 18th-century before finally being subsumed by a raft of imitations, its name entering common usage as a synonym for perfume in general.
Orvieto is the name of both a fortified city and the nearby wine region in central Italy, active since the Middle Ages and known especially for the white wine it produces.
On 24 December 1800, in the Rue Saint-Nicaise, Paris, royalist conspirators attempted to assassinate Napoleon Bonaparte as he travelled to the opera. A large barrel of hidden explosives was set off nearby as his carriage passed, killing dozens of bystanders but leaving the then First Consul of France unscathed.
Napoleon’s 1797 defeat of Austrian forces at the Tagliamento river in northeast Italy had been an important victory for the French Revolutionary army. Like much of the second or third-hand evidence presented in this chapter, Freud’s record of Napoleon’s dream should be regarded with suspicion.
As the town of Bernburg in central Germany is roughly 150 miles from the coast, and the Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly-landlocked alpine microstate in Western Europe, neither is particularly famed for its naval achievements.
At the Battle of Poltava in 1709, Russian forces decisively triumphed over the hugely outnumbered army of Swedish king Charles XII, setting in motion Sweden’s fall from its position as a great power in Northern Europe. Enlisting in Charles' army on the eve of the battle would therefore have been akin to joining Napoleon’s infantry en route to Waterloo.
Zhongguo (Chinese - '中国/中國', English - 'Middle Kingdom') is one of several long-standing Chinese names for China itself. The mandarins were a civil service of specialised, scholarly bureaucrats who served and administrated the will of their imperial rulers for over a thousand years.
In 1895 Alfred Dreyfus (1859-1935), a French artillery officer, was wrongfully convicted of passing military secrets to the Germans, and sentenced to lifelong solitary confinement at the infamous penal colony on Devil's Island, off the northern coast of South America. His Jewish background made him a target of institutional prejudice, his superiors moving repeatedly to suppress evidence which might have proven his innocence.
As Freud's reference attests, the so-called 'Dreyfus Affair' became the focus of international attention and widespread outrage, incited by influential figures like the novelist Émile Zola. After over a decade of imprisonment, Dreyfus would finally be exhonerated in 1906. Following an unsuccessful assassination attempt, reinstated and promoted, he went on to serve throughout the Great War. At its close he was awarded France's highest decoration, the légion d'honneur.
Online text of Émile Zola's open letter 'J'Accuse...!', published in L'Aurore, (1898)
The Wiener Prater is a large public park in the second district of Vienna – originally used as a hunting ground by various noble owners, it was opened and developed for public use from the 18th century onwards.
Offical website of the 'Prater'
The Tiber is the main river of Rome. The mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian was erected on its banks between 135 and 139 AD, housing not only his own remains but those of succeeding Roman emperors until early in the next century. The building was variously looted or repurposed over the years, ultimately converted into the fortress now known as the Castel Sant'Angelo - the Pont Sant'Angelo bridge connects it with the opposite bank.
An adage popular in a number of languages for at least a millenium – sometimes linked to the 'Millarium Aureum', a gilded monument which once stood in the Forum of Rome, from which all major roads throughout the Empire were said to be measured.
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.
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.
The statue Freud describes is the centrepiece of the Josefplatz square near the Hofburg Palace, residence of Austria's former Emperors and now its President. It commemorates Austrian ruler and Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II (1741-1790) with a Latin inscription: "For the well-being of his country he lived not long but wholly".
The most significant Etrurian gravesite in Orvieto is the necropolis at the site now called 'Crocifisso di Tufo', one of the largest in central Italy. Excavated during the 19th century, it has remained open to the public since, although the tombs are largely empty after the plundering of their contents for display in various museums abroad.
Information page about the tombs, at the Umbria Archaeological site
The Riva degli Schiavoni is Venice's main waterfront promenade, running along the lagoon's northern bank just east of the famous Piazza San Marco. A hotspot for tourists, the Riva offers one of the city's best known views across the water to the island of San Giorgio Maggiore.
The Isonzo or Soča (Slovene) river which originates in the Slovenian Alps, flowing through North-Eastern Italy, is known for its distinctive emerald-green waters. The Carso or Karst (German) plateau region marks the border between the two nations, its weathered limestone terrain giving the name 'karst topography' to similar locations around the world.