On the Nightmare
by Ernest Jones
ON THE NIGHTMARE by ERNEST JONES. Originally published in 1931. PREFACE: THE history of this book is as follows. Only Part I. I has appeared hitherto ... Show synopsis ON THE NIGHTMARE by ERNEST JONES. Originally published in 1931. PREFACE: THE history of this book is as follows. Only Part I. I has appeared hitherto in English, in the A merican Journal of Insanity, January 1910. Part II. is a translation from a booklet entitled Der Alptraum in seiner Beziehung zu gewissen Formen des mittelalterlichen Aberglaubens, which was published in 1912 as Heft XIV. of the Schriften zur angewandten Seelenkunde. Part III. was being prepared for publication when the War broke out, and pressure of other work has laid it aside till now. Part IV., now marked off separately, was the Conclusion to Der Alptraum. Most of the book was thus written in the years 1909 and 1910. In revising it for English publi cation I have freely re-arranged the material, especially in Part III. Some confirmatory material of which I have jotted down notes from time to time has been added, but anything substantially post-dating the original is enclosed in square brackets. Professor Priebsch has read through the chapter on etymology Part III. Chapter V., but while grateful to him for his kindly criticism I do not wish to hold him responsible for the views there expressed. To the courtesy of Professor Ganz of Basle I owe both the permission to reproduce the plate of Fuselis celebrated picture and also practical assistance in making this possible. To my wife, Dr. Katherine Jones, I am deeply indebted for much expert criticism and suggestion and for unfailing encouragement and help in what in the circumstances of my life was an arduous labour. The question may naturally arise why, in a study ad vancing so rapidly as psycho-analysis is, one should think it worth while to publish work done more than twenty years ago. The answer lies only partly in the numerous requests that it should be made accessible. A more compelling reason will be discovered in the fol lowing considerations. For the true significance of the Nightmare to be pro perly appreciated, first by the learned professions and then by the general public, would in my opinion entail consequences, both scientific and social, to which the term momentous might well be applied. What is at issue is nothing less than the very meaning of religion itself. In this book I have, brought forward reasons why an intensive study of the Nightmare and the beliefs held about it makes it hard to avoid the conclusion that re ligion is in its essence one of the means hitherto per haps the most valuable of helping mankind to cope with the burden of guilt and fear everyone inherits in his unconscious from the deepest stirrings of mental life, the primordial conflict over incest. Other workers, notably Freud and Reik, have confirmed and amplified this con clusion, which the world will one day have seriously to take into its reckoning. January 1931.