From literary theory to social anthropology, the influence of Freud runs through every part of the human and social sciences. In The Lure of Dreams, Harvie Ferguson shows how Freud's writings and particularly The Interpretation of Dreams contribute, both in their content and in the baroque and dream-like forms in which they are cast, to our understanding of the character of modernity. He argues that the recent tendency to view Freud's work mainly as a product of nineteenth-century developments in biology and medicine have obscured what is most important and suggestive for us in his writings. Instead Harvie Ferguson discusses the development of Freud's ideas in the context of the Viennese fin de siecle culture in which they were nurtured, and examines the extent to which they reflect a breakdown of classical forms of rationalism in both the sciences and the arts and, more generally, the rehabilitation of dreams in late modernity. This novel and stimulating approach to Freud and to the dilemmas of modernity and postmodernity will fascinate everyone with an interest in the development of modern consciousness.
Published: 18th April 1996