The Dreams of Santiago Ramon y Cajal

ISBN : 9780190619619

Benjamin Ehrlich
160 ページ
156 x 235 mm

The Spanish anatomist Santiago Ramon y Cajal (1852-1934) explored the microscopic world of the brain and found a landscape inhabited by distinctly individual cells, later termed neurons. "The mysterious butterflies of the soul," he called them, "whose beating of wings may one day reveal to us the secrets of the mind." Although he ranks among the greatest scientists in history, the name of the Nobel Prize-winning "father of modern neuroscience" is not as well-known as that of Darwin, Pasteur, Galileo, Einstein, Copernicus, and Isaac Newton. The second half of the nineteenth century saw a revolution in the study of the mind. Cajal was a contemporary of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), whose radical theories would scandalize the next century. Before he was a neuroanatomist Cajal conducted psychiatric experiments and before Freud became a psychiatrist, he worked in neuroanatomy. In public, Cajal spoke respectfully about Freud, but in private, Cajal rejected the man and his theories. In order to disprove Freud's "lies," Cajal started to record his own dreams in a diary, part of a notably personal book project, which he worked on from 1918 until his death in 1934. For reasons unknown, Cajal never published this work. Until recently, it was assumed that the manuscript had been destroyed during the Spanish Civil War. The Dreams of Santiago Ramon y Cajal is this lost dream diary, translated into English for the first time. The text is accompanied by an introduction to the life and work of Cajal, his relationship with the famed Viennese psychoanalyst, and the historical context surrounding the contributions of two great dueling intellects.


A Note on the Translation

Part 1 The Founder of Modern Neuroscience
Chapter 1 Cajal's Legacy
Chapter 2 Cajal and Psychology
Chapter 3 Cajal and Dream Research
Chapter 4 Cajal and Spanish Freudianism
Chapter 5 Comparing the Lives of Cajal and Freud
Chapter 6 The Effects of Hypnosis and Suggestion
Chapter 7 On The Divergence of Psychology and Neuroanatomy
Chapter 8 Cajal's Psyche and His Readings of Freud
Chapter 9 The Father of Modern Neuroscience and His Father
Chapter 10 The Dream Diary's Strange Fate

Part Two The Dream Diary of Santiago Ramon y Cajal
Chapter 11 The Dreams of Cajal



Benjamin Ehrlich is a Salzburg Global Fellow. His work has appeared in Nautilus and New England Review. He is a Co-Founding Editor of The Beautiful Brain, an online magazine devoted to art and neuroscience. Ben graduated from Middlebury College with Highest Honors in Literary Studies.