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Title: Delusion and Dream - An Interpretation in the Light of Psychoanalysis of Gradiva
Author: Freud, Sigmund, 1856-1939, Jensen, Wilhelm, 1837-1911
Language: English
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  Author of “The Interpretation of Dreams,” ETC.


  President of Clark University



To Dr. G. Stanley Hall, President of Clark University, who first called
to my attention the charm of _Gradiva_, by Wilhelm Jensen, and suggested
the possibility of the translation and publication combined with the
translation of Freud’s commentary, I am deeply grateful for his kindly
interest and effort in connection with the publication of the book, and
his assistance with the technical terms of psychopathology.

In this connection I am also indebted to Dr. Smith Ely Jelliffe, who
gave many helpful suggestions as a result of his thorough reading of the
manuscript of the commentary.

I wish also to express my profound appreciation to my friend, Miss M.
Evelyn Fitzsimmons, for her generous help with the original manuscript
and other valuable comments offered while she was reading the entire

                                                       HELEN M. DOWNEY.
  Worcester, Mass.


  PREFACE                                                5

  INTRODUCTION                                           9
      By _Dr. G. Stanley Hall_

                            PART I

  GRADIVA                                               13
     _A Novel, by Wilhelm Jensen_

                            PART II

  DELUSION AND DREAM                                   111
      _In “Gradiva,” by Dr. Sigmund Freud_


Jensen’s brilliant and unique story of _Gradiva_ has not only literary
merit of very high order, but may be said to open up a new field for
romance. It is the story of a young archæologist who suffered a very
characteristic mental disturbance and was gradually but effectively
cured by a kind of native psychotherapeutic instinct, which probably
inheres in all of us, but which in this case was found in the girl he
formerly loved but had forgotten, and who restored at the same time his
health and his old affection for her.

Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about the work is that the author
knew nothing of psychotherapy as such, but wrought his way through the
labyrinth of mechanisms that he in a sense rediscovered and set to work,
so that it needed only the application of technical terms to make this
romance at the same time a pretty good key to the whole domain of
psychoanalysis. In a sense it is a dream-story, but no single dream ever
began to be so true to the typical nature of dreams; it is a clinical
picture, but I can think of no clinical picture that had its natural
human interest so enhanced by a moving romance. _Gradiva_ might be an
introduction to psychoanalysis, and is better than anything else we can
think of to popularize it.

It might be added that while this romance has been more thoroughly
analysed than any other, and that by Freud himself, it is really only
one of many which in the literature of the subject have been used to
show forth the mysterious ways of the unconscious. It indicates that
psychoanalysis has a future in literary criticism, if not that all art
and artists have, from the beginning, more or less anticipated as they
now illustrate it.

The translator is thoroughly competent and has done her work with
painstaking conscientiousness, and she has had the great advantage of
having it revised, especially with reference to the translation of
technical terms from the German, by no less an eminent expert in
psychotherapy than Dr. Smith Ely Jelliffe.

                                                       G. STANLEY HALL.

  _PART I_






On a visit to one of the great antique collections of Rome, Norbert
Hanold had discovered a bas-relief which was exceptionally attractive to
him, so he was much pleased, after his return to Germany, to be able to
get a splendid plaster-cast of it. This had now been hanging for some
years on one of the walls of his work-room, all the other walls of which
were lined with bookcases. Here it had the advantage of a position with
the right light exposure, on a wall visited, though but briefly, by the
evening sun. About one-third life-size, the bas-relief represented a
complete female figure in the act of walking; she was still young, but
no longer in childhood and, on the other hand, apparently not a woman,
but a Roman virgin about in her twentieth year. In no way did she remind
one of the numerous extant bas-reliefs of a Venus, a Diana, or other
Olympian goddess, and equally little of a Psyche or nymph. In her was
embodied something humanly commonplace—not in a bad sense—to a degree
a sense of present time, as if the artist, instead of making a pencil
sketch of her on a sheet of paper, as is done in our day, had fixed her
in a clay model quickly, from life, as she passed on the street, a tall,
slight figure, whose soft, wavy hair a folded kerchief almost completely
bound; her rather slender face was not at all dazzling; and the desire
to produce such effect was obviously equally foreign to her; in the
delicately formed features was expressed a nonchalant equanimity in
regard to what was occurring about her; her eye, which gazed calmly
ahead, bespoke absolutely unimpaired powers of vision and thoughts
quietly withdrawn. So the young woman was fascinating, not at all
because of plastic beauty of form, but because she possessed something
rare in antique sculpture, a realistic, simple, maidenly grace which
gave the impression of imparting life to the relief. This was effected
chiefly by the movement represented in the picture. With her head bent
forward a little, she held slightly raised in her left hand, so that her
sandalled feet became visible, her garment which fell in exceedingly
voluminous folds from her throat to her ankles. The left foot had
advanced, and the right, about to follow, touched the ground only
lightly with the tips of the toes, while the sole and heel were raised
almost vertically. This movement produced a double impression of
exceptional agility and of confident composure, and the flight-like
poise, combined with a firm step, lent her the peculiar grace.

Where had she walked thus and whither was she going? Doctor Norbert
Hanold, docent of archæology, really found in the relief nothing
noteworthy for his science. It was not a plastic production of great art
of the antique times, but was essentially a Roman _genre_ production,
and he could not explain what quality in it had aroused his attention;
he knew only that he had been attracted by something and this effect of
the first view had remained unchanged since then. In order to bestow a
name upon the piece of sculpture, he had called it to himself Gradiva,
“the girl splendid in walking.” That was an epithet applied by the
ancient poets solely to Mars Gradivus, the war-god going out to battle,
yet to Norbert it seemed the most appropriate designation for the
bearing and movement of the young girl, or, according to the expression
of our day, of the young lady, for obviously she did not belong to a
lower class but was the daughter of a nobleman, or at any rate was of
honourable family. Perhaps—her appearance brought the idea to his mind
involuntarily—she might be of the family of a patrician ædile whose
office was connected with the worship of Ceres, and she was on her way
to the temple of the goddess on some errand.

Yet it was contrary to the young archæologist’s feeling to put her in
the frame of great, noisy, cosmopolitan Rome. To his mind, her calm,
quiet manner did not belong in this complex machine where no one heeded
another, but she belonged rather in a smaller place where every one knew
her, and, stopping to glance after her, said to a companion, “That is
Gradiva”—her real name Norbert could not supply—“the daughter of ——,
she walks more beautifully than any other girl in our city.”

As if he had heard it thus with his own ears, the idea had become firmly
rooted in his mind, where another supposition had developed almost into
a conviction. On his Italian journey, he had spent several weeks in
Pompeii studying the ruins; and in Germany, the idea had suddenly come
to him one day that the girl depicted by the relief was walking there,
somewhere, on the peculiar stepping-stones which have been excavated;
these had made a dry crossing possible in rainy weather, but had
afforded passage for chariot-wheels. Thus he saw her putting one foot
across the interstice while the other was about to follow, and as he
contemplated the girl, her immediate and more remote environment rose
before his imagination like an actuality. It created for him, with the
aid of his knowledge of antiquity, the vista of a long street, among the
houses of which were many temples and porticoes. Different kinds of
business and trades, stalls, work-shops, taverns came into view; bakers
had their breads on display; earthenware jugs, set into marble counters,
offered everything requisite for household and kitchen; at the street
corner sat a woman offering vegetables and fruit for sale from baskets;
from a half-dozen large walnuts she had removed half of the shell to
show the meat, fresh and sound, as a temptation for purchasers. Wherever
the eye turned, it fell upon lively colours, gaily painted wall
surfaces, pillars with red and yellow capitals; everything reflected the
glitter and glare of the dazzling noonday sun. Farther off on a high
base rose a gleaming, white statue, above which, in the distance, half
veiled by the tremulous vibrations of the hot air, loomed Mount
Vesuvius, not yet in its present cone shape and brown aridity, but
covered to its furrowed, rocky peak with glistening verdure. In the
street only a few people moved about, seeking shade wherever possible,
for the scorching heat of the summer noon hour paralysed the usually
bustling activities. There Gradiva walked over the stepping-stones and
scared away from them a shimmering, golden-green lizard.

Thus the picture stood vividly before Norbert Hanold’s eyes, but from
daily contemplation of her head, another new conjecture had gradually
arisen. The cut of her features seemed to him, more and more, not Roman
or Latin, but Greek, so that her Hellenic ancestry gradually became for
him a certainty. The ancient settlement of all southern Italy by Greeks
offered sufficient ground for that, and more ideas pleasantly associated
with the settlers developed. Then the young “domina” had perhaps spoken
Greek in her parental home, and had grown up fostered by Greek culture.
Upon closer consideration he found this also confirmed by the expression
of the face, for quite decidedly wisdom and a delicate spirituality lay
hidden beneath her modesty.

These conjectures or discoveries could, however, establish no real
archæological interest in the little relief, and Norbert was well aware
that something else, which no doubt might be under the head of science,
made him return to frequent contemplation of the likeness. For him it
was a question of critical judgment as to whether the artist had
reproduced Gradiva’s manner of walking from life. About that he could
not become absolutely certain, and his rich collection of copies of
antique plastic works did not help him in this matter. The nearly
vertical position of the right foot seemed exaggerated; in all
experiments which he himself made, the movement left his rising foot
always in a much less upright position; mathematically formulated, his
stood, during the brief moment of lingering, at an angle of only
forty-five degrees from the ground, and this seemed to him natural for
the mechanics of walking, because it served the purpose best. Once he
used the presence of a young anatomist friend as an opportunity for
raising the question, but the latter was not able to deliver a definite
decision, as he had made no observations in this connection. He
confirmed the experience of his friend, as agreeing with his own, but
could not say whether a woman’s manner of walking was different from
that of a man, and the question remained unanswered.

In spite of this, the discussion had not been without profit, for it
suggested something that had not formerly occurred to him; namely,
observation from life for the purpose of enlightenment on the matter.
That forced him, to be sure, to a mode of action utterly foreign to him;
women had formerly been for him only a conception in marble or bronze,
and he had never given his feminine contemporaries the least
consideration; but his desire for knowledge transported him into a
scientific passion in which he surrendered himself to the peculiar
investigation which he recognized as necessary. This was hindered by
many difficulties in the human throng of the large city, and results of
the research were to be hoped for only in the less frequented streets.
Yet, even there, long skirts generally made the mode of walking
undiscernible, for almost no one but housemaids wore short skirts and
they, with the exception of a few, because of their heavy shoes could
not well be considered in solving the question. In spite of this he
steadfastly continued his survey in dry, as well as in wet weather; he
perceived that the latter promised the quickest results, for it caused
the ladies to raise their skirts. To many ladies, his searching glances
directed at their feet must have inevitably been quite noticeable;
sometimes a displeased expression of the lady observed showed that she
considered his demeanour a mark of boldness or ill-breeding; sometimes,
as he was a young man of very captivating appearance, the opposite, a
bit of encouragement, was expressed by a pair of eyes. Yet one was as
incomprehensible to him as the other. Gradually his perseverance
resulted in the collection of a considerable number of observations,
which brought to his attention many differences. Some walked slowly,
some fast, some ponderously, some buoyantly. Many let their soles merely
glide over the ground; not many raised them more obliquely to a smarter
position. Among all, however, not a single one presented to view
Gradiva’s manner of walking. That filled him with satisfaction that he
had not been mistaken in his archæological judgment of the relief. On
the other hand, however, his observations caused him annoyance, for he
found the vertical position of the lingering foot beautiful, and
regretted that it had been created by the imagination or arbitrary act
of the sculptor and did not correspond to reality.

Soon after his pedestrian investigations had yielded him this knowledge,
he had, one night, a dream which caused him great anguish of mind. In it
he was in old Pompeii, and on the twenty-fourth of August of the year
79, which witnessed the eruption of Vesuvius. The heavens held the
doomed city wrapped in a black mantle of smoke; only here and there the
flaring masses of flame from the crater made distinguishable, through a
rift, something steeped in blood-red light; all the inhabitants, either
individually or in confused crowd, stunned out of their senses by the
unusual horror, sought safety in flight; the pebbles and the rain of
ashes fell down on Norbert also, but, after the strange manner of
dreams, they did not hurt him, and in the same way, he smelled the
deadly sulphur fumes of the air without having his breathing impeded by
them. As he stood thus at the edge of the Forum near the Jupiter temple,
he suddenly saw Gradiva a short distance in front of him. Until then no
thought of her presence there had moved him, but now suddenly it seemed
natural to him, as she was, of course, a Pompeiian girl, that she was
living in her native city and, without his having any suspicion of it,
was his contemporary. He recognized her at first glance; the stone model
of her was splendidly striking in every detail, even to her gait;
involuntarily he designated this as “lente festinans.” So with buoyant
composure and the calm unmindfulness of her surroundings peculiar to
her, she walked across the flagstones of the Forum to the Temple of
Apollo. She seemed not to notice the impending fate of the city, but to
be given up to her thoughts; on that account he also forgot the
frightful occurrence, for at least a few moments, and because of a
feeling that the living reality would quickly disappear from him again,
he tried to impress it accurately on his mind. Then, however, he became
suddenly aware that if she did not quickly save herself, she must perish
in the general destruction, and violent fear forced from him a cry of
warning. She heard it, too, for her head turned toward him so that her
face now appeared for a moment in full view, yet with an utterly
uncomprehending expression; and, without paying any more attention to
him, she continued in the same direction as before. At the same time,
her face became paler as if it were changing to white marble; she
stepped up to the portico of the Temple, and then, between the pillars,
she sat down on a step and slowly laid her head upon it. Now the pebbles
were falling in such masses that they condensed into a completely opaque
curtain; hastening quickly after her, however, he found his way to the
place where she had disappeared from his view, and there she lay,
protected by the projecting roof, stretched out on the broad step, as if
for sleep, but no longer breathing, apparently stifled by the sulphur
fumes. From Vesuvius the red glow flared over her countenance, which,
with closed eyes, was exactly like that of a beautiful statue. No fear
nor distortion was apparent, but a strange equanimity, calmly submitting
to the inevitable, was manifest in her features. Yet they quickly became
more indistinct as the wind drove to the place the rain of ashes, which
spread over them, first like a grey gauze veil, then extinguished the
last glimpse of her face, and soon, like a Northern winter snowfall,
buried the whole figure under a smooth cover. Outside, the pillars of
the Temple of Apollo rose, now, however, only half of them, for the grey
fall of ashes heaped itself likewise against them.

When Norbert Hanold awoke, he still heard the confused cries of the
Pompeiians who were seeking safety, and the dully resounding boom of the
surf of the turbulent sea. Then he came to his senses; the sun cast a
golden gleam of light across his bed; it was an April morning and
outside sounded the various noises of the city, cries of venders, and
the rumbling of vehicles. Yet the dream picture still stood most
distinctly in every detail before his open eyes, and some time was
necessary before he could get rid of a feeling that he had really been
present at the destruction on the bay of Naples, that night nearly two
thousand years ago. While he was dressing, he first became gradually
free from it, yet he did not succeed, even by the use of critical
thought, in breaking away from the idea that Gradiva had lived in
Pompeii and had been buried there in 79. Rather, the former conjecture
had now become to him an established certainty, and now the second also
was added. With woful feeling he now viewed in his living-room the old
relief which had assumed new significance for him. It was, in a way, a
tombstone by which the artist had preserved for posterity the likeness
of the girl who had so early departed this life. Yet if one looked at
her with enlightened understanding, the expression of her whole being
left no doubt that, on that fateful night, she had actually lain down to
die with just such calm as the dream had showed. An old proverb says
that the darlings of the gods are taken from the earth in the full
vigour of youth.

Without having yet put on a collar, in morning array, with slippers on
his feet, Norbert leaned on the open window and gazed out. The spring,
which had finally arrived in the north also, was without, but announced
itself in the great quarry of the city only by the blue sky and the soft
air, yet a foreboding of it reached the senses, and awoke in remote,
sunny places a desire for leaf-green, fragrance and bird song; a breath
of it came as far as this place; the market women on the street had
their baskets adorned with a few, bright wild flowers, and at an open
window, a canary in a cage warbled his song. Norbert felt sorry for the
poor fellow for, beneath the clear tone, in spite of the joyful note, he
heard the longing for freedom and the open.

Yet the thoughts of the young archæologist dallied but briefly there,
for something else had crowded into them. Not until then had he become
aware that in the dream he had not noticed exactly whether the living
Gradiva had really walked as the piece of sculpture represented her, and
as the women of to-day, at any rate, did not walk. That was remarkable
because it was the basis of his scientific interest in the relief; on
the other hand, it could be explained by his excitement over the danger
to her life. He tried, in vain, however, to recall her gait.

Then suddenly something like a thrill passed through him; in the first
moment he could not say whence. But then he realized; down in the
street, with her back toward him, a female, from figure and dress
undoubtedly a young lady, was walking along with easy, elastic step. Her
dress, which reached only to her ankles, she held lifted a little in her
left hand, and he saw that in walking the sole of her slender foot, as
it followed, rose for a moment vertically on the tips of the toes. It
appeared so, but the distance and the fact that he was looking down did
not admit of certainty.

Quickly Norbert Hanold was in the street without yet knowing exactly how
he had come there. He had, like a boy sliding down a railing, flown like
lightning down the steps, and was running down among the carriages,
carts and people. The latter directed looks of wonder at him, and from
several lips came laughing, half mocking exclamations. He was unaware
that these referred to him; his glance was seeking the young lady and he
thought that he distinguished her dress a few dozen steps ahead of him,
but only the upper part; of the lower half, and of her feet, he could
perceive nothing, for they were concealed by the crowd thronging on the

Now an old, comfortable, vegetable woman stretched her hand toward his
sleeve, stopped him and said, half grinning, “Say, my dear, you probably
drank a little too much last night, and are you looking for your bed
here in the street? You would do better to go home and look at yourself
in the mirror.”

A burst of laughter from those near by proved it true that he had shown
himself in garb not suited to public appearance, and brought him now to
realization that he had heedlessly run from his room. That surprised him
because he insisted upon conventionality of attire and, forsaking his
project, he quickly returned home, apparently, however, with his mind
still somewhat confused by the dream and dazed by illusion, for he had
perceived that, at the laughter and exclamation, the young lady had
turned her head a moment, and he thought he had seen not the face of a
stranger, but that of Gradiva looking down upon him.

                 *        *        *        *        *

Because of considerable property, Doctor Norbert Hanold was in the
pleasant position of being unhampered master of his own acts and wishes
and, upon the appearance of any inclination, of not depending for expert
counsel about it on any higher court than his own decision. In this way
he differed most favourably from the canary, who could only warble out,
without success, his inborn impulse to get out of the cage into the
sunny open. Otherwise, however, the young archæologist resembled the
latter in many respects. He had not come into the world and grown up in
natural freedom, but already at birth had been hedged in by the grating
with which family tradition, by education and predestination, had
surrounded him. From his early childhood no doubt had existed in his
parents’ house that he, as the only son of a university professor and
antiquarian, was called upon to preserve, if possible to exalt, by that
very activity the glory of his father’s name; so this business
continuity had always seemed to him the natural task of his future. He
had clung loyally to it even after the early deaths of his parents had
left him absolutely alone; in connection with his brilliantly passed
examination in philology, he had taken the prescribed student trip to
Italy and had seen in the original a number of old works of art whose
imitations, only, had formerly been accessible to him. Nothing more
instructive for him than the collections of Florence, Rome, Naples could
be offered anywhere; he could furnish evidence that the period of his
stay there had been used excellently for the enrichment of his
knowledge, and he had returned home fully satisfied to devote himself
with the new acquisitions to his science. That besides these objects
from the distant past, the present still existed round about him, he
felt only in the most shadowy way; for his feelings marble and bronze
were not dead, but rather the only really vital thing which expressed
the purpose and value of human life; and so he sat in the midst of his
walls, books and pictures, with no need of any other intercourse, but
whenever possible avoiding the latter as an empty squandering of time
and only very reluctantly submitting occasionally to an inevitable
party, attendance at which was required by the connections handed down
from his parents. Yet it was known that at such gatherings he was
present without eyes or ears for his surroundings, and as soon as it was
any way permissible, he always took his leave, under some pretext, at
the end of the lunch or dinner, and on the street he greeted none of
those whom he had sat with at the table. That served, especially with
young ladies, to put him in a rather unfavourable light; for upon
meeting even a girl with whom he had, by way of exception, spoken a few
words, he looked at her without a greeting as at a quite unknown person
whom he had never seen. Although perhaps archæology, in itself, might be
a rather curious science and although its alloy had effected a
remarkable amalgamation with Norbert Hanold’s nature, it could not
exercise much attraction for others and afforded even him little
enjoyment in life according to the usual views of youth. Yet with a
perhaps kindly intent Nature had added to his blood, without his knowing
of the possession, a kind of corrective of a thoroughly unscientific
sort, an unusually lively imagination which was present not only in
dreams, but often in his waking hours, and essentially made his mind not
preponderantly adapted to strict research method devoid of interest.
From this endowment, however, originated another similarity between him
and the canary. The latter was born in captivity, had never known
anything else than the cage which confined him in narrow quarters, but
he had an inner feeling that something was lacking to him, and sounded
from his throat his desire for the unknown. Thus Norbert Hanold
understood it, pitied him for it, returned to his room, leaned again
from the window and was thereupon moved by a feeling that he, too,
lacked a nameless something. Meditation on it, therefore, could be of no
use. The indefinite stir of emotion came from the mild, spring air, the
sunbeams and the broad expanse with its fragrant breath, and formed a
comparison for him; he was likewise sitting in a cage behind a grating.
Yet this idea was immediately followed by the palliating one that his
position was more advantageous than that of the canary, for he had in
his possession wings which were hindered by nothing from flying out into
the open at his pleasure.

But that was an idea which developed more upon reflection. Norbert gave
himself up for a time to this occupation, yet it was not long before the
project of a spring journey assumed definite shape. This he carried out
that very day, packed a light valise, and before he went south by the
night express, cast at nightfall another regretful departing glance on
Gradiva, who, steeped in the last rays of the sun, seemed to step out
with more buoyancy than ever over the invisible stepping-stones beneath
her feet. Even if the impulse for travel had originated in a nameless
feeling, further reflection had, however, granted, as a matter of
course, that it must serve a scientific purpose. It had occurred to him
that he had neglected to inform himself with accuracy about some
important archæological questions in connection with some statues in
Rome and, without stopping on the way, he made the journey of a day and
a half thither.

                 *        *        *        *        *

Not very many personally experience the beauty of going from Germany to
Italy in the spring when one is young, wealthy and independent, for even
those endowed with the three latter requirements are not always
accessible to such a feeling for beauty, especially if they (and alas
they form the majority) are in couples on the days or weeks after a
wedding, for such allow nothing to pass without an extraordinary
delight, which is expressed in numerous superlatives; and finally they
bring back home, as profit, only what they would have discovered, felt
or enjoyed exactly as much by staying there. In the spring such dualists
usually swarm over the Alpine passes in exactly opposite direction to
the birds of passage. During the whole journey they billed and cooed
around Norbert as if they were in a rolling dove-cot, and for the first
time in his life he was compelled to observe his fellow beings more
closely with eye and ear. Although, from their speech, they were all
German country people, his racial identity with them awoke in him no
feeling of pride, but rather the opposite one, that he had done
reasonably well to bother as little as possible with the _homo sapiens_
of Linnæan classification, especially in connection with the feminine
half of this species; for the first time he saw also, in his immediate
vicinity, people brought together by the mating impulse without his
being able to understand what had been the mutual cause. It remained
incomprehensible to him why the women had chosen these men, and still
more perplexing why the choice of the men had fallen upon these women.
Every time he raised his eyes, his glance had to fall on the face of
some one of them and it found none which charmed the eye by outer
attraction or possessed indication of intellect or good nature. To be
sure, he lacked a standard for measuring, for of course one could not
compare the women of to-day with the sublime beauty of the old works of
art, yet he had a dark suspicion that he was not to blame for this
unkind view, but that in all expressions there was something lacking
which ordinary life was in duty bound to offer. So he reflected for many
hours on the strange impulses of human beings, and came to the
conclusion that of all their follies, marriage, at any rate, took the
prize as the greatest and most incomprehensible one, and the senseless
wedding trips to Italy somehow capped the climax of this buffoonery.

Again, however, he was reminded of the canary that he had left behind in
captivity, for he also sat here in a cage, cooped in by the faces of
young bridal couples which were as rapturous as vapid, past which his
glance could only occasionally stray through the window. Therefore it
can be easily explained that the things passing outside before his eyes
made other impressions on him than when he had seen them some years
before. The olive foliage had more of a silver sheen; the solitary,
towering cypresses and pines here and there were delineated with more
beautiful and more distinctive outlines; the places situated on the
mountain heights seemed to him more charming, as if each one, in a
manner, were an individual with different expression; and Trasimene Lake
seemed to him of a soft blue such as he had never noticed in any surface
of water. He had a feeling that a Nature unknown to him was surrounding
the railway tracks, as if he must have passed through these places
before in continual twilight, or during a grey rainfall, and was now
seeing them for the first time in their golden abundance of colour. A
few times he surprised himself in a desire, formerly unknown to him, to
alight and seek afoot the way to this or that place because it looked to
him as if it might be concealing something peculiar or mysterious. Yet
he did not allow himself to be misled by such unreasonable impulses, but
the “diretissimo” took him directly to Rome where, already, before the
entrance into the station, the ancient world with the ruins of the
temple of Minerva Medica received him. When he had finally freed himself
from his cage filled with “inseparables,” he immediately secured
accommodations in a hotel well known to him, in order to look about from
there, without excessive haste, for a private house satisfactory to him.

Such a one he had not yet found in the course of the next day, but
returned to his “albergo” again in the evening and went to sleep rather
exhausted by the unaccustomed Italian air, the strong sun, much
wandering about and the noise of the streets. Soon consciousness began
to fade, but just as he was about to fall asleep he was again awakened,
for his room was connected with the adjoining one by a door concealed
only by a wardrobe, and into this came two guests, who had taken
possession of it that morning. From the voices which sounded through the
thin partition, they were a man and a woman who unmistakably belonged to
that class of German spring birds of passage with whom he had yesterday
journeyed hither from Florence. Their frame of mind seemed to give
decidedly favourable testimony concerning the hotel cuisine, and it
might be due to the good quality of a Castellin-romani wine that they
exchanged ideas and feelings most distinctly and audibly in North German

“My only Augustus.”

“My sweet Gretchen.”

“Now again we have each other.”

“Yes, at last we are alone again.”

“Must we do more sight-seeing to-morrow?”

“At breakfast we shall look in _Baedeker_ for what is still to be done.”

“My only Augustus, to me you are much more pleasing than Apollo

“And I have often thought, my sweet Gretchen, that you are much more
beautiful than the Capitoline Venus.”

“Is the volcano that we want to climb near here?”

“No, I think we’ll have to ride a few hours more in the train to get

“If it should begin to belch flame just as we got to the middle, what
would you do?”

“Then my only thought would be to save you, and I would take you in my

“Don’t scratch yourself on that pin!”

“I can think of nothing more beautiful than to shed my blood for you.”

“My only Augustus.”

“My sweet Gretchen.”

With that the conversation ceased, Norbert heard another ill-defined
rustling and moving of chairs, then it became quiet and he fell back
into a doze which transported him to Pompeii just as Vesuvius again
began its eruption. A vivid throng of fleeing people caught him, and
among them he saw Apollo Belvedere lift up the Capitoline Venus, take
her away and place her safely upon some object in a dark shadow; it
seemed to be a carriage or cart on which she was to be carried off, for
a rattling sound was soon heard from that direction. This mythological
occurrence did not amaze the young archæologist, but it struck him as
remarkable that the two talked German, not Greek, to each other for, as
they half regained their senses, he heard them say:

“My sweet Gretchen.”

“My only Augustus.”

But after that the dream picture changed completely. Absolute silence
took the place of the confused sound, and instead of smoke and
fire-glow, bright, hot sunlight rested on the ruins of the buried city.
This likewise changed gradually, became a bed on whose white linen
golden beams circled up to his eyes, and Norbert Hanold awoke in the
scintillating spring morning of Rome.

Within him, also, however, something had changed; why, he could not
surmise, but a strangely oppressive feeling had again taken possession
of him, a feeling that he was imprisoned in a cage which this time was
called Rome. As he opened the window, there screamed up from the street
dozens of venders’ cries far more shrill to his ear than those in his
German home; he had come only from one noisy quarry to another, and a
strangely uncanny horror of antique collections, of meeting there Apollo
Belvedere or the Capitoline Venus, frightened him away. Thus, after
brief consideration, he refrained from his intention of looking for a
dwelling, hastily packed his valise again and went farther south by
train. To escape the “inseparables,” he did this in a third-class coach,
expecting at the same time to find there an interesting and
scientifically useful company of Italian folk-types, the former models
of antique works of art. Yet he found nothing but the usual dirt,
Monopol cigars which smelled horribly, little warped fellows beating
about with arms and legs, and members of the female sex, in contrast to
whom his coupled country-women seemed to his memory almost like Olympian

                 *        *        *        *        *

Two days later Norbert Hanold occupied a rather questionable space
called a “room” in “Hotel Diomed” beside the eucalyptus-guarded
“ingresso” to the excavations of Pompeii. He had intended to stay in
Naples for some time to study again more closely the sculptures and
wall-paintings in the Museo Nazionale, but he had had an experience
there similar to that in Rome. In the room for the collection of
Pompeiian household furniture he found himself wrapped in a cloud of
feminine, ultra-fashionable travel-costumes, which had doubtless all
quickly replaced the virgin radiance of satin, silk or lace bridal
finery; each one clung to the arm of a young or old companion, likewise
faultlessly attired, according to men’s fashion standards; and Norbert’s
newly gained insight into a field of knowledge formerly unknown to him
had advanced so far as to permit him to recognize them at first glance;
every man was Augustus, every girl was Gretchen. Only this came to light
here by means of other forms of conversation tempered, moderated and
modified by the ear of publicity.

“Oh, look, that was practical of them; we’ll surely have to get a meat
warmer like that, too.”

“Yes, but for the food that my wife cooks it must be made of silver.”

“How do you know that what I cook will taste so good to you?”

The question was accompanied by a roguish, arch glance and was answered
in the affirmative, with a glance varnished with lacquer, “What you
serve to me can be nothing but delicious.”

“No; that surely is a thimble! Did the people of those days have

“It almost seems so, but you could not have done anything with that, my
darling, it would be much too large even for your thumb.”

“Do you really think that? And do you like slender fingers better than
broad ones?”

“Yours I do not need to see; by touch I could discover them, in the
deepest darkness, among all the others in the world.”

“That is really awfully interesting. Do we still really have to go to
Pompeii also?”

“No, that will hardly pay; there are only old stones and rubbish there;
whatever was of value, _Baedeker_ says, was brought here. I fear the sun
there would be too hot for your delicate complexion, and I could never
forgive myself that.”

“What if you should suddenly have a negress for a wife?”

“No, my imagination fortunately does not reach that far, but a freckle
on your little nose would make me unhappy. I think, if it is agreeable
to you, we’ll go to Capri to-morrow, my dear. There everything is said
to be very comfortable, and in the wonderful light of the Blue Grotto I
shall first realize completely what a great prize I have drawn in the
lottery of happiness.”

“You—if any one hears that, I shall be almost ashamed. But wherever you
take me, it is agreeable to me, and makes no difference, for I have you
with me.”

Augustus and Gretchen over again, somewhat toned down and tempered for
eye and ear. It seemed to Norbert Hanold that he had had thin honey
poured upon him from all sides and that he had to dispose of it swallow
by swallow. A sick feeling came over him, and he ran out of the Museo
Nazionale to the nearest “osteria” to drink a glass of vermuth. Again
and again the thought intruded itself upon his mind: Why did these
hundredfold dualities fill the museums of Florence, Rome, Naples,
instead of devoting themselves to their plural occupations in their
native Germany? Yet from a number of chats and tender talks, it seemed
to him that the majority of these bird couples did not intend to nest in
the rubbish of Pompeii, but considered a side trip to Capri much more
profitable, and thence originated his sudden impulse to do what they did
not do. There was at any rate offered to him a chance to be freed from
the main flock of this migration and to find what he was vainly seeking
here in Italy. That was also a duality, not a wedding duality, but two
members of the same family without cooing bills, silence and science,
two calm sisters with whom only one could count upon satisfactory
shelter. His desire for them contained something formerly unknown to
him; if it had not been a contradiction in itself, he could have applied
to this impulse the epithet “passionate”—and an hour later he was
already sitting in a “carrozzella” which bore him through the
interminable Portici and Resina. The journey was like one through a
street splendidly adorned for an old Roman victor; to the right and left
almost every house spread out to dry in the sun, like yellow tapestry
hangings, a super-abundant wealth of “pasta di Napoli,” the greatest
dainty of the country, thick or thin macaroni, vermicelli, spaghetti,
canelloni and fidelini, to which smoke of fats from cook-shops,
dust-clouds, flies and fleas, the fish scales flying about in the air,
chimney smoke and other day and night influences lent the familiar
delicacy of its taste. Then the cone of Vesuvius looked down close by
across brown lava fields; at the right extended the gulf of shimmering
blue, as if composed of liquid malachite and lapis lazuli. The little
nutshell on wheels flew, as if whirled forth by a mad storm and as if
every moment must be its last, over the dreadful pavement of Torre del
Greco, rattled through Torre dell’Annunziata, reached the Dioscuri,
“Hotel Suisse” and “Hotel Diomed,” which measured their power of
attraction in a ceaseless, silent, but ferocious struggle, and stopped
before the latter whose classic name, again, as on his first visit, had
determined the choice of the young archæologist. With apparently, at
least, the greatest composure, however, the modern Swiss competitor
viewed this event before its very door. It was calm because no different
water from what it used was boiled in the pots of its classic neighbour;
and the antique splendours temptingly displayed for sale over there had
not come to light again after two thousand years under the ashes, any
more than the ones which it had.

Thus Norbert Hanold, contrary to all expectations and intentions, had
been transported in a few days from northern Germany to Pompeii, found
the “Diomed” not too much filled with human guests, but on the other
hand populously inhabited by the _musca domestica communis_, the common
house-fly. He had never been subject to violent emotions; yet a hatred
of these two-winged creatures burned within him; he considered them the
basest evil invention of Nature, on their account much preferred the
winter to the summer as the only time suited to human life, and
recognized in them invincible proof against the existence of a rational
world-system. Now they received him here several months earlier than he
would have fallen to their infamy in Germany, rushed immediately about
him in dozens, as upon a patiently awaited victim, whizzed before his
eyes, buzzed in his ears, tangled themselves in his hair, tickled his
nose, forehead and hands. Therein many reminded him of honeymoon
couples, probably were also saying to each other in their language, “My
only Augustus” and “My sweet Gretchen”; in the mind of the tormented man
rose a longing for a “scacciamosche,” a splendidly made fly-flapper like
one unearthed from a burial vault, which he had seen in the Etruscan
museum in Bologna. Thus, in antiquity, this worthless creature had
likewise been the scourge of humanity, more vicious and more inevitable
than scorpions, venomous snakes, tigers and sharks, which were bent upon
only physical injury, rending or devouring the ones attacked; against
the former one could guard himself by thoughtful conduct. From the
common house-fly, however, there was no protection, and it paralysed,
disturbed and finally shattered the psychic life of human beings, their
capacity for thinking and working, every lofty flight of imagination and
every beautiful feeling. Hunger or thirst for blood did not impel them,
but solely the diabolical desire to torture; it was the “Ding an sich”
in which absolute evil had found its incarnation. The Etruscan
“scacciamosche,” a wooden handle with a bunch of fine leather strips
fastened to it, proved the following: they had destroyed the most
exalted poetic thoughts in the mind of Æschylus; they had caused the
chisel of Phidias to make an irremediable slip, had run over the brow of
Zeus, the breast of Aphrodite, and from head to foot of all Olympian
gods and goddesses; and Norbert felt in his soul that the service of a
human being was to be estimated, above all, according to the number of
flies which he had killed, pierced, burned up or exterminated in
hecatombs during his life, as avenger of his whole race from remotest

For the achievement of such fame, he lacked here the necessary weapon,
and like the greatest battle hero of antiquity, who had, however, been
alone and unable to do otherwise, he left the field, or rather his room,
in view of the hundredfold overwhelming number of the common foe.
Outside it dawned upon him that he had thereby done in a small way what
he would have to repeat on a larger scale on the morrow. Pompeii, too,
apparently offered no peacefully gratifying abode for his needs. To this
idea was added, at least dimly, another, that his dissatisfaction was
certainly caused not by his surroundings alone, but to a degree found
its origin in him. To be sure, flies had always been very repulsive to
him, but they had never before transported him into such raging fury as
this. On account of the journey his nerves were undeniably in an excited
and irritable condition, for which indoor air and overwork at home
during the winter had probably begun to pave the way. He felt that he
was out of sorts because he lacked something without being able to
explain what, and this ill-humour he took everywhere with him; of course
flies and bridal couples swarming _en masse_ were not calculated to make
life agreeable anywhere. Yet if he did not wish to wrap himself in a
thick cloud of self-righteousness, it could not remain concealed from
him that he was travelling around Italy just as aimless, senseless,
blind and deaf as they, only with considerably less capacity for
enjoyment. For his travelling companion, science, had, most decidedly,
much of an old Trappist about her, did not open her mouth when she was
not spoken to, and it seemed to him that he was almost forgetting in
what language he had communed with her.

It was now too late in the day to go into Pompeii through the
“ingresso.” Norbert remembered a circuit he had once made on the old
city-wall, and attempted to mount the latter by means of all sorts of
bushes and wild growth. Thus he wandered along for some distance a
little above the city of graves, which lay on his right, motionless and
quiet. It looked like a dead rubbish field already almost covered with
shadow, for the evening sun stood in the west not far from the edge of
the Tyrrhenian Sea. Round about, on the other hand, it still bathed all
the hilltops and fields with an enchanting brilliancy of life, gilded
the smoke-cone rising above the Vesuvius crater and clad the peaks and
pinnacles of Monte Sant’ Angelo in purple. High and solitary rose Monte
Epomeo from the sparkling, blue sea glittering with golden light, from
which Cape Misenum reared itself with dark outline, like a mysterious,
titanic structure. Wherever the gaze rested, a wonderful picture was
spread combining charm and sublimity, remote past and joyous present.
Norbert Hanold had expected to find here what he longed for vaguely. Yet
he was not in the mood for it, although no bridal couples and flies
molested him on the deserted wall; even nature was unable to offer him
what he lacked in his surroundings and within himself. With a calmness
bordering closely on indifference, he let his eyes pass over the
all-pervading beauty, and did not regret in the least that it was
growing pale and fading away in the sunset, but returned to the
“Diomed,” as he had come, dissatisfied.

                 *        *        *        *        *

But as he had now, although with ill-success, been conveyed to this
place through his indiscretion, he reached the decision overnight, to
get from the folly he had committed at least one day of scientific
profit, and went to Pompeii on the regular road as soon as the
“ingresso” was opened in the morning. In little groups commanded by
official guides, armed with red _Baedekers_ or their foreign cousins,
longing for secret excavations of their own, there wandered before and
behind him the population of the two hotels. The still fresh, morning
air was filled almost exclusively by English or Anglo-American chatter;
the German couples were making each other mutually happy with German
sweets and inspiration up there on Capri behind Monte Sant’ Angelo at
the breakfast table of the Pagano. Norbert remembered how to free
himself soon, by well chosen words, combined with a good “mancia,” from
the burden of a “guida,” and was able to pursue his purposes alone and
unhindered. It afforded him some satisfaction to know that he possessed
a faultless memory; wherever his glance rested, everything lay and stood
exactly as he remembered it, as if only yesterday he had imprinted it in
his mind by means of expert observation. This continually repeated
experience brought, however, the added feeling that his presence there
seemed really very unnecessary, and a decided indifference took
possession of his eyes and his intellect more and more, as during the
evening on the wall. Although, when he looked up, the pine-shaped
smoke-cone of Vesuvius generally stood before him against the blue sky,
yet, remarkably, it did not once appear in his memory that he had
dreamed some time ago that he had been present at the destruction of
Pompeii by the volcanic eruption of 79. Wandering around for hours made
him tired and half-sleepy, of course, yet he felt not the least
suggestion of anything dreamlike, but there lay about him only a
confusion of fragments of ancient gate arches, pillars and walls
significant to the highest degree for archæology, but, viewed without
the esoteric aid of this science, really not much else than a big pile
of rubbish, neatly arranged, to be sure, but extremely devoid of
interest; and although science and dreams were wont formerly to stand on
footings exactly opposed, they had apparently here to-day come to an
agreement to withdraw their aid from Norbert Hanold and deliver him over
absolutely to the aimlessness of his walking and standing around.

So he had wandered in all directions from the Forum to the Amphitheatre,
from the Porta di Stabia to the Porta del Vesuvio through the Street of
Tombs as well as through countless others, and the sun had likewise, in
the meanwhile, made its accustomed morning journey to the position where
it usually changes to the more comfortable descent toward the sea.
Thereby, to the great satisfaction of their misunderstood, hoarsely
eloquent guides, it gave the English and American men and women, forced
to go there by a traveller’s sense of duty, a signal to become mindful
of the superior comfort of sitting at the lunch-tables of the twin
hotels; besides, they had seen with their own eyes everything that could
be required for conversation on the other side of the ocean and channel;
so the separate groups, satiated by the past, started on the return,
ebbed in common movement down through the Via Marina, in order not to
lose meals at the, to be sure somewhat euphemistically Lucullan, tables
of the present, in the house of “Diomed” or of Mr. Swiss. In
consideration of all the outer and inner circumstances, this was
doubtless also the wisest thing that they could do, for the noon sun of
May was decidedly well disposed toward the lizards, butterflies and
other winged inhabitants or visitors of the extensive mass of ruins, but
for the northern complexion of a Madame or Miss its perpendicular
obtrusiveness was unquestionably beginning to become less kindly, and,
supposedly in some causal connection with that, the “charmings” had
already in the last hour considerably diminished, the “shockings” had
increased in the same proportion, and the masculine “ah’s” proceeding
from rows of teeth even more widely distended than before had begun a
noticeable transition to yawning.

It was remarkable, however, that simultaneously with their vanishing,
what had formerly been the city of Pompeii assumed an entirely changed
appearance, but not a living one; it now appeared rather to be becoming
completely petrified in dead immobility. Yet out of it stirred a feeling
that death was beginning to talk, although not in a manner intelligible
to human ears. To be sure, here and there was a sound as if a whisper
were proceeding from the stone which, however, only the softly murmuring
south wind, Atabulus, awoke, he who, two thousand years ago, had buzzed
in this fashion about the temples, halls and houses, and was now
carrying on his playful game with the green, shimmering stalks on the
low ruins. From the coast of Africa he often rushed across, casting
forth wild, full blasts: he was not doing that to-day, but was gently
fanning again the old acquaintances which had come to light again. He
could not, however, refrain from his natural tendency to devastate, and
blew with hot breath, even though lightly, on everything that he
encountered on the way.

In this, the sun, his eternally youthful mother, helped him. She
strengthened his fiery breath, and accomplished, besides, what he could
not, steeped everything with trembling, glittering, dazzling splendour.
As with a golden eraser, she effaced from the edges of the houses on the
_semitæ_ and _crepidine viarum_, as the sidewalks were once called,
every slight shadow, cast into all the vestibules, inner courts,
peristyles and balconies her luminous radiance, or desultory rays where
a shelter blocked her direct approach. Hardly anywhere was there a nook
which successfully protected itself against the ocean of light and
veiled itself in a dusky, silver web; every street lay between the old
walls like long, rippling, white strips of linen spread out to bleach;
and without exception all were equally motionless and mute, for not only
had the last of the rasping and nasal tones of the English and American
messengers disappeared, but the former slight evidences of lizard- and
butterfly-life seemed also to have left the silent city of ruins. They
had not really done so, but the gaze perceived no more movement from

As had been the custom of their ancestors out on the mountain slopes and
cliff walls for thousands of years, when the great Pan laid himself to
sleep, here, too, in order not to disturb him, they had stretched
themselves out motionless or, folding their wings, had squatted here and
there; and it seemed as if, in this place, they felt even more strongly
the command of the hot, holy, noonday quiet in whose ghostly hour life
must be silent and suppressed, because during it the dead awake and
begin to talk in toneless spirit-language.

This changed aspect which the things round about had assumed really
thrust itself less upon the vision than it aroused the emotions, or,
more correctly, an unnamed sixth sense; this latter, however, was
stimulated so strongly and persistently that a person endowed with it
could not throw off the effect produced upon him. To be sure, of those
estimable boarders already busy with their soup spoons at the two
“alberghi” near the “ingresso,” hardly a man or woman would have been
counted among those thus invested, but Nature had once bestowed this
great attention upon Norbert Hanold and he had to submit to its effects,
not at all because he had an understanding with it, however, for he
wished nothing at all and desired nothing more than that he might be
sitting quietly in his study with an instructive book in his hand,
instead of having undertaken this aimless spring journey. Yet as he had
turned back from the Street of Tombs through the Hercules gate into the
centre of the city, and at Casa di Sallustio had turned to the left,
quite without purpose or thought, into the narrow “vicolo,” suddenly
that sixth sense was awakened in him; but this last expression was not
really fitting, rather he was transported by it into a strangely dreamy
condition, about half-way between a waking state and loss of senses. As
if guarding a secret, everywhere round about him, suffused in light, lay
deathly silence, so breathless that even his own lungs hardly dared to
take in air. He stood at the intersection of two streets where the
Vicolo Mercurio crossed the broader Strada di Mercurio, which stretched
out to right and left; in answer to the god of commerce, business and
trades had formerly had their abodes here; the street corners spoke
silently of it; many shops with broken counters, inlaid with marble,
opened out upon them; here the arrangement indicated a bakery, there, a
number of large, convex, earthenware jugs, an oil or flour business.
Opposite more slender, two-handled jars set into the counters showed
that the space behind them had been a bar-room; surely in the evening,
slaves and maids of the neighbourhood might have thronged here to get
wine for their masters in their own jugs; one could see that the now
illegible inscription inlaid with mosaic on the sidewalk in front of the
shop was worn by many feet; probably it had held out to passers-by a
recommendation of the excellent wine. On the outer wall, at about half
the height of a man, was visible a “graffito” probably scratched into
the plastering, with his finger-nail or an iron nail, by a schoolboy,
perhaps derisively explaining the praise, in this way, that the owner’s
wine owed its peerlessness to a generous addition of water. For from the
scratch there seemed raised before Norbert Hanold’s eyes the word
“caupo,” or was it an illusion. Certainly he could not settle it. He
possessed a certain skill in deciphering “graffiti” which were
difficult, and had already accomplished widely recognized work in that
field, yet at this time it completely failed him. Not only that, he had
a feeling that he did not understand any Latin, and it was absurd of him
to wish to read what a Pompeiian school youth had scratched into the
wall two thousand years before.

Not only had all his science left him, but it left him without the least
desire to regain it; he remembered it as from a great distance, and he
felt that it had been an old, dried-up, boresome aunt, dullest and most
superfluous creature in the world. What she uttered with puckered lips
and sapient mien, and presented as wisdom, was all vain, empty
pompousness, and merely gnawed at the dry rind of the fruit of knowledge
without revealing anything of its content, the germ of life, or bringing
anything to the point of inner, intelligent enjoyment. What it taught
was a lifeless, archæological view, and what came from its mouth was a
dead, philological language. These helped in no way to a comprehension
with soul, mind and heart, as the saying is, but he, who possessed a
desire for that, had to stand alone here, the only living person in the
hot noonday silence among the remains of the past, in order not to see
with physical eyes nor hear with corporeal ears. Then something came
forth everywhere without movement and a soundless speech began; then the
sun dissolved the tomblike rigidity of the old stones, a glowing thrill
passed through them, the dead awoke, and Pompeii began to live again.

The thoughts in Norbert Hanold’s mind were not really blasphemous, but
he had an indefinite feeling deserving of that adjective, and with this,
standing motionless, he looked before him down the Strada di Mercurio
toward the city-wall. The angular lava-blocks of its pavement still lay
as faultlessly fitted together as before the devastation, and each one
was of a light-grey colour, yet such dazzling lustre brooded over them
that they stretched like a quilted silver-white ribbon passing in
faintly glowing void between the silent walls and by the side of column

Then suddenly—

With open eyes he gazed along the street, yet it seemed to him as if he
were doing it in a dream. A little to the right something suddenly
stepped forth from the Casa di Castore e Polluce, and across the lava
stepping-stones, which led from the house to the other side of the
Strada di Mercurio, Gradiva stepped buoyantly.

Quite indubitably it was she; even if the sunbeams did surround her
figure as with a thin veil of gold, he perceived her in profile as
plainly and as distinctly as on the bas-relief. Her head, whose crown
was entwined with a scarf which fell to her neck, inclined forward a
little; her left hand held up lightly the extremely voluminous dress
and, as it reached only to her ankles, one could perceive clearly that
in advancing, the right foot, lingering, if only for a moment, rose on
the tips of the toes almost perpendicularly. Here, however, it was not a
stone representation, everything in uniform colourlessness; the dress,
apparently made of extremely soft, clinging material, was not of cold
marble-white, but of a warm tone verging faintly on yellow, and her
hair, wavy under the scarf on her brow, and peeping forth at the
temples, stood out, with golden-brown radiance, in bold contrast to her
alabaster countenance.

As soon as he caught sight of her, Norbert’s memory was clearly awakened
to the fact that he had seen her here once already in a dream, walking
thus, the night that she had lain down as if to sleep over there in the
Forum on the steps of the Temple of Apollo. With this memory he became
conscious, for the first time, of something else; he had, without
himself knowing the motive in his heart, come to Italy on that account
and had, without stop, continued from Rome and Naples to Pompeii to see
if he could here find trace of her—and that in a literal sense—for,
with her unusual gait, she must have left behind in the ashes a
foot-print different from all the others.

Again it was a noonday dream-picture that passed there before him and
yet also a reality. For that was apparent from an effect which it
produced. On the last stepping-stone on the farther side, there lay
stretched out motionless, in the burning sunlight, a big lizard, whose
body, as if woven of gold and malachite, glistened brightly to Norbert’s
eyes. Before the approaching foot, however, it darted down suddenly and
wriggled away over the white, gleaming lava pavement.

Gradiva crossed the stepping-stones with her calm buoyancy, and now,
turning her back, walked along on the opposite sidewalk; her destination
seemed to be the house of Adonis. Before it she stopped a moment, too,
but passed then, as if after further deliberation, down farther through
the Strada di Mercurio. On the left, of the more elegant buildings,
there now stood only the Casa di Apollo, named after the numerous
representations of Apollo excavated there, and, to the man who was
gazing after her, it seemed again that she had also surely chosen the
portico of the Temple of Apollo for her death sleep. Probably she was
closely associated with the cult of the sun-god and was going there.
Soon, however, she stopped again; stepping-stones crossed the street
here, too, and she walked back again to the right side. Thus she turned
the other side of her face toward him and looked a little different, for
her left hand, which held up her gown, was not visible and instead of
her curved arm, the right one hung down straight. At a greater distance
now, however, the golden waves of sunlight floated around her with a
thicker web of veiling, and did not allow him to distinguish where she
had stopped, for she disappeared suddenly before the house of Meleager.
Norbert Hanold still stood without having moved a limb. With his eyes,
and this time with his corporeal ones, he had surveyed, step by step,
her vanishing form. Now, at length, he drew a deep breath, for his
breast too had remained almost motionless.

Simultaneously the sixth sense, suppressing the others completely, held
him absolutely in its sway. Had what had just stood before him been a
product of his imagination or a reality?

He did not know that, nor whether he was awake or dreaming, and tried in
vain to collect his thoughts. Then, however, a strange shudder passed
down his spine. He saw and heard nothing, yet he felt from the secret
inner vibrations that Pompeii had begun to live about him in the noonday
hour of spirits, and so Gradiva lived again, too, and had gone into the
house which she had occupied before the fateful August day of the year

From his former visit, he was acquainted with the Casa di Meleagro, had
not yet gone there this time, however, but had merely stopped briefly in
the Museo Nazionale of Naples before the wall paintings of Meleager and
his Arcadian huntress companion, Atalanta, which had been found in the
Strada di Mercurio in that house, and after which the latter had been
named. Yet as he now again acquired the ability to move and walked
toward it, he began to doubt whether it really bore its name after the
slayer of the Caledonian boar. He suddenly recalled a Greek poet,
Meleager, who, to be sure, had probably lived about a century before the
destruction of Pompeii. A descendant of his, however, might have come
here and built the house for himself. That agreed with something else
that had awakened in his memory, for he remembered his supposition, or
rather a definite conviction, that Gradiva had been of Greek descent. To
be sure there mingled with his idea the figure of Atalanta as Ovid had
pictured it in his _Metamorphoses_:

                           —her floating vest
    A polished buckle clasped—her careless locks
    In simple knot were gathered—

                              _Trans. by_ Henry King.

He could not recall the verses word for word, but their content was
present in his mind; and from his store of knowledge was added the fact
that Cleopatra was the name of the young wife of Œneus’ son, Meleager.
More probably this had nothing to do with him, but with the Greek poet,
Meleager. Thus, under the glowing sun of the Campagna, there was a
mythological-literary-historical-archæological juggling in his head.

When he had passed the house of Castor and Pollux and that of the
Centaur, he stood before the Casa di Meleagro from whose threshold there
looked up at him, still discernible, the inlaid greeting “Ave.” On the
wall of the vestibule, Mercury was handing Fortuna a pouch filled with
money; that probably indicated, allegorically, the riches and other
fortunate circumstances of the former dweller. Behind this opened up the
inner court, the centre of which was occupied by a marble table
supported by three griffins.

Empty and silent, the room lay there, appearing absolutely unfamiliar to
the man, as he entered, awaking no memory that he had already been here,
yet he then recalled it, for the interior of the house offered a
deviation from that of the other excavated buildings of the city. The
peristyle adjoined the inner court on the other side of the balcony
toward the rear—not in the usual way, but at the left side and on that
account was of greater extent and more splendid appearance than any
other in Pompeii. It was framed by a colonnade supported by two dozen
pillars painted red on the lower, and white on the upper half. These
lent solemnity to the great, silent space; here in the centre was a
spring with a beautifully wrought enclosure, which served as a
fish-pool. Apparently the house must have been the dwelling of an
estimable man of culture and artistic sense.

Norbert’s gaze passed around, and he listened. Yet nowhere about did
anything stir, nor was the slightest sound audible. Amidst this cold
stone there was no longer a breath; if Gradiva had gone into Meleager’s
house, she had already dissolved again into nothing. At the rear of the
peristyle was another room, an _œcus_, the former dining-room, likewise
surrounded on three sides by pillars painted yellow, which shimmered
from a distance in the light, as if they were encrusted with gold.
Between them, however, shone a red far more dazzling than that from the
walls, with which no brush of antiquity, but young Nature of the present
had painted the ground. The former artistic pavement lay completely
ruined, fallen to decay and weather worn; it was May which exercised
here again its most ancient dominion and covered the whole _œcus_, as it
did at the time in many houses of the buried city, with red, flowering,
wild poppies, whose seeds the winds had carried thither, and these had
sprouted in the ashes. It was a wave of densely crowded blossoms, or so
it appeared, although, in reality, they stood there motionless, for
Atabulus found no way down to them, but only hummed away softly above.
Yet the sun cast such flaming, radiant vibrations down upon them that it
gave an impression of red ripples in a pond undulating hither and
thither. Norbert Hanold’s eyes had passed unheeding over a similar sight
in other houses, but here he was strangely thrilled by it. The
dream-flower grown at the edge of Lethe filled the space, and Hypnos lay
stretched in their midst dispensing sleep, which dulls the senses, with
the saps which night has gathered in the red chalices. It seemed to the
man who had entered the dining-room through the portico of the peristyle
as if he felt his temples touched by the invisible slumber wand of the
old vanquisher of gods and men, but not with heavy stupor; only a
dreamily sweet loveliness floated about his consciousness. At the same
time, however, he still remained in control of his feet and stepped
along by the wall of the former dining-room from which gazed old
pictures: Paris, awarding the apple; a satyr, carrying in his hand an
asp and tormenting a young Bacchante with it.

But there again suddenly, unforeseen—only about five paces away from
him—in the narrow shadow cast down by a single piece of the upper part
of the dining-room portico, which still remained in a state of
preservation, sitting on the low steps between two of the yellow pillars
was a brightly clad woman who now raised her head. In that way she
disclosed to the unnoticed arrival, whose footstep she had apparently
just heard, a full view of her face, which produced in him a double
feeling, for it appeared to him at the same time unknown and yet also
familiar, already seen or imagined; but by his arrested breathing and
his heart palpitations, he recognized, unmistakably, to whom it
belonged. He had found what he was looking for, what had driven him
unconsciously to Pompeii; Gradiva continued her visible existence in the
noonday spirit hour and sat here before him, as, in the dream, he had
seen her on the steps of the Temple of Apollo. Spread out on her knees
lay something white, which he was unable to distinguish clearly; it
seemed to be a papyrus sheet, and a red poppy-blossom stood out from it
in marked contrast.

In her face surprise was expressed; under the lustrous, brown hair and
the beautiful, alabaster brow, two rarely bright, starlike eyes looked
at him with questioning amazement. It required only a few moments for
him to recognize the conformity of her features with those of the
profile. They must be thus, viewed from the front, and therefore, at
first glance, they had not been really unfamiliar to him. Near to, her
white dress, by its slight tendency to yellow, heightened still more the
warm colour; apparently it consisted of a fine, extremely soft, woollen
material, which produced abundant folds, and the scarf around her head
was of the same. Below, on the nape of the neck, appeared again the
shimmering, brown hair artlessly gathered in a single knot; at her
throat, under a dainty chin, a little gold clasp held her gown together.

Norbert Hanold dimly perceived that involuntarily he had raised his hand
to his soft Panama hat and removed it; and now he said in Greek, “Are
you Atalanta, the daughter of Jason, or are you a descendant of the
family of the poet, Meleager?”

Without giving an answer, the lady addressed looked at him silently with
a calmly wise expression in her eyes, and two thoughts passed through
his mind; either her resurrected self could not speak, or she was not of
Greek descent and was ignorant of the language. He therefore substituted
Latin for it and asked: “Was your father a distinguished Pompeiian
citizen of Latin origin?”

To this she was equally silent, only about her delicately curved lips
there was a slight quiver as if she were repressing a burst of laughter.
Now a feeling of fright came upon him; apparently she was sitting there
before him like a silent image, a phantom to whom speech was denied.
Consternation at this discovery was stamped fully and distinctly upon
his features.

Then, however, her lips could no longer resist the impulse; a real smile
played about them and at the same time a voice sounded from between
them, “If you wish to speak with me, you must do so in German.”

That was really remarkable from the mouth of a Pompeiian woman who had
died two centuries before, or would have been so for a person hearing it
in a different state of mind. Yet every oddity escaped Norbert because
of two waves of emotion which had rushed over him, one because Gradiva
possessed the power of speech, and the other was one which had been
forced from his inmost being by her voice. It sounded as clear as was
her glance; not sharp, but reminiscent of the tones of a bell, her voice
passed through the sunny silence over the blooming poppy-field, and the
young archæologist suddenly realized that he had already heard it thus
in his imagination, and involuntarily he gave audible expression to his
feeling, “I knew that your voice sounded like that.”

One could read in her countenance that she was seeking comprehension of
something, but was not finding it. To his last remark she now responded,
“How could you? You have never talked with me.”

To him it was not at all remarkable that she spoke German, and,
according to present usage, addressed him formally; as she did it, he
understood completely that it could not have happened otherwise, and he
answered quickly, “No—not talked—but I called to you when you lay down
to sleep and stood near you then—your face was as calmly beautiful as
if it were of marble. May I beg you—rest it again on the step in that

While he was speaking, something peculiar had occurred. A golden
butterfly, faintly tinged with red on the inner edge of its upper wing,
fluttered from the poppies toward the pillars, flitted a few times about
Gradiva’s head and then rested on the brown, wavy hair above her brow.
At the same time, however, she rose, slender and tall, for she stood up
with deliberate haste, curtly and silently directed at Norbert another
glance, in which something suggested that she considered him demented;
then, thrusting her foot forward, she walked out in her characteristic
way along the pillars of the old portico. Only fleetingly visible for a
while, she finally seemed to have sunk into the earth.

He stood up, breathless, as if stunned; yet with heavy understanding he
had grasped what had occurred before his eyes. The noonday ghost hour
was over, and in the form of a butterfly, a winged messenger had come up
from the asphodel meadows of Hades to admonish the departed one to
return. For him something else was associated with this, although in
confused indistinctness. He knew that the beautiful butterfly of
Mediterranean countries bore the name Cleopatra, and this had also been
the name of Caledonian Meleager’s young wife who, in grief over his
death, had given herself as sacrifice to those of the lower world.

From his mouth issued a call to the girl who was departing, “Are you
coming here again to-morrow in the noon hour?” Yet she did not turn
around, gave no answer, and disappeared after a few moments in the
corner of the dining-room behind the pillar. Now a compelling impulse
suddenly incited him to hasten after her, but her bright dress was no
longer visible anywhere; glowing with the hot sun’s rays, the Casa di
Meleagro lay about him motionless and silent; only Cleopatra hovered on
her red, shimmering, golden wings, making slow circles again above the
multitude of poppies.

                 *        *        *        *        *

When and how he had returned to the “ingresso,” Norbert Hanold could not
recall; in his memory he retained only the idea that his appetite had
peremptorily demanded to be appeased, though very tardily, at the
“Diomed,” and then he had wandered forth aimlessly on the first good
street, had arrived at the beach north of Castellamare, where he had
seated himself on a lava-block, and the sea-wind had blown around his
head until the sun had set about half-way between Monte Sant’ Angelo
above Sorrento and Monte Epomeo on Ischia. Yet, in spite of this stay of
at least several hours by the water, he had obtained from the fresh air
there no mental relief, but was returning to the hotel in the same
condition in which he had left it. He found the other guests busily
occupied with dinner, had a little bottle of Vesuvio wine brought to him
in a corner of the room, viewed the faces of those eating, and listened
to their conversations. From the faces of all, as well as from their
talk, it appeared to him absolutely certain that in the noon hour none
of them had either met or spoken to a dead Pompeiian woman who had
returned again briefly to life. Of course, all this had been a foregone
conclusion, as they had all been at lunch at that time; why and
wherefore, he himself could not state, yet after a while he went over to
the competitor of the “Diomed,” “Hotel Suisse,” sat down there also in a
corner, and, as he had to order something, likewise before a little
bottle of Vesuvio, and here he gave himself over to the same kind of
investigations with eye and ear. They led to the same results but also
to the further conclusion that he now knew by sight all the temporary,
living visitors of Pompeii. To be sure, this effected an increase of his
knowledge which he could hardly consider an enrichment, but from it he
experienced a certain satisfying feeling that, in the two hostelries, no
guest, either male or female, was present with whom, by means of sight
and hearing, he had not entered into a personal, even if one-sided,
relation. Of course, in no way had the absurd supposition entered his
mind that he might possibly meet Gradiva in one of the two hotels, but
he could have taken his oath that no one was staying in them who
possessed, in the remotest way, any trace of resemblance to her. During
his observations, he had occasionally poured wine from his little bottle
to his glass, and had drunk from time to time; and when, in this manner,
the former had gradually become empty, he rose and went back to the
“Diomed.” The heavens were now strewn with countless, flashing,
twinkling stars, but not in the traditionally stationary way, for
Norbert gathered the impression that Perseus, Cassiopeia and Andromeda
with some neighbours, bowing lightly hither and thither, were performing
a singing dance, and below, on earth, too, it seemed to him that the
dark shadows of the tree-tops and buildings did not stay in the same
place. Of course on the ground of this region—unsteady from ancient
times—this could not be exactly surprising, for the subterranean glow
lurked everywhere, after an eruption, and let a little of itself rise in
the vines and grapes from which was pressed Vesuvio, which was not one
of Norbert Hanold’s usual evening drinks. He still remembered, however,
even if a little of the circular movement of things might be ascribed to
the wine, too, that since noon all objects had displayed an inclination
to whirl softly about his head, and therefore he found, in the slight
increase, nothing new, but only a continuation of the formerly existing
conditions. He went up to his room and stood for a little while at the
open window, looking over toward the Vesuvius mound, above which now no
cone of smoke spread its top, but rather something like the fluctuations
of a dark, purple cloak flowed back and forth around it. Then the young
archæologist undressed, without having lighted the light, and sought his
couch. Yet, as he stretched himself out upon it, it was not his bed at
the “Diomed,” but a red poppy-field whose blossoms closed over him like
a soft cushion heated by the sun. His enemy, the common house-fly,
constrained by darkness to lethargic stupidity, sat fiftyfold above his
head, on the wall, and only one moved, even in its sleepiness, by desire
to torture, buzzed about his nose. He recognized it, however, not as the
absolute evil, the century-old scourge of humanity, for before his eyes
it poised like a red-gold Cleopatra.

When, in the morning, the sun, with lively assistance from the flies,
awoke him, he could not recall what, besides strange, Ovid-like
metamorphoses, had occurred during the night about his bed. Yet
doubtless some mystic being, continuously weaving dream-webs, had been
sitting beside him, for he felt his head completely overhung and filled
with them, so that all ability to think lay inextricably imprisoned in
it and only one thing remained in his consciousness; he must again be in
Meleager’s house at exactly noon. In this connection, however, a fear
overcame him, for if the gatekeepers at the “ingresso” looked at him,
they would not let him in. Anyway it was not advisable that he should
expose himself to close observation by human eyes. To escape that, there
was, for one well informed about Pompeii, a means which was, to be sure,
against the rules, but he was not in a condition to grant to legal
regulation a determination of his conduct. So he climbed again, as on
the evening of his arrival, along the old city-wall, and upon it walked,
in a wide semicircle, around the city of ruins to the solitary,
unguarded Porta di Nola. Here it was not difficult to get down into the
inside and he went, without burdening his conscience very much over the
fact that by his autocratic deed he had deprived the administration of a
two-lira entrance fee, which he could, of course, let it have later in
some other way.

Thus, unseen, he had reached an uninteresting part of the city, never
before investigated by any one and still mostly unexcavated; he sat down
in a secluded, shady nook and waited, now and then drawing his watch to
observe the progress of time. Once his glance fell upon something in the
distance gleaming, silvery-white, rising from the ashes, but with his
unreliable vision, he was unable to distinguish what it was. Yet
involuntarily he was impelled to go up to it and there it stood, a tall,
flowering asphodel-plant with white, bell-like blossoms whose seeds the
wind had carried thither from outside. It was the flower of the lower
world, significant and, as he felt, destined to grow here for his
purpose. He broke the slender stem and returned with it to his seat.
Hotter and hotter the May sun burned down as on the day before, and
finally approached its noonday position; so now he started out through
the long Strada di Nola. This lay deathly still and deserted, as did
almost all the others; over there to the west all the morning visitors
were already crowding again to the Porta Marina and the soup-plates.
Only the air, suffused with heat, stirred, and in the dazzling glare the
solitary figure of Norbert Hanold with the asphodel branch appeared like
that of Hermes, Psyche’s escort, in modern attire, starting out upon the
journey to conduct a departed soul to Hades.

Not consciously, yet following an instinctive impulse, he found his way
through the Strada della Fortuna farther along to the Strada di
Mercurio, and turning to the right arrived at the Casa di Meleagro. Just
as lifelessly as yesterday, the vestibule, inner court and peristyle
received him, and between the pillars of the latter the poppies of the
dining-room flamed across to him. As he entered, however, it was not
clear to him whether he had been here yesterday or two thousand years
ago to seek from the owner of the house some information of great
importance to archæology; what it was, however, he could not state, and
besides, it seemed to him, even though in contradiction to the above,
that all the science of antiquity was the most purposeless and
indifferent thing in the world. He could not understand how a human
being could occupy himself with it, for there was only a single thing to
which all thinking and investigation must be directed: what is the
nature of the physical manifestation of a being like Gradiva, dead and
alive at the same time, although the latter was true only in the noon
hour of spirits—or had been the day before, perhaps the one time in a
century or a thousand years, for it suddenly seemed certain that his
return to-day was in vain. He did not meet the girl he was looking for,
because she was not allowed to come again until a time when he too would
have been dead for many years, and was buried and forgotten. Of course,
as he walked now along by the wall below Paris awarding the apple, he
perceived Gradiva before him, just as on yesterday, in the same gown,
sitting between the same two yellow pillars on the same step. Yet he did
not allow himself to be deceived by tricks of imagination, but knew that
fancy alone was deceptively depicting before his eyes what he had really
seen there the day before. He could not refrain, however, from stopping
to indulge in the view of the shadowy apparition created by himself and,
without his knowing it, there passed from his lips in a grieved tone the
words, “Oh, that you were still alive!”

His voice rang out, but, after that, breathless silence again reigned
among the ruins of the old dining-room. Yet soon another sounded through
the vacant stillness, saying, “Won’t you sit down too? You look

Norbert Hanold’s heart stood still a moment. His head, however,
collected this much reason; a vision could not speak; or was an aural
hallucination practising deception upon him? With fixed gaze, he
supported himself against the pillar.

Then again asked the voice, and it was the one which none other than
Gradiva possessed, “Are you bringing me the white flowers?”

Dizziness rushed upon him; he felt that his feet no longer supported
him, but forced him to be seated; and he slid down opposite her on the
step, against the pillar. Her bright eyes were directed toward his face,
yet with a different look from the one with which she had gazed at him
yesterday when she suddenly rose and went away. In that, something
ill-humoured and repellent had spoken; but it had disappeared, as if she
had, in the meanwhile, arrived at a different view-point, and an
expression of searching inquisitiveness or curiosity had taken its
place. Likewise, she spoke with an easy familiarity. As he remained
silent, however, to the last question also, she again resumed, “You told
me yesterday that you had once called to me when I lay down to sleep and
that you had afterwards stood near me; my face was as white as marble.
When and where was that? I cannot remember it, and I beg you to explain
more exactly.”

Norbert had now acquired enough power of speech to answer, “In the night
when you sat on the steps of the Temple of Apollo in the Forum and the
fall of ashes from Vesuvius covered you.”

“So—then. Yes, to be sure—that had not occurred to me, but I might
have thought that it would be a case like that. When you said it
yesterday, I was not expecting it, and I was utterly unprepared. Yet
that happened, if I recall correctly, two thousand years ago. Were you
living then? It seems to me you look younger.” She spoke very seriously,
but at the end a faint, extremely sweet smile played about her mouth. He
hesitated in embarrassment and answered, stuttering slightly, “No, I
really don’t believe I was alive in the year 79—it was perhaps—yes, it
surely is a psychic condition which is called a dream that transported
me into the time of the destruction of Pompeii—but I recognized you
again at first glance.”

In the expression of the girl sitting opposite him, a few feet away,
surprise was apparent, and she repeated in a tone of amazement, “You
recognized me again? In the dream? By what?”

“At the very first; by your manner of walking.”

“Had you noticed that? And have I a special manner of walking?”

Her astonishment had grown perceptibly. He replied, “Yes—don’t you
realize that? A more graceful one—at least among those now living—does
not exist. Yet I recognized you immediately by everything else too, your
figure, face, bearing and drapery, for everything agreed most minutely
with the bas-relief of you in Rome.”

“Ah, really—” she repeated in her former tone—“with the bas-relief of
me in Rome. Yes, I hadn’t thought of that either, and at this moment I
don’t know exactly—what is it—and you saw it there then?”

Now he told her that the sight of it had attracted him so that he had
been highly pleased to get a plaster-cast of it in Germany, and that for
years it had hung in his room. He observed it daily, and the idea had
come to him that it must represent a young Pompeiian girl who was
walking on the stepping-stones of a street in her native city; and the
dream had confirmed it. Now he knew also that he had been impelled by it
to travel here again to see whether he could find some trace of her; and
as he had stood yesterday noon at the corner of Strada di Mercurio, she,
herself, exactly like her image, had suddenly walked before him across
the stepping-stones, as if she were about to go over into the house of
Apollo. Then farther along she had recrossed the street and disappeared
before the house of Meleager.

To this she nodded and said, “Yes, I intended to look up the house of
Apollo, but I came here.”

He continued, “On that account the Greek poet, Meleager, came to my
mind, and I thought that you were one of his descendants and were
returning—in the hour which you are allowed—to your ancestral home.
When I spoke to you in Greek, however, you did not understand.”

“Was that Greek? No, I don’t understand it or I’ve probably forgotten
it. Yet as you came again just now, I heard you say something that I
could understand. You expressed the wish that some one might still be
alive here. Only I did not understand whom you meant by that.”

That caused him to reply that, at sight of her, he had believed that it
was not really she, but that his imagination was deceptively putting her
image before him in the place where he had met her yesterday. At that
she smiled and agreed, “It seems that you have reason to be on your
guard against an excess of imagination, although, when I have been with
you, I never supposed so.” She stopped, however, and added, “What is
there peculiar about my way of walking, which you spoke of before?”

It was noteworthy that her aroused interest brought her back to that,
and he said, “If I may ask——”

With that he stopped, for he suddenly remembered with fear that
yesterday she had suddenly risen and gone away when he had asked her to
lie down to sleep again on that step, as on that of the Temple of
Apollo, and, associated darkly with this, there came to him the glance
which she had directed upon him in departing. Yet now the calm, friendly
expression of her eyes remained, and as he spoke no further, she said,
“It was nice that your wish that some one might still be alive concerned
me. If you wish to ask anything of me on that account, I will gladly

That overcame his fear, and he replied, “It would make me happy to get a
close view of you walking as you do in the bas-relief.”

Willingly, without answering, she stood up and walked along between the
wall and the pillars. It was the very buoyantly reposeful gait, with the
sole raised almost perpendicularly, that was so firmly imprinted on his
mind, but for the first time he saw that she wore, below the raised
gown, not sandals, but light, sand-coloured shoes of fine leather. When
she came back and sat down again silently, he involuntarily started to
talk of the difference in her foot-covering from that of the bas-relief.
To that she rejoined, “Time, of course, always changes everything, and
for the present sandals are not suitable, so I put on shoes, which are a
better protection against rain and dust; but why did you ask me to walk
before you? What is there peculiar about it?”

Her repeated wish to learn this proved her not entirely free from
feminine curiosity. He now explained that it was a matter of the
peculiarly upright position of the rising foot, as she walked, and he
added how for weeks he had tried to observe the gait of modern women on
the streets in his native city. Yet it seemed that this beautiful way of
walking had been completely lost to them, with the exception, perhaps,
of a single one who had given him the impression that she walked in that
way. To be sure, he had not been able to establish this fact because of
the crowd about her, and he had probably experienced an illusion, for it
had seemed to him that her features had resembled somewhat those of

“What a shame,” she answered. “For confirmation of the fact would surely
have been of great scientific importance, and if you had succeeded,
perhaps you would not have needed to take the long journey here; but
whom were you just speaking of? Who is Gradiva?”

“I have named the bas-relief that, because I didn’t know your real name,
and don’t know it yet, either.”

This last he added with some hesitancy, and she faltered a moment before
replying to the indirect question. “My name is Zoë.”

With pained tone the words escaped him: “The name suits you beautifully,
but it sounds to me like bitter mockery, for ‘Zoë’ means ‘life.’”

“One must adapt himself to the inevitable,” she responded, “and I have
long accustomed myself to being dead; but now my time is over for
to-day; you have brought the grave-flower with you to conduct me back.
So give it to me.”

As she rose and stretched forth her slender hand, he gave her the
asphodel cluster, but was careful not to touch her fingers. Accepting
the flowering branch she said, “I thank you. To those who are more
fortunate one gives roses in spring, but for me the flower of oblivion
is the right one from your hand. To-morrow I shall be allowed to come
here again at this hour. If your way leads you again into the house of
Meleager, we can sit together at the edge of the poppies, as we did
to-day. On the threshold stands ‘Ave,’ and I say it to you ‘Ave’!”

She went out and disappeared, as yesterday, at the turn in the portico,
as if she had there sunk into the ground. Everything lay empty and
silent again, but, from some distance, there once rang, short and clear,
a sound like the merry note of a bird flying over the devastated city.
This was stifled immediately, however. Norbert, who had remained behind,
looked down at the step where she had just been sitting; there something
white shimmered; it seemed to be the papyrus leaf which Gradiva had held
on her knees yesterday and had forgotten to take with her to-day. Yet,
as he shyly reached for it, he found it to be a little sketch-book with
pencil drawings of the different ruins in several houses of Pompeii. The
page next to the last showed a drawing of the griffin-table in the
central court of the Casa di Meleagro, and on the last was the beginning
of a reproduction of the view across the poppies of the dining-room
through the row of pillars of the peristyle. That the departed girl made
drawings in a sketch-book of the present mode was as amazing as had been
the fact that she expressed her thoughts in German. Yet those were only
insignificant prodigies beside the great one of her revivification, and
apparently she used the midday hour of freedom to preserve for herself,
in their present state, with unusual artistic talent, the surroundings
in which she had once lived. The drawings testified to delicately
cultivated powers of perception, as each of her words did to a clever
intellect; and she had probably often sat by the old griffin-table, so
that it was a particularly precious reminder.

Mechanically Norbert also went, with the little book, along the portico,
and at the place where this turned he noticed in the wall a narrow cleft
wide enough to afford, to an unusually slender figure, passage into the
adjoining building, and even farther to the Vicolo del Fauno at the
other side of the house. Suddenly, however, the idea flashed through his
mind that Zoë-Gradiva did not sink into the ground here—that was
essentially unreasonable, and he could not understand how he had ever
believed it—but went, on this street, back to her tomb. That must be in
the Street of Tombs, and rushing forth, he hastened out into the Strada
di Mercurio and as far as the gate of Hercules; but when, breathless and
reeking with perspiration, he entered this, it was already too late. The
broad Strada di Sepolcri stretched out empty and dazzlingly white, only
at its extremity, behind the glimmering curtain of radiance, a faint
shadow seemed to dissolve uncertainly before the Villa of Diomede.

                 *        *        *        *        *

Norbert Hanold passed the second half of the day with a feeling that
Pompeii was everywhere, or at least wherever he stopped, veiled in a
cloud of mist. It was not grey, gloomy and melancholy as formerly, but
rather cheerful and vari-coloured to an extraordinary degree; blue, red
and brown, chiefly a light-yellowish white and alabaster white,
interwoven with golden threads of sunbeams. This injured neither his
power of vision nor that of hearing, only, because of it, thinking was
impossible, and that produced a cloud-wall whose effect rivalled the
thickest mist. To the young archæologist it seemed almost as if hourly,
in an invisible and not otherwise noticeable way, there was brought to
him a little bottle of Vesuvio wine, which produced a continuous
whirling in his head. From this he instinctively sought to free himself
by the use of correctives, on the one hand drinking water frequently,
and on the other hand moving about as much and as far as possible. His
knowledge of medicine was not comprehensive, but it helped him to the
diagnosis that this strange condition must arise from excessive
congestion of blood in his head, perhaps associated with accelerated
action of the heart; for he felt the latter—something formerly quite
unknown to him—occasionally beating fast against his chest. Otherwise,
his thoughts, which could not penetrate into the outer world, were not
in the least inactive within, or more exactly, there was only one
thought there, which had come into sole possession and carried on a
restless, though vain activity. It continually turned about the question
of what physical nature Zoë-Gradiva might possess, whether during her
stay in the house of Meleager she was a corporeal being or only an
illusory representation of what she had formerly been. For the former,
physical, physiological and anatomical facts seemed to argue that she
had at her disposal organs of speech, and could hold a pencil with her
fingers. Yet Norbert was overwhelmed with the idea that if he should
touch her, even lightly place his hand on hers, he would then encounter
only empty air. A peculiar impulse urged him to make sure of this, but
an equally great timidity hindered him from even thinking of doing it.
For he felt that the confirmation of either of the two possibilities
must bring with it something inspiring fear. The corporeal existence of
the hand would thrill him with horror, and its lack of substance would
cause him deep pain.

Occupied vainly with this problem, which was impossible to solve
scientifically without experiment, he arrived, in the course of his
extensive wanderings that afternoon, at the foothills of the big
mountain group of Monte Sant’ Angelo, rising south from Pompeii, and
here he unexpectedly came upon an elderly man, already grey-bearded,
who, from his equipment with all sorts of implements, seemed to be a
zoologist or botanist, and appeared to be making a search on a hot,
sunny slope. He turned his head as Norbert came close to him, looked at
the latter in surprise for a moment and then said, “Are you interested
in _Faraglionensis_? I should hardly have supposed it, but it seems
thoroughly probable that they are found, not only in the _Faraglioni_ of
Capri, but also dwell permanently on the mainland. The method suggested
by my colleague, Eimer, is really good; I have already used it often
with the best of success. Please remain quite still——”

The speaker stopped, stepped carefully forward a few paces and,
stretched out motionless on the ground, held a little snare, made of a
long grass-blade, before a narrow crevice in the rock, from which the
blue, chatoyant little head of a lizard peeped. Thus the man remained
without the slightest movement, and Norbert Hanold turned about
noiselessly behind him and returned by the way he had come. It seemed to
him dimly that he had already seen the face of the lizard-hunter once,
probably in one of the two hotels; to this fact the latter’s manner
pointed. It was hardly credible what foolishly remarkable purposes could
cause people to make the long trip to Pompeii; happy that he had
succeeded in so quickly ridding himself of the snare-layer, and being
again able to direct his thoughts to the problem of corporeal reality or
unreality, he started on the return. Yet a side street misled him once
to a wrong turn and took him, instead of to the west boundary, to the
east end of the extensive old city-wall; buried in thought, he did not
notice the mistake until he had come right up to a building which was
neither the “Diomed” nor the “Hotel Suisse.” In spite of this it bore
the sign of an hotel; near by he recognized the ruins of the large
Pompeiian amphitheatre, and the memory came to him that near this latter
there was another hotel, the “Albergo del Sole,” which, on account of
its remoteness from the station, was sought out by only a few guests,
and had remained unknown to even him. The walk had made him hot;
besides, the cloudy whirling in his head had not diminished; so he
stepped in through the open door and ordered the remedy deemed useful by
him for blood congestion, a bottle of lime-water. The room stood empty
except, of course, for the fly-visitors gathered in full numbers, and
the unoccupied host availed himself of the opportunity to recommend
highly his house and the excavated treasures it contained. He pointed
suggestively to the fact that there were, near Pompeii, people at whose
places there was not a single genuine piece among the many objects
offered for sale, but that all were imitations, while he, satisfying
himself with a smaller number, offered his guests only things
undoubtedly genuine. For he acquired no articles which he himself had
not seen brought to the light of day, and, in the course of his
eloquence, he revealed that he had also been present when they had found
near the Forum the young lovers who had clasped each other in firm
embrace when they realized their inevitable destruction, and had thus
awaited death. Norbert had already heard of this discovery, but had
shrugged his shoulders about it as a fabulous invention of some
especially imaginative narrator, and he did so now, too, when the host
brought in to him, as authentic proof, a metal brooch encrusted with
green patina, which, in his presence, had been gathered with the remains
of the girl from the ashes. When the arrival at the “Sun Hotel” took it
in his own hand, however, the power of imagination exercised such
ascendency over him that suddenly, without further critical
consideration, he paid for it the price asked from English people, and,
with his acquisition, hastily left the “Albergo del Sole,” in which,
after another turn, he saw in an open window, nodding down, an asphodel
branch covered with white blossoms, which had been placed in a
water-glass; and without needing any logical connection, it rushed
through his mind, at the sight of the grave-flower, that it was an
attestation of the genuineness of his new possession.

This he viewed with mingled feelings of excitement and shyness, keeping
now to the way along the city-wall to Porta Marina. Then it was no fairy
tale that a couple of young lovers had been excavated near the Forum in
such an embrace, and there at the Apollo temple he had seen Gradiva lie
down to sleep, but only in a dream; that he knew now quite definitely;
in reality she might have gone on still farther from the Forum, met some
one and died with him.

From the green brooch between his fingers a feeling passed through him
that it had belonged to Zoë-Gradiva, and had held her dress closed at
the throat. Then she was the beloved fiancée, perhaps the young wife of
him with whom she had wished to die.

It occurred to Norbert Hanold to hurl the brooch away. It burned his
fingers as if it had become glowing, or more exactly, it caused him the
pain such as he had felt at the idea that he might put his hand on that
of Gradiva and encounter only empty air.

Reason, nevertheless, asserted the upper hand; he did not allow himself
to be controlled by imagination against his will. However probable it
might be, there was still lacking invincible proof that the brooch had
belonged to her and that it had been she who had been discovered in the
young man’s arms. This judgment made it possible for him to breathe
freely, and when at the dawn of twilight he reached the “Diomed,” his
long wandering had brought to his sound constitution need of physical
refreshment. Not without appetite did he devour the rather Spartan
evening meal which the “Diomed,” in spite of its Argive origin, had
adopted, and he then noticed two guests newly-arrived in the course of
the afternoon. By appearance and language they marked themselves as
Germans, a man and a woman; they both had youthful, attractive features
endowed with intellectual expressions; their relation to each other
could not be determined, yet, because of a certain resemblance, Norbert
decided that they were brother and sister. To be sure the young man’s
fair hair differed in colour from her light-brown tresses. In her gown
she wore a red Sorrento rose, the sight of which, as he looked across
from his corner, stirred something in his memory without his being able
to think what it was. The couple were the first people he had met on his
journey who seemed possibly congenial. They talked with one another,
over a little bottle, in not too plainly audible tones, nor in cautious
whisperings, apparently sometimes about serious things and sometimes
about gay things, for at times there passed over her face a
half-laughing expression which was very becoming to her, and aroused the
desire to participate in their conversation, or perhaps might have
awakened it in Norbert, if he had met them two days before in the room
otherwise populated only by Anglo-Americans. Yet he felt that what was
passing through his mind stood in too strong contrast to the happy
naïveté of the couple about whom there undeniably lay not the slightest
cloud, for they doubtless were not meditating profoundly over the
essential nature of a girl who had died two thousand years ago, but,
without any weariness, were taking pleasure in an enigmatical problem of
their life of the present. His condition did not harmonize with that; on
the one hand he seemed superfluous to them, and on the other, he
recoiled from an attempt to start an acquaintance with them, for he had
a dark feeling that their bright, merry eyes might look through his
forehead into his thoughts and thereby assume an expression as if they
did not consider him quite in his right mind. Therefore he went up to
his room, stood, as yesterday, at the window, looking over to the purple
night-mantle of Vesuvius, and then he lay down to rest. Exhausted, he
soon fell asleep and dreamed, but remarkably nonsensically. Somewhere in
the sun Gradiva sat making a trap out of a blade of grass in order to
catch a lizard, and she said, “Please stay quite still—my colleague is
right; the method is really good, and she has used it with the greatest

Norbert Hanold became conscious in his dream that it was actually the
most utter madness, and he cast about to free himself from it. He
succeeded in this by the aid of an invisible bird, who seemingly uttered
a short, merry call, and carried the lizard away in its beak; afterwards
everything disappeared.

                 *        *        *        *        *

On awakening he remembered that in the night a voice had said that in
the spring one gave roses, or rather this was recalled to him through
his eyes, for his gaze, passing down from the window, came upon a bright
bush of red flowers. They were of the same kind as those which the young
lady had worn in her bosom, and when he went down he involuntarily
plucked a couple and smelled of them. In fact, there must be something
peculiar about Sorrento roses, for their fragrance seemed to him not
only wonderful, but quite new and unfamiliar, and at the same time he
felt that they had a somewhat liberating effect upon his mind. At least
they freed him from yesterday’s timidity before the gatekeepers, for he
went, according to directions, in through the “ingresso” to Pompeii,
paid double the amount of admission fee, and quickly struck out upon
streets which took him from the vicinity of other visitors. The little
sketch-book from the house of Meleager he carried along with the green
brooch and the red roses, but the fragrance of the latter had made him
forget to eat breakfast, and his thoughts were not in the present, but
were directed exclusively to the noon hour, which was still far off; he
had to pass the remaining interval, and for this purpose he entered now
one house, now another, as a result of which activity the idea probably
occurred to him that Gradiva had also walked there often before or even
now sought these places out sometimes—his supposition that she was able
to do it only at noon was tottering. Perhaps she was at liberty to do it
in other hours of the day, possibly even at night in the moonlight. The
roses strengthened this supposition strangely for him, when he inhaled,
as he held them to his nose; and his deliberations, complaisant, and
open to conviction, made advances to this new idea, for he could bear
witness that he did not cling to preconceived opinions at all, but
rather gave free rein to every reasonable objection, and such there was
here without any doubt, not only logically, but desirably valid. Only
the question arose whether, upon meeting her then, the eyes of others
could see her as a corporeal being, or whether only his possessed the
ability to do that. The former was not to be denied, claimed even
probability for itself, transformed the desirable thing into quite the
opposite, and transported him into a low-spirited, restless mood. The
thought that others might also speak to her and sit down near her to
carry on a conversation with her made him indignant; to that he alone
possessed a claim, or at any rate a privilege, for he had discovered
Gradiva, of whom no one had formerly known, had observed her daily,
taken her into his life, to a degree, imparted to her his life-strength,
and it seemed to him as if he had thereby again lent to her life that
she would not have possessed without him. Therefore he felt that there
devolved upon him a right, to which he alone might make a claim, and
which he might refuse to share with anyone else.

The advancing day was hotter than the two preceding; the sun seemed to
have set her mind to-day on a quite extraordinary feat, and made it
regrettable, not only in an archæological, but also in a practical
connection, that the water system of Pompeii had lain burst and dried up
for two thousand years. Street fountains here and there commemorated it
and likewise gave evidence of their informal use by thirsty passers-by,
who had, in order to bend forward to the jet, leaned a hand on the
marble railing and gradually dug out a sort of trough in the place, in
the same way that dropping wears away stone; Norbert observed this at a
corner of the Strada della Fortuna, and from that the idea occurred to
him that the hand of Zoë-Gradiva, too, might formerly have rested here
in that way, and involuntarily he laid his hand into the little hollow,
yet he immediately rejected the idea, and felt annoyance at himself that
he could have done it; the thought did not harmonize at all with the
nature and bearing of the young Pompeiian girl of a refined family;
there was something profane in the idea that she could have bent over so
and placed her lips on the very pipe from which the plebeians drank with
coarse mouths. In a noble sense, he had never seen anything more seemly
than her actions and movements; he was frightened by the idea that she
might be able to see by looking at him that he had had the incredibly
unreasonable thought, for her eyes possessed something penetrating; a
couple of times, when he had been with her, the feeling had seized him
that she looked as if she were seeking for access to his inmost thoughts
and were looking about them as if with a bright steel probe. He was
obliged, therefore, to take great care that she might come upon nothing
foolish in his mental processes.

It was now an hour until noon and in order to pass it, he went
diagonally across the street into the Casa del Fauno, the most extensive
and magnificent of all the excavated houses. Like no other, it possessed
a double inner court and showed, in the larger one, on the middle of the
ground, the empty base on which had stood the famous statue of the
dancing faun after which the house had been named. Yet there stirred in
Norbert Hanold not the least regret that this work of art, valued highly
by science, was no longer here, but, together with the mosaic picture of
the Battle of Alexander, had been transferred to the Museo Nazionale in
Naples; he possessed no further intention nor desire than to let time
move along, and he wandered about aimlessly in this place through the
large building. Behind the peristyle opened a wider room, surrounded by
numerous pillars, planned either as another repetition of the peristyle
or as an ornamental garden; so it seemed at present for, like the
dining-room of the Casa di Meleagro, it was completely covered with
poppy-blooms. Absent-mindedly the visitor passed through the silent

Then, however, he stopped and rested on one foot; but he found himself
not alone here; at some distance his glance fell upon two figures, who
first gave the impression of only one, because they stood as closely as
possible to each other. They did not see him, for they were concerned
only with themselves, and, in that corner, because of the pillars, might
have believed themselves undiscoverable by any other eyes. Mutually
embracing each other, they held their lips also pressed together, and
the unsuspected spectator recognized, to his amazement, that they were
the young man and woman who had last evening seemed to him the first
congenial people encountered on this trip. For brother and sister, their
present position, the embrace and the kiss, it seemed to him had lasted
too long. So it was surely another pair of lovers, probably a young
bridal couple, an Augustus and Gretchen, too.

Strange to relate, however, the two latter did not, at the moment, enter
Norbert’s mind, and the incident seemed to him not at all ridiculous nor
repulsive, rather it heightened his pleasure in them. What they were
doing seemed to him as natural as it did comprehensible; his eyes clung
to the living picture, more widely open than they ever had been to any
of the most admired works of art, and he would have gladly devoted
himself for a longer time to his observation. Yet it seemed to him that
he had wrongfully penetrated into a consecrated place and was on the
point of disturbing a secret act of devotion; the idea of being noticed
there struck terror to his heart, and he quickly turned, went back some
distance noiselessly on tiptoe and, when he had passed beyond hearing
distance, ran out with bated breath and beating heart to the Vicolo del

                 *        *        *        *        *

When he arrived before the house of Meleager, he did not know whether it
was already noon, and did not happen to question his watch about it, but
remained before the door, standing looking down with indecision for some
time at the “Ave” in the entrance. A fear prevented him from stepping
in, and strangely, he was equally afraid of not meeting Gradiva within,
and of finding her there; for, during the last few moments, he had felt
quite sure that, in the first case, she would be staying somewhere else
with some younger man, and, in the second case, the latter would be in
company with her on the steps between the pillars. Toward the man,
however, he felt a hate far stronger than against all the assembled
common house-flies; until to-day he had not considered it possible that
he could be capable of such violent inner excitement. The duel, which he
had always considered stupid nonsense, suddenly appeared to him in a
different light; here it became a natural right which the man injured in
his own rights, or mortally insulted, made use of as the only available
means to secure satisfaction or to part with an existence which had
become purposeless. So he suddenly stepped forward to enter; he would
challenge the bold man and would—this rushed upon him almost more
powerfully—express unreservedly to her that he had considered her
something better, more noble, and incapable of such vulgarity.

He was so filled to the brim with this rebellious idea that he uttered
it, even though there was not apparently the least occasion for it, for,
when he had covered the distance to the dining-room with stormy haste,
he demanded violently, “Are you alone?” although appearances allowed of
no doubt that Gradiva was sitting there on the steps, just as much alone
as on the two previous days.

She looked at him amazed and replied, “Who should still be here after
noon? Then the people are all hungry and sit down to meals. Nature has
arranged that very happily for me.”

His surging excitement could not, however, be allayed so quickly, and
without his knowledge or desire, he let slip, with the conviction of
certainty, the conjecture which had come over him outside; for he added,
to be sure somewhat foolishly, that he could really not think otherwise.

Her bright eyes remained fixed upon his face until he had finished. Then
she made a motion with one finger against her brow and said, “You——”
After that, however, she continued, “It seems to me quite enough that I
do not remain away from here, even though I must expect that you are
coming here at this time; but the place pleases me, and I see that you
have brought me my sketch-book that I forgot here yesterday. I thank you
for your vigilance. Won’t you give it to me?” The last question was well
founded, for he showed no disposition to do so, but remained motionless.
It began to dawn upon him that he had imagined and worked out a
monstrous piece of nonsense, and had also given expression to it; in
order to compensate, as far as possible, he now stepped forward hastily,
handed Gradiva the book, and at the same time sat down near her on the
step, mechanically. Casting a glance at his hand, she said, “You seem to
be a lover of roses.”

At these words he suddenly became conscious of what had caused him to
pluck and bring them and he responded, “Yes,—of course, not for myself,
have I—you spoke yesterday—and last night, too, some one said it to
me—people give them in spring.”

She pondered briefly before she answered, “Ah, so—yes, I remember. To
others, I meant, one does not give asphodel, but roses. That is polite
of you; it seems your opinion of me is improved.”

Her hand stretched out to receive the red flowers, and, handing them to
her, he rejoined, “I believed at first that you could be here only
during the noon hour, but it has become probable to me that you also, at
some other time—that makes me very happy——”

“Why does it make you happy?”

Her face expressed lack of comprehension—only about her lips there
passed a slight, hardly noticeable quiver. Confused, he offered, “It is
beautiful to be alive; it has never seemed so much so to me before—I
wished to ask you?” He searched in his breast pocket and added, as he
drew out the object, “Has this brooch ever belonged to you?”

She leaned forward a little toward it, but shook her head. “No, I can’t
remember. Chronologically it would, of course, not be impossible, for it
probably did not exist until this year. Did you find it in the sun
perhaps? The beautiful green patina surely seems familiar to me, as if I
had already seen it.”

Involuntarily he repeated, “In the sun?—why in the sun?”

“‘Sole’ it is called here. It brings to light many things of that sort.
Was the brooch said to have belonged to a young girl who is said to have
perished, I believe, in the vicinity of the Forum, with a companion?”

“Yes, who held his arm about her——”

“Ah, so——”

The two little words apparently lay upon Gradiva’s tongue as a favourite
interjection, and she stopped after it for a moment before she added,
“Did you think that on that account I might have worn it? and would that
have made you a little—how did you say it before?—unhappy?”

It was apparent that he felt extraordinarily relieved and it was audible
in his answer, “I am very happy about it—for the idea that the brooch
belonged to you made me—dizzy.”

“You seem to have a tendency for that. Did you perhaps forget to eat
breakfast this morning? That easily aggravates such attacks; I do not
suffer from them, but I make provision, as it suits me best to be here
at noon. If I can help you out of your unfortunate condition a little by
sharing my lunch with you——”

She drew out of her pocket a piece of white bread wrapped in tissue
paper, broke it, put half into his hand, and began to devour the other
with apparent appetite. Thereby her exceptionally dainty and perfect
teeth not only gleamed between her lips with pearly glitter, but in
biting the crust caused also a crunching sound so that they gave the
impression of being not unreal phantoms, but of actual, substantial
reality. Besides, with her conjecture about the postponed breakfast, she
had, to be sure, hit upon the right thing; mechanically he, too, ate,
and felt from it a decidedly favourable effect on the clearing of his
thoughts. So, for a little while, the couple did not speak further, but
devoted themselves silently to the same practical occupation until
Gradiva said, “It seems to me as if we had already eaten our bread thus
together once two thousand years ago. Can’t you remember it?”

He could not, but it seemed strange to him now that she spoke of so
infinitely remote a past, for the strengthening of his mind by the
nourishment had brought with it a change in his brain. The idea that she
had been going around here in Pompeii such a long time ago would no
longer harmonize with sound reason; everything about her seemed of the
present, as if it could be scarcely more than twenty years old. The form
and colour of her face, the especially charming, brown, wavy hair, and
the flawless teeth; also, the idea that the bright dress, marred by no
shadow of a spot, had lain countless years in the pumice ashes contained
something in the highest degree inconsistent. Norbert was seized by a
feeling of doubt whether he were really sitting here awake or were not
more probably dreaming in his study, where, in contemplation of the
likeness of Gradiva, he had been overcome by sleep, and had dreamed that
he had gone to Pompeii, had met her as a person still living, and was
dreaming further that he was still sitting so at her side in the Casa di
Meleagro. For that she was really still alive or had been living again
could only have happened in a dream—the laws of nature raised an
objection to it——

To be sure, it was strange that she had just said that she had once
shared her bread with him in that way two thousand years ago. Of that he
knew nothing, and even in the dream could find nothing about it.

Her left hand lay with the slender fingers calmly on her knees. They
bore the key to the solution of an inscrutable riddle——

Even in the dining-room of the Casa di Meleagro the boldness of the
common house-fly was not deterred; on the yellow pillar opposite him he
saw one running up and down in a worthless way in greedy quest; now it
whizzed right past his nose.

He, however, had to make some answer to her question, if he did not
remember the bread that he had formerly consumed with her, and he said
suddenly, “Were the flies then as devilish as now, so that they
tormented you to death?”

She glanced at him with utterly incomprehending astonishment and
repeated, “The flies? Have you flies on your mind now?”

Then suddenly the black monster sat upon her hand, which did not reveal
by the slightest quiver that she noticed it. Thereupon, however, there
united in the young archæologist two powerful impulses to execute the
same deed. His hand went up suddenly and clapped with no gentle stroke
on the fly and the hand of his neighbour.

With this blow there came to him, for the first time, sense,
consternation and also a joyous fear. He had delivered the stroke not
through empty air, but on an undoubtedly real, living and warm, human
hand which, for a moment apparently absolutely startled, remained
motionless under his. Yet then she drew it away with a jerk, and the
mouth above it said, “You are surely apparently crazy, Norbert Hanold.”

The name, which he had disclosed to no one in Pompeii, passed so easily,
assuredly and clearly from her lips that its owner jumped up from the
steps, even more terrified. At the same time there sounded in the
colonnade footsteps of people who had come near unobserved; before his
confused eyes appeared the faces of the congenial pair of lovers from
the Casa del Fauno, and the young lady cried, with a tone of greatest
surprise, “Zoë! You here, too? and also on your honeymoon? You have not
written me a word about it, you know.”

                 *        *        *        *        *

Norbert was again outside before Meleager’s house in the Strada di
Mercurio. How he had come there was not clear to him, it must have
happened instinctively, and, caused by a lightning-like illumination in
him, was the only thing that he could do not to present a thoroughly
ridiculous figure to the young couple, even more to the girl greeted so
pleasantly by them, who had just addressed him by his Christian and
family names, and most of all to himself. For even if he grasped
nothing, one fact was indisputable. Gradiva, with a warm, human hand,
not unsubstantial, but possessing corporeal reality, had expressed an
indubitable truth; his mind had, in the last two days, been in a
condition of absolute madness; and not at all in a silly dream, but
rather with the use of eyes and ears such as is given by nature to man
for reasonable service. Like everything else, how such a thing had
happened escaped his understanding, and only darkly did he feel that
there must have also been in the game a sixth sense which, obtaining the
upper hand in some way, had transformed something perhaps precious to
the opposite. In order to get at least a little more light on the matter
by an attempt at meditation, a remote place in solitary silence was
absolutely required; at first, however, he was impelled to withdraw as
quickly as possible from the sphere of eyes, ears and other senses,
which use their natural functions as suits their own purpose.

As for the owner of that warm hand, she had, at any rate, from her first
expression, been surprised by the unforeseen and unexpected visit at
noon in the Casa di Meleagro in a not entirely pleasant manner. Yet, of
this, in the next instant, there was no trace to be seen in her bright
countenance; she stood up quickly, stepped toward the young lady and
said, extending her hand, “It certainly is pleasant, Gisa; chance
sometimes has a clever idea too. So this is your husband of two weeks? I
am glad to see him, and, from the appearance of both of you, I
apparently need not change my congratulations for condolence. Couples to
whom that would be applied are at this time usually sitting at lunch in
Pompeii; you are probably staying near the ‘ingresso’; I shall look you
up there this afternoon. No, I have not written you anything; you won’t
be offended at me for that, for you see my hand, unlike yours, is not
adorned by a ring. The atmosphere here has an extremely powerful effect
on the imagination, which I can see in you; it is better, of course,
than if it made one too matter-of-fact. The young man who just went out
is labouring also under a remarkable delusion; it seems to me that he
believes a fly is buzzing in his head; well, everyone has, of course,
some kind of bee in his bonnet. As is my duty, I have some knowledge of
entomology and can, therefore, be of a little service in such cases. My
father and I live in the ‘Sole’; he, too, had a sudden and pleasing idea
of bringing me here with him if I would be responsible for my own
entertainment, and make no demands upon him. I said to myself that I
should certainly dig up something interesting alone here. Of course I
had not reckoned at all on the find which I made—I mean the good
fortune of meeting you, Gisa; but I am talking away the time, as is
usually the case with an old friend—— My father comes in out of the
sun at two o’clock to eat at the ‘Sole’; so I have to keep company there
with his appetite and, therefore, I am sorry to say, must for the moment
forego your society. You will, of course, be able to view the Casa di
Meleagro without me; that I think likely, though I can’t understand it,
of course. Favorisca, signor! Arrivederci, Gisetta! That much Italian I
have already learned, and one really does not need more. Whatever else
is necessary one can invent—please, no, senza complimenti!”

This last entreaty of the speaker concerned a polite movement by which
the young husband had seemed to wish to escort her. She had expressed
herself most vividly, naturally and in a manner quite fitting to the
circumstances of the unexpected meeting of a close friend, yet with
extraordinary celerity, which testified to the urgency of the
declaration that she could not at present remain longer. So not more
than a few minutes had passed since the hasty exit of Norbert Hanold,
when she also stepped from the house of Meleager into the Strada di
Mercurio. This lay, because of the hour, enlivened only here and there
by a cringing lizard, and for a few moments the girl, hesitating,
apparently gave herself over to a brief meditation. Then she quickly
struck out in the shortest way to the gate of Hercules, at the
intersection of the Vicolo di Mercurio and the Strada di Sallustio,
crossed the stepping-stones with the gracefully buoyant Gradiva-walk,
and thus arrived very quickly at the two ruins of the side wall near the
Porta Ercolanese. Behind this there stretched at some length the Street
of Tombs, yet not dazzlingly white, nor overhung with glittering
sunbeams, as twenty-four hours ago, when the young archæologist had thus
gazed down over it with searching eyes. To-day the sun seemed to be
overcome by a feeling that she had done a little too much good in the
morning; she held a grey veil drawn before her, the condensation of
which was visibly being increased, and, as a result, the cypresses,
which grew here and there in the Strada di Sepolcri, rose unusually
sharp and black against the heavens. It was a picture different from
that of yesterday; the brilliance which mysteriously glittered over
everything was lacking; the street also assumed a certain gloomy
distinctness, and had at present a dead aspect which honoured its name.
This impression was not diminished by an isolated movement at its end,
but was rather heightened by it; there, in the vicinity of the Villa of
Diomede, a phantom seemed to be looking for its grave, and disappeared
under one of the monuments.

It was not the shortest way from the house of Meleager to the “Albergo
del Sole,” rather the exactly opposite direction, but Zoë-Gradiva must
have also decided that time was not yet importuning so violently to
lunch, for after a quite brief stop at the Hercules Gate, she walked
farther along the lava-blocks of the Street of Tombs, every time raising
the sole of her lingering foot almost perpendicularly.

                 *        *        *        *        *

The Villa of Diomede—named thus, for people of the present, after a
monument which a certain freed-man, Marcus Arrius Diomedes, formerly
promoted to the directorship of this city-section, had erected near by
for his lady, Arria, as well as for himself and his relatives—was a
very extensive building and concealed within itself a part of the
history of the destruction of Pompeii not invented by imagination. A
confusion of extensive ruins formed the upper part; below lay an
unusually large sunken garden surrounded by a well-preserved portico of
pillars with scanty remnants of a fountain and a small temple in the
middle; and farther along two stairways led down to a circular
cellar-vault, lighted only dimly by gloomy twilight. The ashes of
Vesuvius had penetrated into this also, and the skeletons of eighteen
women and children had been found here; seeking protection they had
fled, with some hastily gathered provisions, into the half-subterranean
space, and the deceptive refuge had become the tomb of all. In another
place the supposed, nameless master of the house lay, also stretched out
choked on the ground; he had wished to escape through the locked
garden-door, for he held the key to it in his fingers. Beside him
cowered another skeleton, probably that of a servant, who was carrying a
considerable number of gold and silver coins. The bodies of the
unfortunates had been preserved by the hardened ashes; in the museum at
Naples there is under glass, the exact impression of the neck, shoulders
and beautiful bosom of a young girl clad in a fine, gauzy garment.

The Villa of Diomede had, at one time, at least, been the inevitable
goal of every dutiful Pompeii visitor, but now, at noon, in its rather
roomy solitude, certainly no curiosity lingered in it, and therefore it
had seemed to Norbert Hanold the place of refuge best suited to his
newest mental needs. These longed most insistently for grave-like
loneliness, breathless silence, and quiescent peace; against the latter,
however, an impelling restlessness in his system raised counter-claims,
and he had been obliged to force an agreement between the two demands,
such that the mind tried to claim its own and yet gave the feet liberty
to follow their impulse. So he had been wandering around through the
portico since his entrance; he succeeded thus in preserving his bodily
equilibrium, and he busied himself with changing his mental state into
the same normal condition; that, however, seemed more difficult in
execution than in intention; of course it seemed to his judgment
unquestionable that he had been utterly foolish and irrational to
believe that he had sat with a young Pompeiian girl, who had become more
or less corporeally alive again, and this clear view of his madness
formed incontestably an essential advance on the return to sound reason;
but it was not yet restored entirely to normal condition, for, even if
it had occurred to him that Gradiva was only a dead bas-relief, it was
also equally beyond doubt that she was still alive. For that irrefutable
proof was adduced; not he alone, but others also, saw her, knew that her
name was Zoë and spoke with her, as with a being as much alive, in
substance, as they. On the other hand, however, she knew his name too,
and again, that could originate only from a supernatural power; this
dual nature remained enigmatic even for the rays of understanding that
were entering his mind. Yet to this incompatible duality there was
joined a similar one in him, for he cherished the earnest desire to have
been destroyed here in the Villa of Diomede two thousand years ago, in
order that he might not run the risk of meeting Zoë-Gradiva again
anywhere; at the same time, however, an extraordinary joyous feeling was
stirring within him, because he was still alive and was therefore able
to meet her again somewhere. To use a commonplace yet fitting simile,
this was turning in his head like a mill-wheel, and through the long
portico he ran around likewise without stopping, which did not aid him
in the explanation of the contradictions. On the contrary, he was moved
by an indefinite feeling that everything was growing darker and darker
about and within him.

Then he suddenly recoiled, as he turned one of the four corners of the
colonnade. A half-dozen paces away from him there sat, rather high up on
a fragmentary wall-ruin, one of the young girls who had found death here
in the ashes.

No, that was nonsense, which his reason rejected. His eyes, too, and a
nameless something else recognized that fact. It was Gradiva; she was
sitting on a stone ruin as she had formerly sat on the step, only, as
the former was considerably higher, her slender feet, which hung down
free in the sand-colour shoes, were visible up to her dainty ankles.

With an instinctive movement, Norbert was at first about to run out
between the pillars through the garden; what, for a half-hour, he had
feared most of anything in the world had suddenly appeared, viewed him
with bright eyes and with lips which, he felt, were about to burst into
mocking laughter; yet they didn’t, but the familiar voice rang out
calmly from them, “You’ll get wet outside.”

Now, for the first time, he saw that it was raining; for that reason it
had become so dark. That unquestionably was an advantage to all the
plants about and in Pompeii, but that a human being in the place would
be benefited by it was ridiculous, and for the moment Norbert Hanold
feared, far more than danger of death, appearing ridiculous. Therefore
he involuntarily gave up the attempt to get away, stood there, helpless,
and looked at the two feet, which now, as if somewhat impatient, were
swinging back and forth; and as this view did not have so clearing an
effect upon his thoughts that he could find expression for them, the
owner of the dainty feet again took up the conversation. “We were
interrupted before; you were just going to tell me something about
flies—I imagined that you were making scientific investigations
here—or about a fly in your head. Did you succeed in catching and
destroying the one on my hand?”

This last she said with a smiling expression about her lips, which,
however, was so faint and charming that it was not at all terrifying. On
the contrary, it now lent to the questioned man power of speech, but
with this limitation, that the young archæologist suddenly did not know
how to address her. In order to escape this dilemma, he found it best to
avoid that and replied, “I was—as they say—somewhat confused mentally
and ask pardon that I—the hand—in that way—how I could be so stupid,
I can’t understand—but I can’t understand either how its owner could
use my name in upbraiding me for my—my madness.”

Gradiva’s feet stopped moving and she rejoined, still addressing him
familiarly, “Your power of understanding has not yet progressed that
far, Norbert Hanold. Of course, I cannot be surprised, for you have long
ago accustomed me to it. To make that discovery again I should not have
needed to come to Pompeii, and you could have confirmed it for me a good
hundred miles nearer.”

“A hundred miles nearer”—he repeated, perplexed and half
stuttering—“where is that?”

“Diagonally across from your house, in the corner house; in my window,
in a cage, is a canary.”

Like a memory from far away this last word moved the hearer, who
repeated, “A canary”—and he added, stuttering more—“He—he sings?”

“They usually do, especially in spring when the sun begins to seem warm
again. In that house lives my father, Richard Bertgang, professor of

Norbert Hanold’s eyes opened to a width never before attained by them,
and then he said, “Bertgang—then are you—are you—Miss Zoë Bertgang?
But she looked quite different——”

The two dangling feet began again to swing a little, and Miss Zoë
Bertgang said in reply, “If you find that form of address more suitable
between us, I can use it too, you know, but the other came to me more
naturally. I don’t know whether I looked different when we used to run
about before with each other as friends every day, and occasionally beat
and cuffed each other, for a change, but if, in recent years, you had
favoured me with even one glance, you might perhaps have seen that I
have looked like this for a long time.—No, now, as they say, it’s
pouring pitchforks; you won’t have a dry stitch.”

Not only had the feet of the speaker indicated a return of impatience,
or whatever it might be, but also in the tones of her voice there
appeared a little didactic, ill-humoured curtness, and Norbert had
thereby been overwhelmed by a feeling that he was running the risk of
slipping into the rôle of a big school-boy scolded and slapped in the
face. That caused him to again seek mechanically for an exit between the
pillars, and to the movement which showed this impulse Miss Zoë’s last
utterance, indifferently added, had reference; and, of course, in an
undeniably striking way, because for what was now occurring outside of
the shelter, “pouring” was really a mild term. A tropical cloudburst
such as only seldom took pity on the summer thirst of the meadows of the
Campagna, was shooting vertically and rushing as if the Tyrrhenian Sea
were pouring from heaven upon the Villa of Diomede, and yet it continued
like a firm wall composed of billions of drops gleaming like pearls and
large as nuts. That, indeed, made escape out into the open air
impossible, and forced Norbert Hanold to remain in the school-room of
the portico while the young school-mistress with the delicate, clever
face made use of the hindrance for further extension of her pedagogical
discussion by continuing, after a brief pause:—

“Then up to the time when people call us ‘Backfisch,’ for some unknown
reason, I had really acquired a remarkable attachment for you and
thought that I could never find a more pleasing friend in the world.
Mother, sister, or brother I had not, you know; to my father a slow-worm
in alcohol was far more interesting than I, and people (I count girls
such) must surely have something with which they can occupy their
thoughts and the like. Then you were that something, but when archæology
overcame you, I made the discovery that you—excuse the familiarity, but
your new formality sounds absurd to me—I was saying that I imagined
that you had become an intolerable person, who had no longer, at least
for me, an eye in his head, a tongue in his mouth, nor any of the
memories that I retained of our childhood friendship. So I probably
looked different from what I did formerly, for when, occasionally, I met
you at a party, even last winter, you did not look at me and I did not
hear your voice; in this, of course, there was nothing which marked me
out especially, for you treated all the others in the same way. To you I
was but air, and you, with your shock of light hair, which I had
formerly pulled so often, were as boresome, dry and tongue-tied as a
stuffed cockatoo and at the same time as grandiose as an—archæopteryx;
I believe the excavated, antediluvian bird-monster is so called; but
that your head harboured an imagination so magnificent as here in
Pompeii to consider me something excavated and restored to life—I had
not surmised that of you, and when you suddenly stood before me
unexpectedly, it cost me some effort at first to understand what kind of
incredible fancy your imagination had invented. Then I was amused, and,
in spite of its madness, it was not entirely displeasing to me. For, as
I said, I had not expected it of you.”

With that, her expression and tone somewhat mollified at the end, Miss
Zoë Bertgang finished her unreserved, detailed and instructive lecture,
and it was indeed notable how exactly she then resembled the figure of
Gradiva on the bas-relief, not only in her features, her form, her eyes,
expressive of wisdom, and her charmingly wavy hair, but also in her
graceful manner of walking which he had often seen; her drapery, too,
dress and scarf of a cream-coloured, fine cashmere material which fell
in soft, voluminous folds, completed the extraordinary resemblance of
her whole appearance. There might have been much foolishness in the
belief that a young Pompeiian girl, destroyed two thousand years ago by
Vesuvius, could sometimes walk around alive again, speak, draw and eat
bread, but even if the belief brought happiness, it assumed everywhere,
in the bargain, a considerable amount of incomprehensibility; and in
consideration of all the circumstances, there was incontestably present,
in the judgment of Norbert Hanold, some mitigating ground for his
madness in for two days considering Gradiva a resurrection.

Although he stood there dry under the portico roof, there was
established, not quite ineptly, a comparison between him and a wet
poodle, who has had a bucketful of water thrown on his head; but the
cold shower-bath had really done him good. Without knowing exactly why,
he felt that he was breathing much more easily. In that, of course, the
change of tone at the end of the sermon—for the speaker sat as if in a
pulpit-chair—might have helped especially; at least thereat a
transfigured light appeared in his eyes, such as awakened hope for
salvation through faith produces in the eyes of an ardently affected
church-attendant; and as the rebuke was now over, and there seemed no
necessity for fearing a further continuation, he succeeded in saying,
“Yes, now I recognize—no, you have not changed at all—it is you,
Zoë—my good, happy, clever comrade—it is most strange——”

“That a person must die to become alive again; but for archæologists
that is of course necessary.”

“No, I mean your name——”

“Why is it strange?”

The young archæologist showed himself familiar with not only the
classical languages, but also with the etymology of German, and
continued, “Because Bertgang has the same meaning as Gradiva and
signifies ‘the one splendid in walking.’”

Miss Zoë Bertgang’s two sandal-like shoes were, for the moment, because
of their movement, reminiscent of an impatiently see-sawing wagtail
waiting for something; yet the possessor of the feet which walked so
magnificently seemed not at present to be paying any attention to
philological explanations; by her countenance she gave the impression of
being occupied with some hasty plan, but was restrained from it by an
exclamation of Norbert Hanold’s which audibly emanated from deepest
conviction, “What luck, though, that you are not Gradiva, but are like
the congenial young lady!”

That caused an expression as of interested surprise to pass over her
face, and she asked, “Who is that? Whom do you mean?”

“The one who spoke to you in Meleager’s house.”

“Do you know her?”

“Yes, I had already seen her. She was the first person who seemed
especially congenial to me.”

“So? Where did you see her?”

“This morning, in the House of the Faun. There the couple were doing
something very strange.”

“What were they doing?”

“They did not see me and they kissed each other.”

“That was really very reasonable, you know. Why else are they in Pompeii
on their wedding trip?”

At one blow with the last word the former picture changed before Norbert
Hanold’s eyes, for the old wall-ruin lay there empty, because the girl,
who had chosen it as a seat, teacher’s chair and pulpit, had come down,
or really flown, and with the same supple buoyancy as that of a wagtail
swinging through the air, so that she already stood again on
Gradiva-feet, before his glance had consciously caught up with her
descent; and continuing her speech directly, she said, “Well, the rain
has stopped; too severe rulers do not reign long. That is reasonable,
too, you know, and thus everything has again become reasonable. I, not
least of all, and you can look up Gisa Hartleben, or whatever new name
she has, to be of scientific assistance to her about the purpose of her
stay in Pompeii. I must now go to the ‘Albergo del Sole,’ for my father
is probably waiting for me already at lunch. Perhaps we shall meet again
sometime at a party in Germany or on the moon. Addio!”

Zoë Bertgang said this in the absolutely polite, but also equally
indifferent tone of a most well-bred young lady, and, as was her custom,
placing her left foot forward, raised the sole of the right almost
perpendicularly to pass out. As she lifted her dress slightly with her
left hand, because of the thoroughly wet ground outside, the resemblance
to Gradiva was perfect and the man, standing hardly more than two
arm-lengths away, noticed for the first time a quite insignificant
deviation in the living picture from the stone one. The latter lacked
something possessed by the former, which appeared at the moment quite
clear, a little dimple in her cheek, which produced a slight,
indefinable effect. It puckered and wrinkled a little and could
therefore express annoyance or a suppressed impulse to laugh, possibly
both together. Norbert Hanold looked at it and although from the
evidence just presented to him he had completely regained his reason,
his eyes had to again submit to an optical illusion. For, in a tone
triumphing peculiarly over his discovery, he cried out, “There is the
fly again!”

It sounded so strange that from the incomprehending listener, who could
not see herself, escaped the question, “The fly—where?”

“There on your cheek!” and immediately the man, as he answered, suddenly
twined an arm about her neck and snapped, this time with his lips, at
the insect so deeply abhorrent to him, which vision juggled before his
eyes deceptively in the little dimple. Apparently, however, without
success, for right afterwards he cried again, “No, now it’s on your
lips!” and thereupon, quick as a flash, he directed thither his attempt
to capture, now remaining so long that no doubt could survive that he
succeeded in completely accomplishing his purpose, and strange to relate
the living Gradiva did not hinder him at all, and when her mouth, after
about a minute, was forced to struggle for breath, restored to powers of
speech, she did not say, “You are really crazy, Norbert Hanold,” but
rather allowed a most charming smile to play more visibly than before
about her red lips; she had been convinced more than ever of the
complete recovery of his reason.

The Villa of Diomede had two thousand years ago seen and heard horrible
things in an evil hour, yet at the present it heard and saw, for about
an hour, only things not at all suited to inspire horror. Then, however,
a sensible idea became uppermost in Miss Zoë Bertgang’s mind and as a
result, she said, against her wishes, “Now, I must _really_ go, or my
poor father will starve. It seems to me you can to-day forego Gisa
Hartleben’s company at noon, for you have nothing more to learn from her
and ought to be content with us in the ‘Sun Hotel.’”

From this it was to be concluded that daring that hour something must
have been discussed, for it indicated a helpful desire to instruct,
which the young lady vented on Norbert. Yet, from the reminding words,
he did not gather this, but something which, for the first time, he was
becoming terribly conscious of; this was apparent in the repetition,
“Your father—what will he——?”

Miss Zoë, however, interrupted, without any sign of awakened anxiety,
“Probably he will do nothing; I am not an indispensable piece in his
zoological collection; if I were, my heart would probably not have clung
to you so unwisely. Besides, from my early years, I have been sure that
a woman is of use in the world only when she relieves a man of the
trouble of deciding household matters; I generally do this for my
father, and therefore you can also be rather at ease about your future.
Should he, however, by chance, in this case, have an opinion different
from mine, we will make it as simple as possible. You go over to Capri
for a couple of days; there, with a grass snare—you can practise making
them on my little finger—catch a lizard _Faraglionensis_. Let it go
here again, and catch it before his eyes. Then give him free choice
between it and me, and you will have me so surely that I am sorry for
you. Toward his colleague, Eimer, however, I feel to-day that I have
formerly been ungrateful, for without his genial invention of
lizard-catching I should probably not have come into Meleager’s house,
and that would have been a shame, not only for you, but for me too.”

This last view she expressed outside of the Villa of Diomede and, alas,
there was no person present on earth who could make any statements about
the voice and manner of talking of Gradiva. Yet even if they had
resembled those of Zoë Bertgang, as everything else about her did, they
must have possessed a quite unusually beautiful and roguish charm.

By this, at least, Norbert Hanold was so strongly overwhelmed that,
exalted to poetic flights, he cried out, “Zoë, you dear life and lovely
present—we shall take our wedding-trip to Italy and Pompeii.”

That was a decided proof of how different circumstances can also produce
a transformation in a human being and at the same time unite with it a
weakening of the memory. For it did not occur to him at all that he
would thereby expose himself and his companion on the journey to the
danger of receiving, from misanthropic, ill-humoured railway companions,
the names Augustus and Gretchen, but at the moment he was thinking so
little about it that they walked along hand in hand through the old
Street of Tombs in Pompeii. Of course this, too, did not stamp itself
into their minds at present as such, for a cloudless sky shone and
laughed again above it; the sun stretched out a golden carpet on the old
lava-blocks; Vesuvius spread its misty pine-cone; and the whole
excavated city seemed overwhelmed, not with pumice and ashes, but with
pearls and diamonds, by the beneficent rain-storm.

The brilliance in the eyes of the young daughter of the zoologist
rivalled these, but to the announced desire about the destination of
their journey by her childhood friend who had, in a way, also been
excavated from the ashes, her wise lips responded: “I think we won’t
worry about that to-day; that is a thing which may better be left by
both of us to more and maturer consideration and future promptings. I,
at least, do not yet feel quite alive enough now for such geographical

That showed that the speaker possessed great modesty about the quality
of her insight into things about which she had never thought until
to-day. They had arrived again at the Hercules Gate, where, at the
beginning of the Strada Consolare, old stepping-stones crossed the
street. Norbert Hanold stopped before them and said with a peculiar
tone, “Please go ahead here.” A merry, comprehending, laughing
expression lurked around his companion’s mouth, and, raising her dress
slightly with her left hand, Gradiva _rediviva_ Zoë Bertgang, viewed by
him with dreamily observing eyes, crossed with her calmly buoyant walk,
through the sunlight, over the stepping-stones, to the other side of the









In a circle of men who take it for granted that the basic riddle of the
dream has been solved by the efforts of the present writer,[1] curiosity
was aroused one day concerning those dreams which have never been
dreamed, those created by authors, and attributed to fictitious
characters in their productions. The proposal to submit this kind of
dream to investigation might appear idle and strange; but from one
view-point it could be considered justifiable. It is, to be sure, not at
all generally believed that the dreamer dreams something senseful and
significant. Science and the majority of educated people smile when one
offers them the task of interpreting dreams. Only people still clinging
to superstition, who give continuity, thereby, to the convictions of the
ancients, will not refrain from interpreting dreams, and the writer of
_Traumdeutung_ has dared, against the protests of orthodox science, to
take sides with the ancients and superstitious. He is, of course, far
from accepting in dreams a prevision of the future, for the disclosure
of which man has, from time immemorial, striven vainly. He could not,
however, completely reject the connections of dreams with the future,
for, after completing some arduous analysis, the dreams seemed to him to
represent _the fulfilment of a wish_ of the dreamer; and who could
dispute that wishes are preponderantly concerned with the future?

I have just said that the dream is a fulfilled wish. Whoever is not
afraid to toil through a difficult book, whoever does not demand that a
complicated problem be insincerely and untruthfully presented to him as
easy and simple, to save his own effort, may seek in the above-mentioned
_Traumdeutung_ ample proof of this statement, and may, until then, cast
aside the objection that will surely be expressed against the
equivalence of dreams and wish-fulfilment.

We have, however, anticipated. The question is not now one of
establishing whether the meaning of a dream is, in every case, to be
interpreted as the fulfilment of a wish, or, just as frequently, as an
anxious expectation, an intention or deliberation, etc. The first
question is, rather, whether the dream has any meaning at all, whether
one should grant it the value of a psychic process. Science answers,
_No_; it explains the dream as a purely physiological process, behind
which one need not seek meaning, significance nor intention. Physical
excitations play, during sleep, on the psychic instrument and bring into
consciousness sometimes some, sometimes other ideas devoid of psychic
coherence. Dreams are comparable only to convulsions, not to expressive

In this dispute over the estimation of dreams, writers seem to stand on
the same side with the ancients, superstitious people and the author of
_Traumdeutung_. For, when they cause the people created by their
imagination to dream, they follow the common experience that people’s
thoughts and feelings continue into sleep, and they seek only to depict
the psychic states of their heroes through the dreams of the latter.
Story-tellers are valuable allies, and their testimony is to be rated
high, for they usually know many things between heaven and earth that
our academic wisdom does not even dream of. In psychic knowledge,
indeed, they are far ahead of us ordinary people, because they draw from
sources that we have not yet made accessible for science. Would that
this partizanship of literary workers for the senseful nature of dreams
were only more unequivocal! Sharper criticism might object that writers
take sides neither for nor against the psychic significance of an
isolated dream; they are satisfied to show how the sleeping psyche stirs
under the stimuli which have remained active in it as off-shoots of
waking life.

Our interest for the way in which story-tellers make use of dreams is
not, however, made less intense by this disillusionment. Even if the
investigation should teach nothing of the nature of dreams, it may
perhaps afford us, from this angle, a little insight into the nature of
creative literary production. Actual dreams are considered to be
unrestrained and irregular formations, and now come the free copies of
such dreams; but there is much less freedom and arbitrariness in psychic
life than we are inclined to believe, perhaps none at all. What we,
laity, call chance resolves itself, to an acknowledged degree, into
laws; also, what we call arbitrariness in psychic life rests on laws
only now dimly surmised. Let us see!

There are two possible methods for this investigation; one is
engrossment with a special case, with the dream-creations of one writer
in one of his works; the other consists in bringing together and
comparing all the examples of the use of dreams which are found in the
works of different story-tellers. The second way seems to be by far the
more effective, perhaps the only justifiable one, for it frees us
immediately from the dangers connected with the conception of “the
writer” as an artistic unity. This unity falls to pieces in
investigations of widely different writers, among whom we are wont to
honour some, individually, as the most profound connoisseurs of psychic
life. Yet these pages will be filled by an investigation of the former
kind. It so happened, in the group of men who started the idea, that
some one remembered that the bit of fiction which he had most recently
enjoyed contained several dreams which looked at him with familiar
expression and invited him to try on them the method of _Traumdeutung_.
He admitted that the material and setting of the little tale had been
partly responsible for the origin of his pleasure, for the story was
unfolded in Pompeii, and concerned a young archæologist who had given up
interest in life, for that in the remains of the classic past, and now,
by a remarkable but absolutely correct détour, was brought back to life.
During the perusal of this really poetic material, the reader
experienced all sorts of feelings of familiarity and concurrence. The
tale was Wilhelm Jensen’s _Gradiva_, a little romance designated by its
author himself “A Pompeian Fancy.”

In order that my further references may be to familiar material, I must
now ask my readers to lay aside this pamphlet, and replace it for some
time with _Gradiva_, which first appeared in the book world in 1903. To
those who have already read _Gradiva_, I will recall the content of the
story in a short epitome, and hope that their memory will of itself
restore all the charm of which the story is thereby stripped.

A young archæologist, Norbert Hanold, has discovered at Rome, in a
collection of antiques, a bas-relief which attracts him so exceptionally
that he is delighted to be able to get an excellent plaster-cast of it
which he can hang up in his study in a German university-city and study
with interest. The relief represents a mature young girl walking. She
has gathered up her voluminous gown slightly, so that her sandalled feet
become visible. One foot rests wholly on the ground; the other is raised
to follow and touches the ground only with the tips of the toes while
sole and heel rise almost perpendicularly. The unusual and especially
charming walk represented had probably aroused the artist’s attention,
and now, after so many centuries, captivates the eye of our
archæological observer.

This interest of the hero in the described bas-relief is the basic
psychological fact of our story. It is not immediately explicable.
“Doctor Norbert Hanold, docent of archæology, really found in the relief
nothing noteworthy for his science.” (_Gradiva_, p. 14.) “He could not
explain what quality in it had aroused his attention; he knew only that
he had been attracted by something and this effect of the first view had
remained unchanged since then,” but his imagination does not cease to be
occupied with the relief. He finds in it a “sense of present time,” as
if the artist had fixed the picture on the street “from life.” He
confers upon the girl represented walking a name, Gradiva, “the girl
splendid in walking,” spins a yarn that she is the daughter of a
distinguished family, perhaps of a “patrician ædile, whose office was
connected with the worship of Ceres,” and is on the way to the temple of
the goddess. Then it is repulsive to him to place her in the mob of a
metropolis; rather he convinces himself that she is to be transported to
Pompeii, and is walking there somewhere on the peculiar stepping-stones
which have been excavated; these made a dry crossing possible in rainy
weather, and yet also afforded passage for chariot-wheels. The cut of
her features seems to him Greek, her Hellenic ancestry unquestionable.
All of his science of antiquity gradually puts itself at the service of
this or other fancies connected with the relief.

Then, however, there obtrudes itself upon him a would-be scientific
problem which demands solution. Now it is a matter of his passing a
critical judgment “whether the artist had reproduced Gradiva’s manner of
walking from life.” He cannot produce it in himself; in the search for
the “real existence” of this gait, he arrives only at “observation from
life for the purpose of enlightenment on the matter” (_G._ p. 18). This
forces him, to be sure, to a mode of action utterly foreign to him.
“Women had formerly been for him only a conception in marble or bronze,
and he had never given his feminine contemporaries the least
consideration.” Society life has always seemed to him an unavoidable
torture; young ladies whom he meets, in such connections, he fails to
see and hear, to such a degree that, on the next encounter, he passes
without greeting, which, of course, serves to place him in an
unfavourable light with them. Now, however, the scientific task which he
has imposed upon himself forces him in dry weather, but especially in
wet weather, to observe diligently the feet of ladies and girls on the
street, an activity which yields him many a displeased and many an
encouraging glance from those observed. “Yet one was as incomprehensible
to him as the other.” (_G._ p. 19.) As a result of these careful
studies, he finds that Gradiva’s gait cannot be proved to exist really,
a fact which fills him with regret and annoyance.

Soon afterwards he has a terribly frightful dream, which transports him
to old Pompeii on the day of the eruption of Vesuvius, and makes him an
eye-witness of the destruction of the city. “As he stood thus at the
edge of the Forum near the Jupiter temple, he suddenly saw Gradiva a
short distance in front of him. Until then no thought of her presence
there had moved him, but now suddenly it seemed natural to him, as she
was, of course, a Pompeiian girl, that she was living in her native city
and, _without his having any suspicion of it, was his contemporary_.”
(_G._ p. 20.) Fear about her impending fate draws from him a cry of
warning, in answer to which the unperturbed apparition turns her face
toward him. Unconcerned, she continues her way to the portico of the
temple, sits down there on a step and slowly rests her head upon it,
while her face keeps growing paler, as if it were turning to white
marble. As he hastens after her, he finds her, with calm countenance,
stretched out, as if sleeping, on the broad step; soon the rain of ashes
buries her form.

When he awakes, he thinks he is still hearing the confused cries of the
Pompeiians, who are seeking safety, and the dully resounding boom of the
turbulent sea; but even after his returning senses have recognized these
noises as the waking expressions of life in the noisy metropolis, he
retains for some time the belief in the reality of what he has dreamed;
when he has finally rid himself of the idea that he was really present,
nearly two thousand years ago, at the destruction of Pompeii, there yet
remains to him, as a firm conviction, the idea that Gradiva lived in
Pompeii and was buried there in the year 79. His fancies about Gradiva,
due to the after-effects of this dream, continue so that he now, for the
first time, begins to mourn her as lost.

While he leans from his window, prepossessed with these ideas, a canary,
warbling his song in a cage at an open window of the house opposite,
attracts his attention. Suddenly something like a thrill passes through
the man not yet completely awakened from his dream. He believes that he
sees, in the street, a figure like that of his Gradiva, and even
recognizes the gait characteristic of her; without deliberation he
hastens to the street to overtake her, and the laughter and jeers of the
people, at his unconventional morning attire, first drive him quickly
back home. In his room, it is again the singing canary in the cage who
occupies him and stimulates him to a comparison with himself. He, too,
is sitting in a cage, he finds, yet it is easier for him to leave his
cage. As if from added after-effect of the dream, perhaps also under the
influence of the mild spring air, he decides to take a spring trip to
Italy, for which a scientific motive is soon found, even if “the impulse
for travel had originated in a nameless feeling” (_G._ p. 28).

We will stop a moment at this most loosely motivated journey and take a
closer look at the personality, as well as the activities of our hero.
He seems to us still incomprehensible and foolish; we have no idea of
how his special folly is to acquire enough human appeal to compel our
interest. It is the privilege of the author of _Gradiva_ to leave us in
such a quandary; with his beauty of diction and his judicious selection
of incident, he presently rewards our confidence and the undeserved
sympathy which we still grant to his hero. Of the latter we learn that
he is already destined by family tradition to be an antiquarian, has
later, in isolation and independence, submerged himself completely in
his science, and has withdrawn entirely from life and its pleasures.
Marble and bronze are, for his feelings, the only things really alive
and expressing the purpose and value of human life. Yet, perhaps with
kind intent, Nature has put into his blood a thoroughly unscientific
sort of corrective, a most lively imagination, which can impress itself
not only on his dreams, but also on his waking life. By such separation
of imagination and intellectual capacity, he is destined to be a poet or
a neurotic, and he belongs to that race of beings whose realm is not of
this world. So it happens that his interest is fixed upon a bas-relief
which represents a girl walking in an unusual manner, that he spins a
web of fancies about it, invents a name and an ancestry for it, and
transports the person created by him into Pompeii, which was buried more
than eighteen hundred years ago. Finally, after a remarkable
anxiety-dream he intensifies the fancy of the existence and destruction
of the girl named Gradiva into a delusion which comes to influence his
acts. These performances of imagination would appear to us strange and
inscrutable, if we should encounter them in a really living person. As
our hero, Norbert Hanold, is a creature of an author, we should like to
ask the latter timidly if his fancy has been determined by any power
other than his own arbitrariness.

We left our hero just as he is apparently being moved by the song of a
canary to take a trip to Italy, the motive for which is apparently not
clear to him. We learn, further, that neither destination nor purpose
are firmly established in his mind. An inner restlessness and
dissatisfaction drive him from Rome to Naples and farther on from there;
he encounters the swarm of honeymoon travellers, and, forced to notice
the tender “Augustuses” and “Gretchens,” is utterly unable to understand
the acts and impulses of the couples. He arrives at the conclusion that,
of all the follies of humanity, “marriage, at any rate, took the prize
as the greatest and most incomprehensible one, and the senseless wedding
trips to Italy somehow capped the climax of this buffoonery.” (_G._ p.
30.) At Rome, disturbed in his sleep by the proximity of a loving
couple, he flees, forthwith, to Naples, only to find there another
“Augustus” and “Gretchen.” As he believes that he understands from their
conversation that the majority of those bird-couples does not intend to
nest in the rubbish of Pompeii, but to take flight to Capri, he decides
to do what they do not do, and finds himself in Pompeii, “contrary to
expectations and intentions,” a few days after the beginning of his
journey—without, however, finding there the peace which he seeks.

The rôle which, until then, has been played by the honeymoon couples,
who made him uneasy and vexed his senses, is now assumed by house-flies,
in which he is inclined to see the incarnation of absolute evil and
worthlessness. The two tormentors blend into one; many fly-couples
remind him of honeymoon travellers, address each other probably, in
their language, also as “My only Augustus” and “My sweet Gretchen.”

Finally he cannot help admitting “that his dissatisfaction was certainly
caused not by his surroundings alone, but to a degree found its origin
in him.” (_G._ p. 40.) He feels that he is out of sorts because he lacks
something without being able to explain what.

The next morning he goes through the “ingresso” to Pompeii and, after
taking leave of the guide, roams aimlessly through the city, notably,
however, without remembering that he has been present in a dream some
time before at the destruction of Pompeii. Therefore in the “hot, holy”
hour of noon, which the ancients, you know, considered the ghost-hour,
when the other visitors have taken flight and the heap of ruins,
desolate and steeped in sunlight, lies before him, there stirs in him
the ability to transport himself back into the buried life, but not with
the aid of science. “What it taught was a lifeless, archæological view
and what came from its mouth was a dead, philological language. These
helped in no way to a comprehension with soul, mind and heart, as the
saying is, but he, who possessed a desire for that, had to stand alone
here, the only living person in the hot noonday silence, among the
remains of the past, in order not to see with physical eyes nor hear
with corporeal ears. Then—the dead awoke, and Pompeii began to live
again.” (_G._ p. 48.) While thus, by means of his imagination, he endows
the past with life, he suddenly sees, indubitably, the Gradiva of his
bas-relief step out of a house and buoyantly cross the lava
stepping-stones, just as he had seen her in the dream that night when
she had lain down to sleep on the steps of the Apollo temple. “With this
memory he became conscious, for the first time, of something else; he
had, without himself knowing the motive in his heart, come to Italy on
that account, and had, without stop, continued from Rome and Naples to
Pompeii to see if he could here find trace of her—and that in a literal
sense—for, with her unusual gait, she must have left behind in the
ashes a foot-print different from all the others.” (_G._ p. 50.)

The suspense, in which the author of _Gradiva_ has kept us up to this
point, mounts here, for a moment, to painful confusion. Not only because
our hero has apparently lost his equilibrium, but also because,
confronted with the appearance of Gradiva, who was formerly a
plaster-cast and then a creation of imagination, we are lost. Is it a
hallucination of our deluded hero, a “real” ghost, or a corporeal
person? Not that we need to believe in ghosts to draw up this list.
Jensen, who named his tale a “Fancy,” has, of course, found no occasion,
as yet, to explain to us whether he wishes to leave us in our world,
decried as dull and ruled by the laws of science, or to conduct us into
another fantastic one, in which reality is ascribed to ghosts and
spirits. As _Hamlet_ and _Macbeth_ show, we are ready to follow him into
such a place without hesitation. The delusion of the imaginative
archæologist would need, in that case, to be measured by another
standard. Yes, when we consider how improbable must be the real
existence of a person who faithfully reproduces in her appearance that
antique bas-relief, our list shrinks to an alternative: hallucination or
ghost of the noon hour. A slight touch in the description eliminates the
former possibility. A large lizard lies stretched out, motionless, in
the sunlight; it flees, however, before the approaching foot of Gradiva
and wriggles away over the lava pavement. So, no hallucination;
something outside of the mind of our dreamer. But ought the reality of a
_rediviva_ to be able to disturb a lizard?

Before the house of Meleager Gradiva disappears. We are not surprised
that Norbert Hanold persists in his delusion that Pompeii has begun to
live again about him in the noon hour of spirits, and that Gradiva has
also returned to life and gone into the house where she lived before the
fateful August day of the year 79. There dart through his mind keen
conjectures about the personality of the owner, after whom the house may
have been named, and about Gradiva’s relation to the latter; these show
that his science has now given itself over completely to the service of
his imagination. After entering this house, he again suddenly discovers
the apparition, sitting on low steps between two yellow pillars. “Spread
out on her knees lay something white, which he was unable to distinguish
clearly; it seemed to be a papyrus sheet” (_G._ p. 55). Taking for
granted his most recent suppositions about her ancestry, he speaks to
her in Greek, awaiting timorously the determination of whether the power
of speech may, perhaps, be granted to her in her phantom existence. As
she does not answer, he changes the greeting to Latin. Then, from
smiling lips, come the words, “If you wish to speak with me, you must do
so in German.”

What embarrassment for us, the readers! Thus the author of _Gradiva_ has
made sport of us and decoyed us, as if by means of the refulgence of
Pompeiian sunshine, into a little delusion so that we may be milder in
our judgment of the poor man, whom the real noonday sun actually burns;
but we know now, after recovering from brief confusion, that Gradiva is
a living German girl, a fact which we wish to reject as utterly
improbable. Reflecting calmly, we now await a discovery of what
connection exists between the girl and the stone representation of her,
and of how our young archæologist acquired the fancies which hint at her
real personality.

Our hero is not freed so quickly as we from the delusion, for, “Even if
the belief brought happiness,” says our author, “it assumed everywhere,
in the bargain, a considerable amount of incomprehensibility.” (_G._ p.
102.) Besides, this delusion probably has subjective roots of which we
know nothing, which do not exist for us. He doubtless needs trenchant
treatment to bring him back to reality. For the present he can do
nothing but adapt the delusion to the wonderful discovery which he has
just made. Gradiva, who had perished at the destruction of Pompeii, can
be nothing but a ghost of the noon hour, who returns to life for the
noon hour of spirits; but why, after the answer given in German, does
the exclamation escape him: “I knew that your voice sounded like that”?
Not only we, but the girl, too, must ask, and Hanold must admit that he
has never heard her voice before, but expected to hear it in the dream,
when he called to her, as she lay down to sleep on the steps of the
temple. He begs her to repeat that action, but she then rises, directs a
strange glance at him, and, after a few steps, disappears between the
pillars of the court. A beautiful butterfly had, shortly before that,
fluttered about her a few times; in his interpretation it had been a
messenger from Hades, who was to admonish the departed one to return, as
the noon hour of spirits had passed. The call, “Are you coming here
again to-morrow in the noon hour?” Hanold can send after the
disappearing girl. To us, however, who venture a more sober
interpretation, it will seem that the young lady found something
improper in the request which Hanold had made of her, and therefore,
insulted, left him, as she could yet know nothing of his dream. May not
her delicacy of feeling have realized the erotic nature of the request,
which was prompted, for Hanold, only by the connection with his dream?

After the disappearance of Gradiva, our hero examines all the guests at
the “Hotel Diomed” table and soon also those of “Hotel Suisse,” and can
then assure himself that in neither of the only two lodgings known to
him in Pompeii is a person to be found who possesses the most remote
resemblance to Gradiva. Of course he had rejected, as unreasonable, the
supposition that he might really meet Gradiva in one of the two
hostelries. The wine pressed on the hot soil of Vesuvius then helps to
increase the day’s dizziness.

The only certainty about the next day is that Norbert must again be in
Meleager’s house at noon; and, awaiting the hour, he enters Pompeii over
the old city-wall, a way which is against the rules. An asphodel cluster
of white bell-flowers seems, as flower of the lower world, significant
enough for him to pluck and carry away. All his knowledge of antiquity
appears to him, however, while he is waiting, as the most purposeless
and indifferent matter in the world, for another interest has acquired
control of him, the problem, “what is the nature of the physical
manifestation of a being like Gradiva, dead and alive at the same time,
although the latter was true only in the noon hour of spirits?” (_G._ p.
64.) He is also worried lest to-day he may not meet the lady sought,
because perhaps she may not be allowed to return for a long time, and
when he again sees her between the pillars, he considers her appearance
an illusion, which draws from him the grieved exclamation, “Oh, that you
were still alive!” This time, however, he has evidently been too
critical, for the apparition possesses a voice which asks him whether he
wishes to bring her the white flower, and draws the man, who has again
lost his composure, into a long conversation. Our author informs us,
readers, to whom Gradiva has already become interesting as a living
personality, that the ill-humoured and repellent glance of the day
before has given way to an expression of searching inquisitiveness or
curiosity. She really sounds him, demands, in explanation of his remark
of the preceding day, when he had stood near her as she lay down to
sleep, in this way learns of the dream in which she perished with her
native city, then of the bas-relief, and of the position of the foot,
which attracted the young archæologist. Now she shows herself ready to
demonstrate her manner of walking, whereby the substitution of light,
sand-coloured, fine leather shoes for the sandals, which she explains as
adaptation to the present, is established as the only deviation from the
original relief of Gradiva. Apparently she is entering into his
delusion, whose whole range she elicits from him, without once opposing
him. Only once she seems to have been wrested from her rôle by a
peculiar feeling when, his mind on the bas-relief, he asserts that he
has recognized her at first glance. As, at this stage of the
conversation, she, as yet, knows nothing of the relief, she must be on
the point of misunderstanding Hanold’s words, but she has immediately
recovered herself again, and only to us will many of her speeches appear
to have a double meaning, besides their significance in connection with
the delusion, a real, present meaning, as, for example, when she regrets
that he did not succeed in confirming the Gradiva-gait on the street.
“What a shame; perhaps you would not have needed to take the long
journey here.” (_G._ p. 69.) She learns also that he has named the
bas-relief of her “Gradiva,” and tells him that her real name is Zoë!

“The name suits you beautifully, but it sounds to me like bitter
mockery, for ‘Zoë’ means ‘life.’”

“One must adapt himself to the inevitable,” she responds. “And I have
long accustomed myself to being dead.”

With the promise to be at the same place again on the morrow, she takes
leave of him, after she has obtained the asphodel cluster. “To those who
are more fortunate one gives roses in spring, but for me the flower of
oblivion is the right one from your hand.” (_G._ p. 70.) Melancholy is
suited to one so long dead, who has now returned to life for a few short

We begin now to understand and to hope. If the young lady, in whose form
Gradiva is again revived, accepts Hanold’s delusion so completely, she
does it probably to free him from it. No other course is open; by
opposition, one would destroy that possibility. Even the serious
treatment of a real condition of this kind could proceed no differently
than to place itself first on the ground story of the
delusion-structure, and investigate it then as thoroughly as possible.
If Zoë is the right person, we shall soon learn how one cures delusions
like those of our hero. We should also like to know how such a delusion
originates. It would be very striking, and yet not without example and
parallel, if the treatment and investigation of the delusion should
coincide and, while it is being analysed, result in the explanation of
its origin. We have a suspicion, of course, that our case might then
turn out to be an “ordinary” love story, but one may not scorn love as a
healing power for delusions; and was not our hero’s captivation by the
Gradiva-relief also a complete infatuation, directed, to be sure, at the
past and lifeless?

After Gradiva’s disappearance, there is heard once more a distant sound
like the merry note of a bird flying over the city of ruins. The man who
has remained behind picks up something white, which Gradiva has left,
not a papyrus leaf, but a sketch-book with pencil drawings of Pompeii.
We should say that the fact that she has forgotten the little book, in
this place, is a pledge of her return, for we assert that one forgets
nothing without a secret reason or a hidden motive.

The remainder of the day brings to our hero all sorts of remarkable
discoveries and facts, which he neglects to fit together. In the wall of
the portico where Gradiva disappeared, he notices to-day a narrow cleft,
which is, however, wide enough to afford passage to an unusually slender
figure. He recognizes the fact that Zoë-Gradiva does not need to sink
into the ground here, an idea which is so senseless that he is now
ashamed of the discarded belief, but that she uses this route to go back
to her tomb. A faint shadow seems to him to dissolve at the end of the
Street of Tombs, before the so-called Villa of Diomede. Dizzy, as on the
previous day, and occupied with the same problem, he wanders now about
Pompeii, wondering of what physical nature Zoë-Gradiva may be and
whether one might feel anything if one touched her hand. A peculiar
impulse urges him to undertake this experiment, and yet an equally great
timidity in connection with the idea restrains him. On a hot, sunny
slope he meets an older man who, from his equipment, must be a zoologist
or a botanist, and seems to be busy catching things. The latter turns to
him and says: “Are you interested in _Faraglionensis_? I should hardly
have supposed it, but it seems thoroughly probable that they are found,
not only in the _Faraglioni_ of Capri, but also dwell permanently on the
mainland. The method suggested by my colleague, Eimer, is really good; I
have already used it often with the best of success. Please remain quite
still.” (_G._ p. 74.) The speaker stops talking then, and holds a little
snare, made of a long grass-blade, before a narrow crevice, from which
the blue, chatoyant, little head of a lizard peeps. Hanold leaves the
lizard-hunter with the critical thought that it is hardly credible what
foolishly remarkable purposes can cause people to make the long trip to
Pompeii, in which criticism he does not, of course, include himself and
his intention of seeking foot-prints of Gradiva in the ashes of Pompeii.
The gentleman’s face, moreover, seems familiar to him, as if he has
noticed it casually in one of the two hotels; the man’s manner of
addressing him has also sounded as if directed at an acquaintance. As he
continues his wandering, a side street leads him to a house not
previously discovered by him; this proves to be the “Albergo del Sole.”
The hotel-keeper, who is not busy, avails himself of the opportunity to
recommend highly his house and the excavated treasures in it. He asserts
that he was present when there were found near the Forum the young
lovers who, on realizing their inevitable destruction, had clasped each
other in firm embrace and thus awaited death. Hanold has already heard
of that before, and shrugged his shoulders over it, as a fabulous
invention of some especially imaginative narrator, but to-day the words
of the hotel-keeper awaken in him credulity, which soon stretches itself
more when the former brings forth a metal brooch encrusted with green
patina, which, in his presence, was gathered, with the remains of the
girl, from the ashes. He secures this brooch without further critical
consideration, and when, as he is leaving the hotel, he sees in an open
window, nodding down, a cluster of white asphodel blossoms, the sight of
the grave-flower thrills him as an attestation of the genuineness of his
new possession.

With this brooch, however, a new delusion takes possession of him or,
rather, the old one continues for a while, apparently not a good omen
for the treatment which has been started. Not far from the Forum a
couple of young lovers were excavated in an embrace, and in the dream he
saw Gradiva lie down to sleep in that very neighbourhood, at the Apollo
temple. Was it not possible that in reality she went still farther from
the Forum to meet there some one with whom she then died?

A tormenting feeling, which we can perhaps compare to jealousy,
originates from this supposition. He appeases it by referring to the
uncertainty of the combination, and so far regains his senses as to be
able to have his evening meal in “Hotel Diomed.” His attention is
attracted by two newly arrived guests, a man and a woman, whom, because
of a certain resemblance, he considers brother and sister—in spite of
the difference in the colour of their hair. They are the first people
whom he has encountered on this trip who seem possibly congenial. A red
Sorrento rose, which the young girl wears, awakes in him some memory—he
cannot recall what. Finally he goes to bed and dreams; it is remarkable
nonsense, but apparently concocted of the day’s experiences. “Somewhere
in the sun Gradiva sat making a trap out of a blade of grass, in order
to catch a lizard, and she said, ‘Please stay quite still—my colleague
is right; the method is really good, and she has used it with greatest
success!’” He resists the dream, even in his sleep, with the criticism
that it is, of course, utter madness, and he succeeds in getting rid of
it with the aid of an invisible bird, who utters a short, merry call and
carries the lizard away in his beak.

In spite of all this ghostly visitation, he awakes rather cleared and
settled mentally. A rose-bush, which bears flowers of the kind that he
noticed yesterday on the young lady, recalls to him that in the night
some one said that in the spring one gave roses. He plucks some of the
roses involuntarily, and there must be some association with these which
has a liberating effect upon his mind. Rid of his aversion to human
beings, he takes the customary road to Pompeii, laden with the roses,
the brooch and the sketch-book, and occupied by the different problems
relating to Gradiva. The old delusion has become full of flaws; he
already doubts if she is permitted to stay in Pompeii in the noon hour
only, and not at other times. Emphasis, on that account, is transferred
to the object recently acquired, and the jealousy connected with it
torments him in all sorts of disguises. He might almost wish that the
apparition should remain visible to only his eyes and escape the notice
of others; in that way, he might consider her his exclusive property.
During his ramble awaiting the noon hour he has a surprising encounter.
In the Casa del Fauno he happens upon two people who doubtless believe
themselves undiscoverable in a nook, for they are embracing each other
and their lips meet. With amazement he recognizes in them the congenial
couple of yesterday evening; but for brother and sister their present
position, the embrace and the kiss are of too long duration. So it is a
couple of lovers, probably a young bridal couple, another Augustus and
Gretchen. Strange to relate, the sight of this now arouses in him
nothing but pleasure, and fearful, as if he had disturbed a secret act
of devotion, he withdraws unobserved. A deference which has long been
lacking in him has been restored.

Arriving at Meleager’s house, he is afraid that he may find Gradiva in
the company of another man, and becomes so excited about it that he can
find no other greeting for her than the question: “Are you alone?” With
difficulty she makes him realize that he has picked the roses for her;
he confesses to her the latest delusion, that she is the girl who was
found in the Forum in her lover’s embrace and to whom the green brooch
had belonged. Not without mockery, she inquires if he found the piece in
the sun. The latter—here called “Sole”—brings to light many things of
that sort. As cure for the dizziness which he admits, she proposes to
him to share a lunch with her and offers him half of a piece of white
bread wrapped in tissue paper; the other half of this she consumes with
apparent appetite. Thereat her faultless teeth gleam between her lips
and, in biting the crust, cause a slight crunching sound. To her remark,
“It seems to me as if we had already eaten our bread thus together once
two thousand years ago. Can’t you remember it?” (_G._ p. 88.) he cannot
answer, but the strengthening of his mind by the nourishment, and all
the evidences of present time in her do not fail to have effect on him.
Reason stirs in him and makes him doubt the whole delusion that Gradiva
is only a noonday ghost; on the other hand, there is the objection that
she, herself, has just said that she had already shared her repast with
him two thousand years ago. As a means of settling this conflict there
occurs to him an experiment which he executes with slyness and restored
courage. Her left hand, with its slender fingers, is resting on her
knees, and one of the house-flies, about whose boldness and
worthlessness he formerly became so indignant, alights on this hand.
Suddenly Hanold’s hand rises and claps, with no gentle stroke, on the
fly and on Gradiva’s hand. This bold experiment affords him twofold
success: first the joyous conviction that he actually touched a really
living, warm hand, then, however, a reprimand, before which he starts up
in terror from his seat on the step. For from Gradiva’s lips come the
words, after she has recovered from her amazement, “You are surely
apparently crazy, Norbert Hanold.”

Calling a person by name is recognized as the best method of awakening
him, when he is sleeping, or of awakening a somnambulist. Unfortunately
we are not permitted to observe the results, for Norbert Hanold, of
Gradiva’s calling his name, which he had told to no one in Pompeii. For
at this critical moment, the congenial lovers appear from the Casa del
Fauno and the young lady calls, in a tone of pleasant surprise, “Zoë!
You here, too? and also on your honeymoon? You have not written me a
word about it, you know.” Before this new proof of the living reality of
Gradiva, Hanold flees.

Zoë-Gradiva, too, is not most pleasantly surprised by the unexpected
visit which disturbs her, it seems, in an important piece of work. Soon
composed, she answers the question with a glib speech, in which she
informs her friend, and especially us, about the situation; and thereby
she knows how to get rid of the young couple. She extends her
compliments, but she is not on her wedding-trip. “The young man who just
went out is labouring also under a remarkable delusion; it seems to me
that he believes a fly is buzzing in his head; well, every one has, of
course, some kind of bee in his bonnet. As is my duty, I have some
knowledge of entomology and can, therefore, be of a little service in
such cases. My father and I live in the ‘Sole’; he, too, had a sudden
and pleasing idea of bringing me here with him if I would be responsible
for my own entertainment and make no demands upon him. I said to myself
that I should certainly dig up something interesting alone here. Of
course I had not reckoned at all on the find which I made—I mean the
good fortune of meeting you, Gisa.” (_G._ p. 92.) Zoë now feels obliged
to leave at once, to be company for her father at the “Sole.” So she
goes, after she has introduced herself to us as the daughter of the
zoologist and lizard-catcher, and has admitted in ambiguous words her
therapeutic intentions and other secret ones. The direction which she
takes is not that of the “Sun Hotel,” in which her father is awaiting
her, but it seems to her, too, that in the region of the Villa of
Diomede a shadowy form is seeking its burial-place and disappears under
one of the monuments; therefore, with foot poised each time almost
perpendicularly, she directs her steps to the Street of Tombs. Thither,
in shame and confusion, Hanold has fled, and is wandering up and down in
the portico of the court without stopping, occupied with settling the
rest of his problem by mental efforts. One thing has become
unimpeachably clear to him; that he was utterly foolish and irrational
to believe that he communed with a young Pompeiian girl who had become
more or less physically alive again; and this clear insight into his
madness forms incontestably an essential bit of progress in the return
to sound reason. On the other hand, however, this living girl, with whom
other people also communicate, as with one of a corporeal reality like
theirs, is Gradiva, and she knows his name; for the solution of this
riddle his scarcely awakened reason is not strong enough. Emotionally,
also, he is not calm enough to be equal to so difficult a task, for he
would most gladly have been buried two thousand years ago in the Villa
of Diomede, only to be sure of never meeting Zoë-Gradiva again. A
violent longing to see her struggles meanwhile with the remnants of the
inclination to flee, which has persisted in him.

Turning at one of the four corners of the colonnade, he suddenly
recoils. On a fragmentary wall-ruin there sits one of the girls who met
death here in the Villa of Diomede; but that attempt to take refuge
again in the realm of madness is soon put aside; no, it is Gradiva, who
has apparently come to give him the last bit of her treatment. She
interprets rightly his first instinctive movement to flee, as an attempt
to leave the place, and points out to him that he cannot escape, for
outside a frightful cloudburst is in progress. The merciless girl begins
the examination with the question as to what he intended in connection
with the fly on her hand. He does not find courage to make use of a
definite pronoun, but acquires the more valuable kind needed to put the
deciding question.

“I was—as they say—somewhat confused mentally and ask pardon that
I—the hand—in that way—how I could be so stupid, I can’t
understand—but I can’t understand either how its owner could use my
name in upbraiding me for my—my madness.” (_G._ p. 98.)

“Your power of understanding has not yet progressed that far, Norbert
Hanold. Of course, I cannot be surprised, for you have long ago
accustomed me to it. To make that discovery again, I should not have
needed to come to Pompeii, and you could have confirmed it for me a good
hundred miles nearer.”

“A good hundred miles nearer; diagonally across from your house, in the
corner house; in my window, in a cage, is a canary,” she discloses to
the still bewildered man.

This last word touches the hero like a memory from afar. That is surely
the same bird whose song has suggested to him the trip to Italy.

“In that house lives my father, Richard Bertgang, professor of zoology.”

As his neighbour, therefore, she is acquainted with him and his name. It
seems as if the disappointment of a superficial solution is threatening
us—a solution unworthy of our expectations.

As yet Norbert Hanold shows no regained independence of thought, when he
repeats, “Then are you—are you Miss Zoë Bertgang? But she looked quite

Miss Bertgang’s answer shows then that other relations besides those of
neighbourliness have existed between them. She knows how to intercede
for the familiar manner of address, which he has, of course, used to the
noonday spirit, but withdrawn again from the living girl; she makes
former privileges of use to her here. “If you find that form of address
more suitable between us, I can use it too, you know, but the other came
to me more naturally. I don’t know whether I looked different when we
used to run about before with each other as friends, every day, and
occasionally beat and cuffed each other for a change, but if, in recent
years, you had favoured me with even one glance you might perhaps have
seen that I have looked like this for a long time.”

A childhood friendship had therefore existed between the two, perhaps a
childhood love, from which the familiar form of address derived its
justification. Isn’t this solution perhaps as superficial as the one
first supposed? The fact that it occurs to us that this childhood
relation explains in an unexpected way so many details of what has
occurred in the present intercourse between them makes the matter
essentially deeper. Does it not seem that the blow on Zoë-Gradiva’s hand
which Norbert Hanold has so splendidly motivated by the necessity of
solving, experimentally, the question of the physical existence of the
apparition, is, from another standpoint, remarkably similar to a revival
of the impulse for “beating and cuffing,” whose sway in childhood Zoë’s
words have testified to? And when Gradiva puts to the archæologist the
question whether it does not seem to him that they have once already,
two thousand years ago, shared their luncheon, does not the
incomprehensible question become suddenly senseful, when we substitute
for the historical past the personal childhood, whose memories persist
vividly for the girl, but seem to be forgotten by the young man? Does
not the idea suddenly dawn upon us that the fancies of the young man
about his Gradiva may be an echo of his childhood memories? Then they
would, therefore, be no arbitrary products of his imagination, but
determined, without his knowing it, by the existing material of
childhood impressions already forgotten, but still active in him. We
must be able to point out in detail the origin of these fancies, even if
only by conjecture. If, for instance, Gradiva must be of pure Greek
ancestry, the daughter of a respected man, perhaps of a priest of Ceres,
that predisposes us fairly well for an after-effect of the knowledge of
her Greek name—Zoë, and of her membership in the family of a professor
of zoology. If, however, these fancies of Hanold’s are transformed
memories, we may expect to find in the disclosures of Zoë Bertgang, the
suggestion of the sources of these fancies. Let us listen; she tells us
of an intimate friendship of childhood; we shall soon learn what further
development this childhood relation had in both.

“Then up to the time when people call us ‘Backfisch,’ for some unknown
reason, I had really acquired a remarkable attachment for you, and
thought that I could never find a more pleasing friend in the world.
Mother, sister, or brother I had not, you know; to my father a slow-worm
in alcohol was far more interesting than I, and people (I count girls
such) must surely have something with which they can occupy their
thoughts and the like. Then you were that something, but when archæology
overcame you, I made the discovery that you—excuse the familiarity, but
your new formality sounds absurd to me—I was saying that I imagined
that you had become an intolerable person, who had no longer, at least
for me, an eye in his head, a tongue in his mouth, nor any of the
memories that I retained of our childhood friendship. So I probably
looked different from what I did formerly, for when, occasionally, I met
you at a party, even last winter, you did not look at me and I did not
hear your voice; in this, of course, there was nothing that marked me
out especially, for you treated all the others in the same way. To you I
was but air, and you, with your shock of light hair, which I had
formerly pulled so often, were as boresome, dry and tongue-tied as a
stuffed cockatoo and at the same time as grandiose as an—archæopteryx;
I believe the excavated antediluvian bird-monster is so called; but that
your head harboured an imagination so magnificent as here in Pompeii to
consider me as something excavated and restored to life—I had not
surmised that of you, and when you suddenly stood before me
unexpectedly, it cost me some effort at first to understand what kind of
incredible fancy your imagination had invented. Then I was amused and,
in spite of its madness, it was not entirely displeasing to me. For, as
I said, I had not expected it of you.” (_G._ p. 101.)

So she thus tells us clearly enough what, with the years, has become of
the childhood friendship for both of them. With her it expanded into an
intense love affair, for one must have something, you know, to which
one, that is, a girl, pins her affections. Miss Zoë, the incarnation of
cleverness and clarity, makes her psychic life, too, quite transparent
for us. If it is already the general rule for a normal girl that she
first turns her affection to her father, she is especially ready to do
it, she who has no one but her father in her family; but this father has
nothing left for her; the objects of science have captured all his
interest. So she has to look around for another person, and clings with
especial fervour to the playmate of her youth. When he, too, no longer
has any eyes for her, it does not destroy her love, rather augments it,
for he has become like her father, like him absorbed by science and, by
it, isolated from life and from Zoë. So it is granted to her to be
faithful in unfaithfulness, to find her father again in her beloved, to
embrace both with the same feeling as we may say, to make them both
identical in her emotions. Where do we get justification for this little
psychological analysis, which may easily seem autocratic? In a single,
but intensely characteristic detail the author of the romance gives it
to us. When Zoë pictures for us the transformation of the playmate of
her youth, which seems so sad for her, she insults him by a comparison
with the archæopteryx, that bird-monster which belongs to the archæology
of zoology. So she has found a single concrete expression for
identifying the two people; her resentment strikes the beloved as well
as the father with the same word. The archæopteryx is, so to speak, the
compromise, or intermediary representation in which the folly of her
beloved coincides with her thought of an analogous folly of her father.

With the young man, things have taken a different turn. The science of
antiquity overcame him and left to him interest only in the women of
bronze and stone. The childhood friendship died, instead of developing
into a passion, and the memories of it passed into such absolute
forgetfulness that he does not recognize nor pay any attention to the
friend of his youth, when he meets her in society. Of course, when we
continue our observations, we may doubt if “forgetfulness” is the right
psychological term for the fate of these memories of our archæologist.
There is a kind of forgetting which distinguishes itself by the
difficulty with which the memory is awakened, even by strong objective
appeals, as if a subjective resistance struggled against the revival.
Such forgetting has received the name “repression” in psychopathology;
the case which Jensen has presented to us seems to be an example of
repression. Now we do not know, in general, whether, in psychic life,
forgetting an impression is connected with the destruction of its
memory-trace; about repression we can assert with certainty that it does
not coincide with the destruction, the obliteration, of the memory. The
repressed material cannot, as a rule, break through, of itself, as a
memory, but remains potent and effective. Some day, under external
influence, it causes psychic results which one may accept as products of
transformation or as remnants of forgotten memories; and if one does not
view them as such, they remain incomprehensible. In the fancies of
Norbert Hanold about Gradiva, we thought we recognized already the
remnants of the repressed memories of his childhood friendship with Zoë
Bertgang. Quite legitimately one may expect such a recurrence of the
repressed material, if the man’s erotic feelings cling to the repressed
ideas, if his erotic life has been involved in the repression. Then
there is truth in the old Latin proverb which was perhaps originally
aimed at expulsion through external influences, not at inner conflict:
“You may drive out natural disposition with a two-pronged fork, but it
will always return,” but it does not tell all, announces only the fact
of the recurrence of repressed material, and does not describe at all
the most remarkable manner of this recurrence, which is accomplished as
if by malicious treason; the very thing which has been chosen as a means
of repression—like the “two-pronged fork” of the proverb—becomes the
carrier of the thing recurring; in and behind the agencies of repression
the material repressed finally asserts itself victoriously. A well-known
etching by Félicien Rops illustrates this fact, which is generally
overlooked and lacks acceptance, more impressively than many
explanations could; and he does it in the typical case of the repression
in the lives of saints and penitents. From the temptations of the world,
an ascetic monk has sought refuge in the image of the crucified Saviour.
Then, phantom-like, this cross sinks and, in its stead, there rises
shining, the image of a voluptuous, unclad woman, in the same position
of the crucifixion. Other painters of less psychological insight have,
in such representations of temptation, depicted sin as bold and
triumphant, near the Saviour on the cross. Rops, alone, has allowed it
to take the place of the Saviour on the cross; he seems to have known
that the thing repressed proceeds, at its recurrence, from the agency of
repression itself.

If Norbert Hanold were a living person, who had, by means of archæology,
driven love and the memory of his childhood friendship out of his life,
it would now be legitimate and correct that an antique relief should
awaken in him the forgotten memory of the girl beloved in his childhood;
it would be his well-deserved fate to have fallen in love with the stone
representation of Gradiva, behind which, by virtue of an unexplained
resemblance, the living and neglected Zoë becomes effective.

Miss Zoë, herself, seems to share our conception of the delusion of the
young archæologist, for the pleasure which she expresses at the end of
her “unreserved, detailed and instructive lecture” is hardly based on
anything other than her readiness to refer his entire interest in
Gradiva to her person. This is exactly what she does not believe him
capable of, and what, in spite of all the disguises of the delusion, she
recognizes as such. Her psychic treatment of him has a beneficent
effect; he feels himself free, as the delusion is now replaced by that
of which it can be only a distorted and unsatisfactory copy. He
immediately remembers and recognizes her as his good, cheerful, clever
comrade who has not changed essentially; but he finds something else
most strange—

“That a person must die to become alive again,” says the girl, “but for
archæologists that is of course necessary.” (_G._ p. 102.) She has
apparently not yet pardoned him for the détour which he made from the
childhood friendship through the science of antiquity to this relation
which has recently been established.

“No, I mean your name—Because Bertgang has the same meaning as Gradiva
and signifies ‘the one splendid in walking.’” (_G._ p. 102.)

Even we are not prepared for that. Our hero begins to rise from his
humility and to play an active rôle. He is, apparently, entirely cured
of his delusion, lifted far above it, and proves this by tearing asunder
the last threads of the web of delusion. Patients, also, who have been
freed from the compulsion of their delusion, by the disclosure of the
repression behind it, always act in just that way. When they have once
understood, they themselves offer the solutions for the last and most
significant riddles of their strange condition in suddenly emerging
ideas. We had already believed, of course, that the Greek ancestry of
the mythical Gradiva was an after-effect of the Greek name, Zoë, but
with the name, Gradiva, we had ventured nothing; we had supposed it the
free creation of Norbert Hanold’s imagination, and behold! this very
name now shows itself to be a remnant, really a translation of the
repressed family-name of the supposedly forgotten beloved of his youth.

The derivation and solution of the delusion are now completed. What
follows may well serve as a harmonious conclusion of the tale. In regard
to the future, it can have only a pleasant effect on us, if the
rehabilitation of the man, who formerly had to play the lamentable rôle
of one needing to be cured, progresses, and he succeeds in awakening in
the girl some of the emotions which he formerly experienced. Thus it
happens that he makes her jealous by mentioning the congenial young
lady, who disturbed them in Meleager’s house, and by the acknowledgment
that the latter was the first girl who had impressed him much. When Zoë
is then about to take a cool departure, with the remark that now
everything is reasonable again, she herself not least of all, that he
might look up Gisa Hartleben, or whatever her name might now be, and be
of scientific assistance to her about the purpose of her stay in
Pompeii, but she has to go now to the “Albergo del Sole” where her
father is already waiting for her at lunch, perhaps they may see each
other again some time at a party in Germany or on the moon, he seizes
upon the troublesome fly as a means of taking possession of her cheek,
first, and then of her lips, and assumes the aggressive, which is the
duty of a man in the game of love. Only once more does a shadow seem to
fall on their happiness, when Zoë reminds him that now she must really
go to her father, who will otherwise starve in the “Sole.” “Your
father—what will he——?” (_G._ p. 106.)

But the clever girl knows how to silence the apprehension quickly.
“Probably he will do nothing; I am not an indispensable piece in his
zoological collection; if I were, my heart would probably not have clung
to you so unwisely.” Should the father, however, by way of exception, in
this case, have an opinion different from hers, there is a sure method.
Hanold needs only to go over to Capri, there catch a _lacerta
faraglionensis_, for which purpose he may practise the technique on her
little finger, then set the animal free again here, catch it before the
eyes of the zoologist and give him the choice of the _faraglionensis_ on
the mainland or his daughter, a proposal in which mockery, as one may
easily note, is combined with bitterness, an admonition to the
betrothed, also, not to follow too closely the model after which his
beloved has chosen him. Norbert Hanold sets us at rest on this matter,
as he expresses, by all sorts of apparently trivial symptoms, the great
transformation which has come over him. He voices the intention of
taking a wedding trip with his Zoë to Italy and Pompeii, as if he had
never been indignant at the newly married travellers, Augustus and
Gretchen. His feelings towards this happy couple, who so unnecessarily
travelled more than one hundred miles from their German home, have
entirely disappeared from his memory. Certainly the author is right when
he cites such weakening of memory as the most valuable mark of a mental
change. Zoë replies to the announced desire about the destination of
their journey, “_by her childhood friend who had, in a way, also been
excavated from the ashes_,” (_G._ p. 108), that she does not yet feel
quite alive enough for such geographical decision.

Beautiful reality has now triumphed over the delusion. Yet an honour
still awaits the latter before the two leave Pompeii. When they have
arrived at the Hercules Gate, where, at the beginning of the Strada
Consolare, old stepping-stones cross the street, Norbert Hanold stops
and asks the girl to go ahead. She understands him and, “raising her
dress slightly with her left hand, Gradiva _rediviva_ Zoë Bertgang,
viewed by him with dreamily observing eyes, crossed with her calmly
buoyant walk, through the sunlight, over the stepping-stones.” With the
triumph of eroticism, what was beautiful and valuable in the delusion is
now acknowledged.

With the last comparison of “the childhood friend excavated from the
ashes,” the author of the story has, however, put into our hand the key
of the symbolism which the delusion of the hero made use of in the
disguise of the repressed memory. There is no better analogy for
repression, which at the same time makes inaccessible and conserves
something psychic, than the burial which was the fate of Pompeii, and
from which the city was able to arise again through work with the spade.
Therefore in his imagination the young archæologist had to transport to
Pompeii the original figure of the relief which reminded him of the
forgotten beloved of his youth. Jensen, however, had a good right to
linger over the significant resemblance which his fine sense traced out
between a bit of psychic occurrence in the individual and a single
historical event in the history of man.


It was really our intention to investigate with the aid of definite
analytic method only the two or three dreams which are found in the tale
_Gradiva_; how did it happen then that we allowed ourselves to be
carried away with the analysis of the whole story and the examination of
the psychic processes of the two chief characters? Well, that was no
superfluous work, but a necessary preparation. Even when we wish to
understand the real dreams of an actual person, we must concern
ourselves intensively with the character and the fortunes of this
person, not only the experiences shortly before the dream, but also
those of the remote past. I think, however, that we are not yet free to
turn to our real task, but must still linger over the piece of fiction
itself, and perform more preparatory work.

Our readers will, of course, have noticed with surprise that till now we
have considered Norbert Hanold and Zoë Bertgang in all their psychic
expressions and activities, as if they were real individuals and not
creatures of an author, as if the mind of their creator were absolutely
transparent, not a refractory and cloudy medium; and our procedure must
seem all the more surprising when the author of _Gradiva_ expressly
disavows the portrayal of reality by calling his tale a “Fancy.” We
find, however, that all his pictures copy reality so faithfully that we
should not contradict if _Gradiva_ were called not a “Fancy,” but a
study in psychiatry. Only in two points has Wilhelm Jensen made use of
his license, to create suppositions which do not seem to have roots in
the earth of actual law: first, when he has the young archæologist find
a genuinely antique bas-relief which, not only in the detail of the
position of the foot in walking, but in all details, the shape of the
face, and the bearing, copies a person living much later, so that he can
consider the physical manifestation of this person to be the cast
endowed with life; second, when the hero is caused to meet the living
girl in Pompeii, whither his fancy has transported the dead girl, while
he separates himself, by the journey to Pompeii, from the living girl,
whom he has noticed on the street of his home city; this second instance
is no tremendous deviation from the possibilities of life; it asks aid
only of chance, which undeniably plays a part in so many human fates,
and, moreover, makes it reasonable, for this chance reflects again the
destiny which has decreed that through flight one is delivered over to
the very thing that one is fleeing from. More fantastic, and originating
solely in the author’s arbitrariness, seems the first supposition which
brings in its train the detailed resemblance of the cast to the living
girl, where moderation might have limited the conformity to the one
trait of the position of the foot in walking. One might then have tried
to let one’s own imagination play in order to establish connection with
reality. The name Bertgang might point to the fact that the women of
that family had been distinguished, even in ancient times, by the
characteristic of a beautiful gait, and by heredity the German Bertgang
was connected with those Romans, a woman of whose family had caused the
ancient artist to fix in a bas-relief the peculiarity of her walk. As
the individual variations of human structure are, however, not
independent of one another, and as the ancient types, which we come upon
in the collections, are actually always emerging again in our midst, it
would not be entirely impossible that a modern Bertgang should repeat
again the form of her ancient forbear, even in all the other traits of
her physique. Inquiry of the author of the story for the sources of this
creation might well be wiser than such speculation; a good prospect of
solving again a bit of supposed arbitrariness would probably then
appear. As, however, we have not access to the psychic life of the
author, we leave to him the undiminished right of building up a
thoroughly valid development on an improbable supposition, a right which
Shakespeare, for example, has asserted in _King Lear_.

Otherwise, we wish to repeat, Wilhelm Jensen has given us an absolutely
correct study in psychiatry, in which we may measure our understanding
of psychic life, a story of illness and cure adapted to the inculcation
of certain fundamental teachings of medical psychology. Strange enough
that he should have done this! What if, in reply to questioning, he
should deny this intention? It is so easy to draw comparisons and to put
constructions on things. Are we not rather the ones who have woven
secret meanings, which were foreign to him, into the beautiful poetic
tale? Possibly; we shall come back to that later. As a preliminary,
however, we have tried to refrain from interpretations with that
tendency, by reproducing the story, in almost every case, from the very
words of the writer; and we have had him furnish text as well as
commentary, himself. Any one who will compare our text with that of
_Gradiva_ will have to grant this.

Perhaps in the judgment of the majority we are doing a poor service for
him when we declare his work a study in psychiatry. An author is to
avoid all contact with psychiatry, we are told, and leave to physicians
the portrayal of morbid psychic conditions. In reality no true author
has ever heeded this commandment. The portrayal of the psychic life of
human beings is, of course, his most especial domain; he was always the
precursor of science and of scientific psychology. The borderline
between normal and morbid psychic conditions is, in a way, a
conventional one, and, in another way, in such a state of flux that
probably every one of us oversteps it many times in the course of a day.
On the other hand, psychiatry would do wrong to wish to limit itself
continually to the study of those serious and cloudy illnesses which
arise from rude disturbances of the delicate psychic apparatus. It has
no less interest in the lesser and adjustable deviations from the normal
which we cannot yet trace back farther than disturbances in the play of
psychic forces; indeed, it is by means of these that it can understand
normal conditions, as well as the manifestations of serious illness.
Thus the author cannot yield to the psychiatrist nor the psychiatrist to
the author, and the poetic treatment of a theme from psychiatry may
result correctly without damage to beauty.

The imaginative representation of the story of illness and its
treatment, which we can survey better after finishing the story and
relieving our own suspense, is really correct. Now we wish to reproduce
it with the technical expressions of our science, in doing which it will
not be necessary to repeat what has already been related.

Norbert Hanold’s condition is called a “delusion” often enough by the
author of the story, and we also have no reason to reject this
designation. We can mention two chief characteristics of “delusion,” by
which it is not, of course, exhaustively described, but is admittedly
differentiated from other disturbances. It belongs first to that group
of illnesses which do not directly affect the physical, but express
themselves only by psychic signs, and it is distinguished secondly by
the fact that “fancies” have assumed control, that is, are believed and
have acquired influence on actions. If we recall the journey to Pompeii
to seek in the ashes the peculiarly-formed foot-prints of Gradiva, we
have in it a splendid example of an act under the sway of the delusion.
The psychiatrist would perhaps assign Norbert Hanold’s delusion to the
great group of paranoia and designate it as a “fetichistic erotomania,”
because falling in love with the bas-relief would be the most striking
thing to him and because, to his conception, which coarsens everything,
the interest of the young archæologist in the feet and foot-position of
women must seem suspiciously like fetichism. All such names and
divisions of the different kinds of delusion are, however, substantially
useless and awkward.[2]

The old-school psychiatrist would, moreover, stamp our hero as a
dégénéré, because he is a person capable, on account of such strange
predilections, of developing a delusion, and would investigate the
heredity which has unrelentingly driven him to such a fate. In this,
however, Jensen does not follow him; with good reason, he brings us
nearer to the hero to facilitate for us æsthetic sympathy with him; with
the diagnosis “dégénéré,” whether or not it may be justifiable to us
scientifically, the young archæologist is at once moved farther from us,
for we, readers, are, of course, normal people and the measure of
humanity. The essential facts of heredity and constitution in connection
with this condition also concern the author of _Gradiva_ little;
instead, he is engrossed in the personal, psychic state which can give
rise to such a delusion.

In an important point, Norbert Hanold acts quite differently from
ordinary people. He has no interest in the living woman; science, which
he serves, has taken this interest from him and transferred it to women
of stone or bronze. Let us not consider this an unimportant peculiarity;
it is really the basis of the story, for one day it happens that a
single such bas-relief claims for itself all the interest which would
otherwise belong only to the living woman, and thereby originates the
delusion. Before our eyes there is then unfolded the story of how this
delusion is cured by a fortunate set of circumstances, the interest
transferred back again from the cast to the living girl. The author of
the story does not allow us to trace the influences because of which our
hero begins to avoid women; he only suggests to us that such conduct is
not explained by his predisposition which is invested with a rather
fanciful—we might add, erotic—need. We learn later also that in his
childhood he did not avoid other children; he was then friendly with the
little girl, was inseparable from her, shared with her his lunches,
cuffed her, and was pulled around by her. In such attachment, such a
combination of tenderness and aggression, is expressed the incomplete
eroticism of child life, which expresses its activities first spitefully
and then irresistibly and which, during childhood, only physicians and
writers usually recognize as eroticism. Our author gives us to
understand clearly that he has those intentions, for he suddenly causes
to awaken in his hero, with suitable motive, a lively interest in the
gait and foot-position of women, an interest which, in science, as well
as among the ladies of his home-city, must bring him into disrepute as a
foot-fetichist, and is to us, however, necessarily derived from the
memory of his childhood playmate. The girl, to be sure, was
characterized, as a child, by the beautiful walk with her foot almost
perpendicular as she stepped out, and through the portrayal of this very
gait an antique bas-relief later acquired for Norbert Hanold great
significance. Let us add, moreover, immediately, that the author of
_Gradiva_ stands in complete agreement with science in regard to the
derivation of the remarkable manifestation of fetichism. Since the
investigations by Binet we really try to trace fetichism back to erotic
impressions of childhood.

The condition of continued avoidance of women gives the personal
qualification, as we say, the disposition for the formation of a
delusion; the development of psychic disturbance begins at the moment
when a chance impression awakens the forgotten childhood experiences
which are emphasized in an erotic way that is at least traceable.
Awakened is really not the right term, however, when we consider the
further results. We must reproduce our author’s correct representation
in a mode of expression artistically correct, and psychological. On
seeing the relief Norbert Hanold does not remember that he has seen such
a foot-position in the friend of his youth; he certainly does not
remember and yet every effect of the relief proceeds from such
connection with the impression of his childhood. The
childhood-impression, stirred, becomes active, so that it begins to show
activity, though it does not appear in consciousness, but remains
“unconscious,” a term which we now use unavoidably in psychopathology.
This term “unconscious” we should now like to see withdrawn from all the
conflicts of philosophers and natural philosophers, which have only
etymological significance. For psychic processes which are active and
yet at the same time do not come through into the consciousness of the
person referred to, we have at present no better name and we mean
nothing else by “unconsciousness.” If many thinkers wish to dispute as
unreasonable the existence of such an unconscious, we think they have
never busied themselves with analogous psychic phenomena, and are under
the spell of the common idea that everything psychic which is active and
intensive becomes, thereby, at the same time, conscious, and they have
still to learn what our author knows very well, that there are, of
course, psychic processes, which, in spite of the fact that they are
intensive and show energetic activities, remain far removed from

We said once that the memories of the childhood relations with Zoë are
in a state of “repression” with Norbert Hanold; and we have called them
“unconscious memories.” Here we must, of course, turn our attention to
the relation between the two technical terms which seem to coincide in
meaning. It is not hard to clear this up. “Unconscious” is the broader
term, “repressed” the narrower. Everything that is repressed is
unconscious; but we cannot assert that everything unconscious is
repressed. If Hanold, at the sight of the relief, had remembered his
Zoë’s manner of walking, then a formerly unconscious memory would have
become immediately active and conscious, and thus would have shown that
it was not formerly repressed. “Unconscious” is a purely descriptive
term, in many respects indefinite and, so to speak, static; “repressed”
is a dynamic expression which takes into consideration the play of
psychic forces and the fact that there is present an effort to express
all psychic activities, among them that of becoming conscious again, but
also a counterforce, a resistance, which might hinder a part of these
psychic activities, among these, also, getting into consciousness. The
mark of the repressed material is that, in spite of its intensity, it
cannot break through into consciousness. In Hanold’s case, therefore, it
was a matter, at the appearance of the bas-relief on his horizon, of a
repressed unconscious, in short of a repression.

The memories of his childhood association with the girl who walks
beautifully are repressed in Norbert Hanold, but this is not yet the
correct view of the psychological situation. We remain on the surface so
long as we treat only of memories and ideas. The only valuable things in
psychic life are, rather, the emotions. All psychic powers are
significant only through their fitness to awaken emotions. Ideas are
repressed only because they are connected with liberations of emotions,
which are not to come to light; it would be more correct to say that
repression deals with the emotions, but these are comprehensible to us
only in connection with ideas. Thus, in Norbert Hanold, the erotic
feelings are repressed, and, as his eroticism neither knows nor has
known another object than Zoë Bertgang of his youth, the memories of her
are forgotten. The antique bas-relief awakens the slumbering eroticism
in him and makes the childhood memories active. On account of a
resistance in him to the eroticism, these memories can become active
only as unconscious. What now happens in him is a struggle between the
power of eroticism and the forces that are repressing it; the result of
this struggle is a delusion.

Our author has omitted to give the motive whence originates the
repression of the erotic life in his hero; the latter’s interest in
science is, of course, only the means of which the repression makes use;
the physician would have to probe deeper here, perhaps in this case
without finding the foundation. Probably, however, the author of
_Gradiva_, as we have admiringly emphasized, has not hesitated to
represent to us how the awakening of the repressed eroticism results
from the very sphere of the means which are serving the repression. It
is rightly an antique, the bas-relief of a woman, through which our
archæologist is snatched and admonished out of his alienation from love
to pay the debt with which we are charged by our birth.

The first manifestations of the process now stimulated by the bas-relief
are fancies which play with the person represented by it. The model
appears to him to be something “of the present,” in the best sense, as
if the artist had fixed the girl walking on the street from life. The
name, Gradiva, which he forms from the epithet of the war-god advancing
to battle, Mars Gradivus, he lends to the ancient girl; with more and
more definitions he endows her with a personality. She may be the
daughter of an esteemed man, perhaps of a patrician, who is associated
with the temple service of a divinity; he believes that he reads Greek
ancestry in her features, and finally this forces him to transport her
far from the confusion of a metropolis to more peaceful Pompeii, where
he has her walking over the lava stepping-stones which make possible the
crossing of the street. These feats of fancy seem arbitrary enough and
yet again harmlessly unsuspicious. Even when from them is produced, for
the first time, the impulse to act, when the archæologist, oppressed by
the problem whether such foot-position corresponds to reality, begins
observations from life, in looking at the feet of contemporary women and
girls, this act covers itself by conscious, scientific motives, as if
all the interest in the bas-relief of Gradiva had originated in his
professional interest in archæology. The women and girls on the street,
whom he uses as objects for his investigation, must, of course, assume a
different, coarsely erotic conception of his conduct, and we must admit
that they are right. For us, there is no doubt that Hanold knows as
little about his motives as about the origin of his fancies concerning
Gradiva. These latter are, as we shall learn later, echoes of his
memories of the beloved of his youth, remnants of these memories,
transformations and disfigurements of them, after they have failed to
push into consciousness in unchanged form. The so-called æsthetic
judgment that the relief represents “something of the present” is
substituted for the knowledge that such a gait belongs to a girl known
to him and crossing streets _in the present_; behind the impression
“from life” and the fancy about her Greek traits, is hidden the memory
of her name, Zoë, which, in Greek, means _life_; Gradiva is, as the man
finally cured of the delusion tells us, a good translation of her
family-name, Bertgang, which means _splendid or magnificent in walking_;
the decisions about her father arise from the knowledge that Zoë
Bertgang is the daughter of an esteemed university instructor, which is
probably translated into the antique as temple service. Finally his
imagination transports her to Pompeii not “because her calm, quiet
manner seems to require it,” but because, in his science, there is found
no other nor better analogy to the remarkable condition in which he has
traced out, by vague reconnoitring, his memories of his childhood
friendship. If he once covered up what was so close to him, his own
childhood, with the classic past, then the burial of Pompeii, this
disappearance, with the preservation of the past, offers a striking
resemblance to the _repression_ of which he has knowledge by means of
so-called “endopsychic” perceptions. The same symbolism, therefore,
which the author has the girl use consciously at the end of the tale, is
working in him.

“I said to myself that I should certainly dig up something interesting
alone here. Of course, I had not reckoned at all on the find which I
made.” (_G._ p. 92.) At the end (_G._ p. 108), the girl answers to the
announced desire about the destination of their journey, “by her
childhood friend who had, in a way, also been excavated from the ashes.”

Thus we find at the very beginning of the performances of Hanold’s
fancies and actions, a twofold determination, a derivation from two
different sources. One determination is the one which appears to Hanold,
himself; the other, the one which discloses itself to us upon
re-examination of his psychic processes. One, the conscious one, is
related to the person of Hanold; the other is the one entirely
unconscious to him. One originates entirely from the series of
associations connected with archæological science; the other, however,
proceeds from the repressed memories which have become active in him,
and the emotional impulses attached to them. The one seems superficial,
and covers up the other, which masks itself behind the former. One might
say that the scientific motivation serves the unconscious eroticism as
cloak, and that science has placed itself completely at the service of
the delusion, but one may not forget, either, that the unconscious
determination can effect nothing but what is at the time satisfactory to
the scientific conscious. The symptoms of delusion—fancies as well as
acts—are results of a compromise between two psychic streams, and in a
compromise the demands of each of the two parties are considered; each
party has been obliged to forego something that he wished to carry out.
Where a compromise has been established, there was a struggle, here the
conflict assumed by us between the suppressed eroticism and the forces
which keep it alive in the repression. In the formation of a delusion
this struggle is never ended.

Attack and resistance are renewed after every compromise-formation,
which is, so to speak, never fully satisfactory. This our author also
knows and therefore he causes a feeling of discontent, a peculiar
restlessness, to dominate his hero in this phase of the disturbance, as
preliminary to and guarantee of further developments.

These significant peculiarities of the twofold determination for fancies
and decisions, of the formation of conscious pretexts for actions, for
the motivation of which the repressed has given the greater
contribution, will, in the further progress of the story, occur to us
oftener, and perhaps more clearly; and this rightfully, for in this
Jensen has grasped and represented the never-failing, chief
characteristic of the morbid psychic processes. The development of
Norbert Hanold’s delusion progresses in a dream, which, caused by no new
event, seems to proceed entirely from his psychic life, which is
occupied by a conflict. Yet let us stop before we proceed to test
whether the author of _Gradiva_, in the formation of his dreams, meets
our expectation of a deeper understanding. Let us first ask what
psychiatry has to say about his ideas of the origin of a delusion, how
it stands on the matter of the rôle of repression and the unconscious,
of conflict and compromise-formation. Briefly, can our author’s
representation of the genesis of a delusion stand before the judgment of

And here we must give the perhaps unexpected answer that, unfortunately,
matters are here actually just reversed; science does not stand before
the accomplishment of our author. Between the essential facts of
heredity and constitution, and the seemingly complete creations of
delusion, there yawns a breach which we find filled up by the writer of
_Gradiva_. Science does not yet recognize the significance of repression
nor the fact that it needs the unconscious for explanation to the world
of psychopathological phenomena; it does not seek the basis of delusion
in psychic conflict, and does not regard its symptoms as a
compromise-formation. Then our author stands alone against all science?
No, not that—if the present writer may reckon his own works as science.
For he, himself, has for some years interceded—and until recently
almost alone[3]—for the views which he finds here in _Gradiva_ by W.
Jensen, and he has presented them in technical terms. He has pointed out
exhaustively, for the conditions known as hysteria and obsession, the
suppression of impulses and the repression of the ideas, through which
the suppressed impulse is represented, as a characteristic condition of
psychic disturbance, and he has repeated the same view soon afterwards
for many kinds of delusion.[4] Whether the impulses which are, for this
reason, considered are always components of the sex-impulse, or might be
of a different nature, is a problem of indifference in the analysis of
_Gradiva_, as, in the case chosen by the author, it is a matter only of
the suppression of the erotic feeling. The views concerning psychic
conflict, and the formation of symptoms by compromises between the two
psychic forces which are struggling with each other, the present writer
has found valid in cases professionally treated and actually observed,
in exactly the same way that he was able to observe it in Norbert
Hanold, the invention of our author.[5] The tracing back of neurotic,
especially of hysterically morbid activities to the influence of
unconscious thoughts, P. Janet, the pupil of the great Charcot, had
undertaken before the present writer, and in conjunction with Josef
Breuer in Vienna.[6]

It had actually occurred to the present writer, when, in the years
following 1893, he devoted himself to investigations of the origin of
psychic disturbances, to seek confirmation of his results from authors,
and therefore it was no slight surprise to him to learn that in
_Gradiva_, published in 1903, an author gave to his creation the very
foundation which the former supposed that he, himself, was finding
authority for, as new, from his experiences as a physician. How did the
author come upon the same knowledge as the physician, at least upon a
procedure which would suggest that he possessed it?

Norbert Hanold’s delusion, we said, acquires further development through
a dream, which he has in the midst of his efforts to authenticate a gait
like Gradiva’s in the streets of his home-city. The content of this
dream we can outline briefly. The dreamer is in Pompeii on that day
which brought destruction to the unfortunate city, experiences the
horrors without himself getting into danger, suddenly sees Gradiva
walking there and immediately understands, as quite natural, that, as
she is, of course, a Pompeiian, she is living in her native city and
“without his having any suspicion of it, was his contemporary.” He is
seized with fear for her, calls to her, whereupon she turns her face
toward him momentarily. Yet she walks on without heeding him at all,
lies down on the steps of the Apollo temple, and is buried by the rain
of ashes, after her face has changed colour as if it were turning to
white marble, until it completely resembles a bas-relief. On awakening,
he interprets the noise of the metropolis, which reaches his ear, as the
cries for help of the desperate inhabitants of Pompeii and the booming
of the turbulent sea. The feeling that what he has dreamed has really
happened to him persists for some time after his awakening, and the
conviction that Gradiva lived in Pompeii and died on that fatal day
remains from this dream as a new, supplementary fact for his delusion.

It is less easy for us to say what the author of _Gradiva_ intended by
this dream, and what caused him to connect the development of this
delusion directly with a dream. Assiduous investigation of dreams has,
to be sure, gathered enough examples of the fact that mental disturbance
is connected with and proceeds from dreams,[7] and even in the
life-history of certain eminent men, impulses for important deeds and
decisions are said to have been engendered by dreams; but our
comprehension does not gain much by these analogies; let us hold,
therefore, to our case, the case of the archæologist, Norbert Hanold, a
fiction of our author. At which end must one lay hold of such a dream to
introduce meaning into it, if it is not to remain an unnecessary
adornment of fiction? I can imagine that the reader exclaims at this
place: “The dream is, of course, easy to explain—a simple
anxiety-dream, caused by the noise of the metropolis, which is given the
new interpretation of the destruction of Pompeii, by the archæologist
busied with his Pompeiian girl!” On account of the commonly prevailing
disregard of the activities of dreams, one usually limits the demands
for dream-explanations so that one seeks for a part of the dream-content
an external excitation which covers itself by means of the content. This
external excitation for the dream would be given by the noise which
wakens the sleeper; the interest in this dream would be thereby
terminated. Would that we had even one reason to suppose that the
metropolis had been noisier than usual on this morning! If, for example,
our author had not omitted to inform us that Hanold had that night,
contrary to his custom, slept by an open window! What a shame that our
author didn’t take the trouble! And if an anxiety-dream were only so
simple a thing! No, this interest is not terminated in so simple a way.

The connection with the external, sensory stimulus is not at all
essential for the dream-formation. The sleeper can neglect this
excitation from the outer world; he may be awakened by it without
forming a dream, he may also weave it into his dream, as happens here,
if it is of no use to him from any other motive; and there is an
abundance of dreams for whose content such a determination by a sensory
excitation of the sleeper cannot be shown. No, let us try another way.

Perhaps we can start from the residue which the dream leaves in Hanold’s
waking life. It had formerly been his fancy that Gradiva was a
Pompeiian. Now this assumption becomes a certainty and the second
certainty is added that she was buried there in the year 79.[8]
Sorrowful feelings accompany this progress of the formation of the
delusion like an echo of the fear which had filled the dream. This new
grief about Gradiva will seem to us not exactly comprehensible; Gradiva
would now have been dead for many centuries even if she had been saved
in the year 79 from destruction. Or ought one to be permitted to
squabble thus with either Norbert Hanold or his creator? Here, too, no
way seems to lead to explanation. We wish, nevertheless, to remark that
a very painful, emotional stress clings to the augmentation which the
delusion derives from this dream.

Otherwise, however, our perplexity is not dispelled. This dream does not
explain itself; we must decide to borrow from _Traumdeutung_ by the
present writer, and to use some of the rules given there for the
solution of dreams.

One of these rules is that a dream is regularly connected with the day
before the dream. Our author seems to wish to intimate that he has
followed this rule by connecting the dream directly with Hanold’s
“pedestrian investigations.” Now the latter means nothing but a search
for Gradiva whom he expects to recognize by her characteristic manner of
walking. The dream ought, therefore, to contain a reference to where
Gradiva is to be found. It really does contain it by showing her in
Pompeii, but that is no news for us.

Another rule says: If, after the dream, the reality of the
dream-pictures continues unusually long so that one cannot free himself
from the dream, this is not a kind of mistake in judgment called forth
by the vividness of the dream-pictures, but is a psychic act in itself,
an assurance which refers to the dream-content, that something in it is
as real as it has been dreamed to be, and one is right to believe this
assurance. If we stop at these two rules, we must decide that the dream
gives real information about the whereabouts of Gradiva, who is being
sought. We now know Hanold’s dream; does the application of these two
rules lead to any sensible meaning?

Strange to say, yes. This meaning is disguised only in a special way so
that one does not recognize it immediately. Hanold learns in the dream
that the girl sought lives in the city and in his own day. That is, of
course, true of Zoë Bertgang, only that in his dream the city is not the
German university-city, but Pompeii, the time not the present, but the
year 79, according to our reckoning. It is a kind of disfigurement by
displacement; not Gradiva is transported to the present, but the dreamer
to the past; but we are also given the essential and new fact _that he
shares locality and time with the girl sought_. Whence, then, this
dissimulation and disguise which must deceive us as well as the dreamer
about the peculiar meaning and content of the dream? Well, we have
already means at hand to give us a satisfactory answer to this question.

Let us recall all that we have heard about the nature and origin of
fancies, these preliminaries of delusion. They are substitution for and
remnants of different repressed memories, which a resistance does not
allow to push into consciousness, which, however, become conscious by
heeding the censor of resistance, by means of transformations and
disfigurements. After this compromise is completed, the former memories
have become fancies, which may easily be misunderstood by the conscious
person, that is, may be understood to be the ruling psychic force. Now
let us suppose that the dream-pictures are the so-called physiological
delusion-products of a man, the compromise-results of that struggle
between what is repressed and what is dominant, which exist probably
even in people absolutely normal in the daytime. Then we understand that
we have to consider the dream something disfigured behind which there is
to be sought something else, not disfigured, but, in a sense, something
offensive, like Hanold’s repressed memories behind his fancies. One
expresses the admitted opposition by distinguishing what the dreamer
remembers on waking, as _manifest dream-content_, from what formed the
basis of the dream before the censor’s disfigurement, _the latent
dream-thoughts_. To interpret a dream, then, means to translate the
manifest dream-content into the latent dream-thoughts, which make
retrogressive the disfigurement that had to be approved by the
resistance censor. When we turn these deliberations to the dream which
is occupying us, we find that the latent dream-thoughts must have been
as follows: “The girl who has that beautiful walk, whom you are seeking,
lives really in this city with you;” but in this form the thought could
not become conscious; in its way there stood the fact that a fancy had
established, as a result of a former compromise, the idea that Gradiva
was a Pompeiian girl, and therefore nothing remained, if the actual fact
of her living in the same locality and at the same time was to be
perceived, but to assume the disfigurement: you are living in Pompeii at
the time of Gradiva; and this then is the idea which the manifest
dream-content realizes and represents as a present time which he is
living in.

A dream is rarely the representation, one might say the staging, of a
single thought, but generally of a number of them, a web of thoughts. In
Hanold’s dream there is conspicuous another component of the content,
whose disfigurement is easily put aside so that one may learn the latent
idea represented by it. This is the end of the dream to which the
assurance of reality can also be extended. In the dream the beautiful
walker, Gradiva, is transformed into a bas-relief. That is, of course,
nothing but an ingenious and poetic representation of the actual
procedure. Hanold had, indeed, transferred his interest from the living
girl to the bas-relief; the beloved had been transformed into a stone
relief. The latent dream-thoughts, which remain unconscious, wish to
transform the relief back into the living girl; in connection with the
foregoing they speak to him somewhat as follows: “You are, of course,
interested in the bas-relief of Gradiva only because it reminds you of
the present, here-living Zoë.” But this insight would mean the end of
the delusion, if it could become conscious.

Is it our duty to substitute unconscious thoughts thus for every single
bit of the manifest dream-content? Strictly speaking, yes; in the
interpretation of a dream which had actually been dreamed, we should not
be allowed to avoid this duty. The dreamer would then have to give us an
exhaustive account. It is easily understood that we cannot enforce such
a demand in connection with the creature of our author; we will not,
however, overlook the fact that we have not yet submitted the chief
content of this dream to the work of interpretation and translation.

Hanold’s dream is, of course, an anxiety-dream. Its content is fearful;
anxiety is felt by the dreamer in sleep, and painful feelings remain
after it. That is not of any great help for our attempt at explanation;
we are again forced to borrow largely from the teachings of
dream-interpretation. This admonishes us not to fall into the error of
deriving the fear that is felt in a dream from the content of a dream,
not to use the dream-content like the content of ideas of waking life.
It calls to our attention how often we dream the most horrible things
without feeling any trace of fear. Rather the true fact is a quite
different one, which cannot be easily guessed, but can certainly be
proved. The fear of the anxiety-dream corresponds to a sex-feeling, a
libidinous emotion, like every neurotic fear, and has, through the
process of repression, proceeded from the libido.[9] In the
interpretation of dreams, therefore, one must substitute for fear sexual
excitement. The fear which has thus come into existence, exercises
now—not regularly, but often—a selective influence on the
dream-content and brings into the dream ideational elements which seem
suitable to this fear for the conscious and erroneous conception of the
dream. This is, as has been said, by no means regularly the case, for
there are anxiety dreams in which the content is not at all frightful,
in which, therefore, one cannot explain consciously the anxiety

I know that this explanation of fear in dreams sounds odd, and is not
easily believed; but I can only advise making friends with it. It would,
moreover, be remarkable if Norbert Hanold’s dream allowed itself to be
connected with this conception of fear and to be explained by it. We
should then say that in the dreamer, at night, the erotic desire stirs,
makes a powerful advance to bring his memory of the beloved into
consciousness and thus snatch him from the delusion, experiences
rejection and transformation into fear, which now, on its part, brings
the fearful pictures from the academic memory of the dreamer into the
dream-content. In this way the peculiar unconscious content of the
dream, the amorous longing for the once known Zoë, is transformed into
the manifest-content of the destruction of Pompeii and the loss of

I think that sounds quite plausible so far. One might justly demand that
if erotic wishes form the undisfigured content of this dream, then one
must be able to point out, in the transformed dream, at least a
recognizable remnant of them hidden somewhere. Well, perhaps even this
will come about with the help of a suggestion which appears later in the
story. At the first meeting with the supposed Gradiva, Hanold remembers
this dream and requests the apparition to lie down again as he has seen
her.[10] Thereupon the young lady rises, indignant, and leaves her
strange companion, in whose delusion-ridden speech she has heard the
suggestion of an improper erotic wish. I think we may adopt Gradiva’s
interpretation; even from a real dream one cannot always demand more
definiteness for the representation of an erotic wish.

Thus the application of some rules of dream-interpretation have been
successful on Hanold’s first dream, in making this dream comprehensible
to us in its chief features, and in fitting it into the sequence of the
story. Then it must probably have been produced by its author with due
consideration for these rules. One could raise only one more question:
why the author should introduce a dream for further development of the
delusion. Well, I think that is very cleverly arranged and again keeps
faith with reality. We have already heard that in actual illness the
formation of a delusion is very often connected with a dream, but after
our explanation of the nature of dreams, we need find no new riddle in
this fact. Dreams and delusion spring from the same source, the
repressed; the dream is, so to speak, the physiological delusion of the
normal human being. Before the repressed has become strong enough to
push itself up into waking life as delusion, it may easily have won its
first success under the more favourable circumstances of sleep, in the
form of a dream having after-effects. During sleep, with the diminution
of psychic activity, there enters a slackening in the strength of the
resistance, which the dominant psychic forces oppose to the repressed.
This slackening is what makes the dream-formation possible and therefore
the dream becomes, for us, the best means of approach to knowledge of
the unconscious psyche. Only the dream usually passes rapidly with the
re-establishment of the psychic revival of waking life, and the ground
won by the unconscious is again vacated.


In the further course of the story there is another dream, which can
tempt us, even more perhaps than the first, to try to interpret it and
fit it into the psychic life of the hero; but we save little if we leave
the representation of the author of _Gradiva_ here, to hasten directly
to this second dream, for whoever wishes to interpret the dream of
another, cannot help concerning himself, as extensively as possible,
with every subjective and objective experience of the dreamer. Therefore
it would be best to hold to the thread of the story and provide this
with our commentaries as we progress.

The new delusion of the death of Gradiva at the destruction of Pompeii
in the year 79 is not the only after-effect of the first dream analysed
by us. Directly afterwards Hanold decides upon a trip to Italy, which
finally takes him to Pompeii. Before this, however, something else has
happened to him; leaning from his window, he thinks he sees on the
street a figure with the bearing and walk of his Gradiva, hastens after
her, in spite of his scanty attire, does not overtake her, but is driven
back by the jeers of the people on the street. After he has returned to
his room, the song of a canary whose cage hangs in the window of the
opposite house calls forth in him a mood such as if he wished to get
from prison into freedom, and the spring trip is immediately decided
upon and accomplished.

Our author has put this trip of Hanold’s in an especially strong light,
and has given to the latter partial clearness about his subjective
processes. Hanold has, of course, given himself a scientific purpose for
his journey, but this is not substantial. Yet he knows that the “impulse
to travel has originated in a nameless feeling.” A peculiar restlessness
makes him dissatisfied with everything he encounters and drives him from
Rome to Naples, from there to Pompeii, without his mood’s being set
right, even at the last halting-place. He is annoyed by the foolishness
of honeymoon travellers, and is enraged over the boldness of
house-flies, which populate the hotels of Pompeii; but finally he does
not deceive himself over the fact that “his dissatisfaction was
certainly not caused by his surroundings alone, but, to a degree, found
its origin in him.” He considers himself over-excited, feels “that he
was out of sorts because he lacked something without being able to
explain what, and this ill-humour he took everywhere with him.” In such
a mood he is enraged even at his mistress, science; as he wanders for
the first time in the glow of the midday sun through Pompeii, all his
science had left him without the least desire to rediscover it; “he
remembered it as from a great distance, and he felt that it had been an
old, dried-up, boresome aunt, dullest and most superfluous creature in
the world.” (_G._ p. 48.)

In this uncomfortable and confused state of mind, one of the riddles
which are connected with this journey is solved for him at the moment
when he first sees Gradiva walking through Pompeii; “he became
conscious, for the first time, that he had, without himself knowing the
motive in his heart, come to Italy on that account and had, without
stop, continued from Rome and Naples to Pompeii to see if he could here
find trace of her—and that in a literal sense—for, with her unusual
gait, she must have left behind in the ashes a foot-print different from
all the others.” (_G._ p. 50.)

As our author has put so much care into the delineation of this trip, it
must be worth our while to explain its relation to Hanold’s delusion and
its place in the sequence of events. The journey is undertaken for
motives which the character does not at first recognize and does not
admit until later, motives which our author designates directly as
“unconscious.” This is certainly true to life; one does not need to have
a delusion to act thus; rather it is an everyday occurrence, even for
normal people, that they are deceived about the motives of their actions
and do not become conscious of them until subsequently, when a conflict
of several emotional currents re-establishes for them the condition for
such confusion. Hanold’s trip, therefore, was intended, from the
beginning, to serve the delusion, and was to take him to Pompeii to
continue there the search for Gradiva. Let us remember that before, and
directly after the dream, this search filled his mind and that the dream
itself was only a stifled answer of his consciousness to the question of
the whereabouts of Gradiva. Some force which we do not recognize,
however, next prevents the plan of the delusion from becoming conscious,
so that only insufficient pretexts, which can be but partially revived,
remain as a conscious motivation for the trip. The author gives us
another riddle by having the dream, the discovery of the supposed
Gradiva on the street, and the decision to make the journey because of
the influence of the singing canary follow one another like chance
occurrences without inner coherence.

With the help of the explanations which we gather from the later
speeches of Zoë Bertgang, this obscure part of the tale is illuminated
for our understanding. It was really the original of Gradiva, Miss Zoë,
herself, whom Hanold saw from his window walking on the street (_G._ p.
23), and whom he would soon have overtaken. The statement of the
dreamer—“she is really living now in the present, in the same city with
you,”—would, therefore, by a lucky chance, have experienced an
irrefutable corroboration, before which his inner resistance would have
collapsed. The canary, however, whose song impelled Hanold to go away,
belonged to Zoë, and his cage was in her window, in the house diagonally
opposite from Hanold’s (_G._ p. 98). Hanold, who, according to the
girl’s arraignment, was endowed with negative hallucination, understood
the art of not seeing nor recognizing people, and must from the
beginning have had unconscious knowledge of what we do not discover
until later. The signs of Zoë’s proximity, her appearance on the street,
and her bird’s song so near his window intensify the effect of the
dream, and in this condition, so dangerous for his resistance to the
eroticism, he takes flight. The journey arises from the recovery of the
resistance after that advance of erotic desire in the dream, an attempt
at flight from the living and present beloved. It means practically a
victory for repression, which, this time, in the delusion keeps the
upper hand, as, in his former action, the “pedestrian investigations” of
women and girls, the eroticism had been victorious. Everywhere, however,
the indecision of the struggle, the compromise nature of the results was
evident; the trip to Pompeii, which is to take him away from the living
Zoë leads, at any rate, to her substitute, Gradiva. The journey, which
is undertaken in defiance of the most recent dream-thoughts, follows,
however, the order of the manifest dream-content to Pompeii. Thus
delusion triumphs anew every time that eroticism and resistance struggle

This conception of Hanold’s trip, as a flight from the erotic desire for
the beloved, who is so near, which is awakening in him, harmonizes,
however, with the frame of mind portrayed in him during his stay in
Italy. The rejection of the eroticism, which dominates him, expresses
itself there in his abhorrence of honeymoon travellers. A little dream
in the “albergo” in Rome, caused by the proximity of a couple of German
lovers, “Augustus” and “Gretchen,” whose evening conversation he is
forced to overhear through the thin partition, casts a further light on
the erotic tendencies of his first great dream. The new dream transports
him again to Pompeii where Vesuvius is just having another eruption, and
thus refers to the dream which continues active during his trip; but
among the imperilled people he sees this time—not as before himself and
Gradiva—but Apollo Belvedere and the Capitoline Venus,—doubtless
ironic exaltation of the couple in the adjoining room. Apollo lifts
Venus, carries her away, and lays her on an object in the dark, which
seems to be a carriage or a cart, for a “rattling sound” comes from it.
Otherwise the dream needs no special skill for its interpretation. (_G._
p. 32.)

Our author, whom we have long relied on not to make a single stroke in
his picture idly and without purpose, has given us another bit of
testimony for the non-sexual force dominating Hanold on the trip. During
hours of wandering in Pompeii, it happens that “remarkably, it did not
once appear in his memory that he had dreamed some time ago that he had
been present at the destruction of Pompeii by the volcanic eruption of
79.” (_G._ p. 42.) At sight of Gradiva he first suddenly remembers this
dream, and at the same time the motive of the delusion for his puzzling
journey becomes conscious. Then what other meaning could there be for
forgetting the dream, this repression-boundary between the dream and the
psychic condition of the journey, than that the journey is not the
result of the direct instigation of the dream, but of the rejection of
this latter, as the emanation from a psychic force which desires no
knowledge of the secret meaning of the dream?

On the other hand, however, Hanold is not happy at this victory over his
eroticism. The suppressed psychic impulse remains strong enough to
revenge itself, by discontent and interception, on the suppressing
agency. His longing has changed to restlessness and dissatisfaction,
which make the trip seem senseless to him. His insight into the
motivation of his trip is obstructed in service of the delusion; his
relation to science, which ought, in such a place, to stir all his
interest, is upset. So our author shows his hero, after flight from
love, in a sort of crisis, in an utterly confused and unsettled
condition, in a derangement such as usually appears at the climax of
illness if neither of the two struggling forces is so much stronger than
the other, that the difference could establish a strict, psychic régime.
Here then our author takes hold to help and to settle, for, at this
place, he introduces Gradiva, who undertakes the cure of the delusion.
With his power to direct to a happy solution the fortunes of all the
characters created by him, in spite of all the requirements which he has
them conform to, he transports the girl, from whom Hanold has fled to
Pompeii, to that very place and thus corrects the folly which the
delusion caused the young man to commit in leaving the home-city of his
beloved for the dead abode of the one substituted for her by his fancy.

With the appearance of Zoë Bertgang as Gradiva, which marks the climax
of the suspense of the story, our interest is soon diverted. If we have
hitherto been living through the developments of a delusion, we shall
now become witnesses of its cure, and may ask ourselves if our author
has merely invented the procedure of this cure or has carried it out
according to actually existing possibilities. From Zoë’s own words in
the conversation with her friend, we have decidedly the right to ascribe
to her the intention to cure the hero (_G._ p. 97). But how does she go
about it? After she has cast aside the indignation which the
unreasonable request, to lie down to sleep again, as “then,” had evoked
in her, she appears again next day, at the same place, and elicits from
Hanold all the secret knowledge that was lacking to her for an
understanding of his conduct of the previous day. She learns of his
dream, of the bas-relief of Gradiva, and of the peculiarity of walk
which she shares with the relief. She accepts the rôle of a spirit
awakened to life for a short hour, which, she observes, his delusion
assigns to her, and in ambiguous words, she gently puts him in the way
of a new rôle by accepting from him the grave-flower which he had
brought along without conscious purpose, and expresses regret that he
has not given her roses (_G._ p. 70).

Our interest in the conduct of the eminently clever girl, who has
decided to win the lover of her youth as husband, after she has
recognized his love behind his delusion as its impelling force, is,
however, restrained at this place probably because of the strange
feelings that the delusion can arouse even in us. Its latest
development, that Gradiva, who was buried in the year 79, can now
exchange conversation with him as a noon-spirit, for an hour, after the
passing of which she sinks out of sight or seeks her grave again, this
chimæra, which is not confused by the perception of her modern
foot-covering, nor by her ignorance of the ancient tongues, nor by her
command of German, which did not exist in former times, seems indeed to
justify the author’s designation, “A Pompeiian Fancy,” but to exclude
every standard of clinical reality; and yet on closer consideration the
improbability in this delusion seems to me, for the most part, to
vanish. To be sure, our author has taken upon himself a part of the
blame, and in the first part of the story has offered the fact that Zoë
was the image of the bas-relief in every trait. One must, therefore,
guard against transferring the improbability of this preliminary to its
logical conclusion that Hanold considers the girl to be Gradiva come to
life. The explanation of the delusion is here enhanced by the fact that
our author has offered us no rational disposal of it. In the glowing sun
of the Campagna and in the bewildering magic powers of the vine which
grows on Vesuvius, our author has introduced helpful and mitigating
circumstances of the transgression of the hero. The most important of
all explanatory and exonerating considerations remains, however, the
facility with which our intellect decides to accept an absurd content if
impulses with a strong emotional stress find thereby their satisfaction.
It is astonishing, and generally meets with too little acceptance, how
easily and often intelligent people, under such psychological
constellations, give the reactions of partial mental weakness, and any
one who is not too conceited may observe this in himself as often as he
wishes, and especially when a part of the thought-processes under
consideration is connected with unconscious or repressed motives. I
cite, in this connection, the words of a philosopher who writes to me,
“I have also begun to make note of cases of striking mistakes, from my
own experience, and of thoughtless actions which one subsequently
explains to himself (in a very unreasonable way). It is amazing but
typical how much stupidity thereby comes to light.” Now let us consider
the fact that belief in spirits, apparitions and returning souls (which
finds so much support in the religions to which, at least as children,
we have all clung) is by no means destroyed among all educated people,
and that many otherwise reasonable people find their interest in
spiritism compatible with their reason. Yes, even one become
dispassionate and incredulous may perceive with shame how easily he
turns back for a moment to a belief in spirits, when emotions and
perplexity concur in him. I know of a physician who had once lost a
patient by Basedow’s disease and could not rid himself of the slight
suspicion that he had perhaps contributed by unwise medication to the
unfortunate outcome. One day several years later there stepped into his
office a girl, in whom, in spite of all reluctance, he was obliged to
recognize the dead woman. His only thought was that it was true that the
dead could return, and his fear did not give way to shame until the
visitor introduced herself as the sister of the woman who had died of
that disease. Basedow’s disease lends to those afflicted with it a great
similarity of features, which has often been noticed, and in this case
the typical resemblance was far more exaggerated than the family
resemblance. The physician, moreover, to whom this happened was I, and
therefore I am not inclined to quarrel with Norbert Hanold over the
clinical possibility of his short delusion about Gradiva, who had
returned to life. That in serious cases of chronic delusion (paranoia)
the most extreme absurdities, ingeniously devised and well supported,
are active is, finally, well known to every psychiatrist.

After his first meeting with Gradiva, Norbert Hanold had drunk his wine
in first one and then another of the hotels of Pompeii known to him,
while the other guests were having their regular meals. “Of course, in
no way had the absurd supposition entered his mind” that he was doing
this to find out what hotel Gradiva lived and ate in, but it is hard to
say what other significance his action could have. On the day after his
second meeting in Meleager’s house, he has all sorts of remarkable and
apparently disconnected experiences; he finds a narrow cleft in the wall
of the portico where Gradiva had disappeared, meets a foolish
lizard-catcher, who addresses him as an acquaintance, discovers a
secluded hotel, the “Albergo del Sole,” whose owner talks him into
buying a metal brooch encrusted with green patina, which had been found
with the remains of a Pompeiian girl, and finally notices in his own
hotel a newly-arrived young couple, whom he diagnoses to be brother and
sister, and congenial. All these impressions are then woven into a
“remarkably nonsensical” dream as follows:

“Somewhere in the sun Gradiva sat making a trap out of a blade of grass
in order to catch a lizard, and she said, ‘Please stay quite still—my
colleague is right; the method is really good and she has used it with
the greatest success.’”

To this dream he offers resistance even while sleeping, with the
critique that it is indeed the most utter madness, and he casts about to
free himself from it. He succeeds in doing this, too, with the aid of an
invisible bird who utters a short, merry call, and carries the lizard
away in his beak.

Shall we risk an attempt to interpret this dream also, that is, to
substitute for it the latent thoughts from whose disfigurement it must
have proceeded? It is as nonsensical as one could expect a dream to be
and this absurdity of dreams is the mainstay of the view which denies to
the dream the character of a valid psychic act, and has it proceed from
a desultory stimulus of the psychic elements.

We can apply to this dream the technique which can be designated as the
regular procedure of dream-interpretation. It consists in disregarding
the apparent sequence in the manifest dream but in examining separately
every part of the content, and in seeking its derivation in the
impressions, memories and free ideas of the dreamer. As we cannot
examine Hanold, however, we must be satisfied with reference to his
impressions, and may with due caution substitute our own ideas for his.

“Somewhere in the sun Gradiva sat catching lizards, and said ...” What
impression of the day is this part of the dream reminiscent of?
Unquestionably of the meeting with the older man, the lizard-catcher,
for whom Gradiva is substituted in the dream. He was sitting or lying on
a “hot, sunny” slope and spoke to Hanold, too. Even the utterances of
Gradiva in the dream are copied from those of the man. Let us compare:
“‘The method suggested by my colleague, Eimer, is really good; I have
already used it often with the best of success. Please remain quite
still.’”—Quite similarly Gradiva speaks in the dream, only that for the
_colleague, Eimer_, is substituted an unnamed woman-colleague; the
_often_ from the zoologist’s speech is missing in the dream, and the
connection between the statements has been somewhat changed. It seems,
therefore, that this experience of the day has been transformed into a
dream by some changes and disfigurements. Why thus, and what is the
meaning of the disfigurements, the substitution of Gradiva for the old
gentleman, and the introduction of the puzzling “woman-colleague”?

There is a rule of dream-interpretation as follows: A speech heard in a
dream always originates from a speech either heard or uttered in waking
life. Well, this rule seems followed here; the speech of Gradiva is only
a modification of a speech heard in the daytime from the zoologist.
Another rule of dream-interpretation would tell us that the substitution
of one person for another, or the mixture of two people by showing one
in a position which characterizes the other means equivalence of the two
people, a correspondence between them. Let us venture to apply this rule
also to our dream; then the interpretation would follow: “Gradiva
catches lizards, as that old gentleman does, and like him, is skilled in
lizard-catching.” This result is not comprehensible yet, but we have
another riddle before us. To which impression of the day shall we refer
the “woman colleague,” who is substituted in the dream for the famous
zoologist, Eimer? We have here fortunately not much choice; only one
other girl can be meant by “woman-colleague,” the congenial young lady
in whom Hanold has conjectured a sister travelling with her brother. “In
her gown she wore a red Sorrento rose, the sight of which, as he looked
across from his corner, stirred something in his memory without his
being able to think what it was.” This observation on the part of the
author surely gives us the right to assert that she is the
“woman-colleague” of the dream. What Hanold cannot remember is certainly
nothing but the remark of the supposed Gradiva, as she asked him for the
grave-flower, that to more fortunate girls one brought roses in spring.
In this speech, however, lay a hidden wooing. What kind of
lizard-catching is it that this more fortunate woman-colleague has been
so successful with?

On the next day Hanold surprises the supposed brother and sister in
tender embrace and can thus correct his mistake of the previous day.
They are really a couple of lovers, on their honeymoon, as we later
learn, when the two disturb, so unexpectedly, Hanold’s third meeting
with Zoë. If we will now accept the idea that Hanold, who consciously
considers them brother and sister, has, in his unconscious, recognized
at once their real relation, which on the next day betrays itself so
unequivocally, there results a good meaning for Gradiva’s remark in the
dream. The red rose then becomes a symbol for being in love; Hanold
understands that the two are as Gradiva and he are soon to be; the
lizard-catching acquires the meaning of husband-catching, and Gradiva’s
speech means something like this: “Let me arrange things; I know how to
win a husband as well as this other girl does.”

Why must this penetration of Zoë’s intentions appear throughout in the
form of the speech of the old zoologist? Why is Zoë’s skill in
husband-catching represented by that of the old man in lizard-catching?
Well, it is easy for us to answer that question; we have long ago
guessed that the lizard-catcher is none other than the professor of
zoology, Bertgang, Zoë’s father, who must, of course, also know Hanold,
so that it is a matter of course that he addresses Hanold as an
acquaintance. Again, let us accept the idea that Hanold, in his
unconscious, immediately recognizes the professor—“It seemed to him
dimly that he had already seen the face of the lizard-hunter probably in
one of the two hotels.” Thus is explained the strange cloaking of the
purpose attributed to Zoë. She is the daughter of the lizard-catcher;
she has inherited this skill from him. The substitution of Gradiva for
the lizard-catcher in the dream-content, is, therefore, the
representation of the relation between the two people, which was
recognized by the unconscious; the introduction of “woman-colleague” in
place of _colleague, Eimer_, allows the dream to express comprehension
of her courtship of the man. The dream has welded two of the day’s
experiences in one situation, “condensed” as we say, in order to
procure, to be sure, very indiscernible expression for two ideas which
are not allowed to become conscious; but we can go on diminishing the
strangeness of the dream still more and pointing out the influence of
other experiences of the day on the formation of the manifest dream.

Dissatisfied by the former information, we might explain why the scene
of the lizard-catching was made the nucleus of the dream, and suppose
that the other elements in the dream-thoughts influence the term
“lizard” in the manifest dream. It might really be very easy. Let us
recall that Hanold has discovered a cleft in the wall, in the place
where Gradiva seems to him to disappear; this is “wide enough to afford
passage to an unusually slender figure.” By this perception he is forced
in the day-time to an alteration in his delusion; Gradiva did not sink
into the ground when she disappeared from his sight, but was going back,
by this route, to her grave. In his unconscious thought he might say to
himself that he had now found the natural explanation for the surprising
disappearance of the girl; but must not forcing one’s self through
narrow clefts, and disappearing in such clefts recall the conduct of
lizards? Does not Gradiva herself, then, in this connection, behave like
an agile little lizard? We think, therefore, that the discovery of this
cleft in the wall had worked as a determinant on the choice of the
“lizard” element for the manifest dream-content; the lizard-situation of
the dream, therefore, represented this impression of the day, and the
meeting with the zoologist, Zoë’s father.

What if, become bold, we now wished to attempt to find in the
dream-content a representation also for the one experience of the day
which has not yet been turned to account, the discovery of the third
hotel, “del Sole”? Our author has treated this episode so exhaustively
and linked so much with it, we should be surprised if it, alone, had
yielded no contribution to the dream-formation. Hanold enters this
hotel, which, because of its secluded situation and its distance from
the station, has remained unknown to him, to get a bottle of lime-water
for congestion of blood. The hotel-keeper uses this opportunity to extol
his antiques and shows him a brooch which, it was alleged, had belonged
to that Pompeiian girl who was found near the Forum in fond embrace with
her lover. Hanold, who had never before believed this frequently
repeated story, is now compelled, by a force strange to him, to believe
in the truth of this touching story and in the genuineness of the
article found, buys the brooch and leaves the hotel with his purchase.
In passing, he sees nodding down at him from one of the windows a
cluster of white, asphodel blossoms which had been placed in a
water-glass, and he feels that this sight is an attestation of the
genuineness of his new possession. The sincere conviction is now
impressed upon him that the green brooch belonged to Gradiva, and that
she was the girl who died in her lover’s embrace. The tormenting
jealousy, which thereupon seizes him, he appeases with the resolution to
assure himself about this suspicion, the next day, from Gradiva,
herself, by showing the brooch. This is a strange bit of new delusion;
and shouldn’t any trace point to it in the dream of the following night?

It will be well worth our while to get an understanding of the origin of
this augmentation of the delusion, to look up the new unconscious idea
for which the new bit of delusion is substituted. The delusion
originates under the influence of the proprietor of the “Sun Hotel,”
toward whom Hanold conducts himself in so remarkably credulous a manner,
as if he has received a suggestion from him. The proprietor shows him a
small metal brooch as genuine, and as the possession of that girl who
was found in the arms of her lover, buried in the ashes, and Hanold, who
could be critical enough to doubt the truth of the story as well as the
genuineness of the brooch, is caught, credulous, and buys the more than
doubtful antique. It is quite incomprehensible why he should act so, and
no hint is given that the personality of the proprietor himself might
solve this riddle for us. There is, however, another riddle in this
incident, and two riddles sometimes solve each other. On leaving the
“albergo,” he catches sight of an asphodel cluster in a glass at a
window, and finds in it an attestation of the genuineness of the metal
brooch. How can that be? This last stroke is fortunately easy of
solution. The white flower is, of course, the one which he presented to
Gradiva at noon, and it is quite right that through the sight of it at
one of the windows of this hotel, something is corroborated, not the
genuineness of the brooch, but something else which has become clear to
him at the discovery of this formerly overlooked “albergo.” In the
forenoon he has already acted as if he were seeking, in the two hotels
of Pompeii, where the person lived who appeared to him as Gradiva. Now,
as he stumbles so unexpectedly upon a third, he must say in the
unconscious: “So she lives here”; and then, on leaving: “Right there is
the asphodel flower I gave her; that is, therefore, her window.” This,
then, is the new idea for which the delusion is substituted, and which
cannot become conscious because its assumption that Gradiva is living, a
person known by him, cannot become conscious.

How then is the substitution of the delusion for the new idea supposed
to have occurred? I think thus: that the feeling of conviction which
clung to the idea was able to assert itself and persisted, while another
ideational content related to it by thought-connection acted as
substitute for the idea itself which was incapable of consciousness.
Thus the feeling of conviction was connected with a really strange
content, and this latter attained, as delusion, a recognition which did
not belong to it. Hanold transfers his conviction that Gradiva lives in
this house to other impressions which he receives in this house,
becomes, in a way, credulous about what the proprietor says, the
genuineness of the metal brooch, and the truth of the anecdote about the
lovers found in an embrace, but only by this route, that he connects
what he has heard in this house with Gradiva. The jealousy which has
been lying ready in him gets possession of this material, and even in
contradiction to his first dream there appears the delusion that Gradiva
was the girl who died in the arms of her lover, and that the brooch
which he bought belonged to her.

We notice that the conversation with Gradiva, and her gentle wooing
“through the flower,” have already evoked important changes in Hanold.
Traits of male desire, components of the libido are awakened in him,
which, to be sure, cannot yet dispense with the concealment through
conscious pretexts; but the problem of the corporeal nature of Gradiva,
which has pursued him this whole day, cannot disavow its derivation from
the erotic desire of the young man for possession of the woman, even if
it is dragged into the scientific world by conscious stress on Gradiva’s
peculiar hovering between life and death. Jealousy is an added mark of
Hanold’s awakening activity in love; he expresses this at the opening of
the conversation on the next day, and with the aid of a new pretext
achieves his object of touching the girl’s body, and of striking her, as
in times long past.

Now, however, it is time to ask if the course of delusion-formation
which we have inferred from our author’s representation is one otherwise
admitted or possible. From my experience as physician, I can answer only
that it is surely the right way, perhaps the only one, in which the
delusion receives the unswerving recognition due to its clinical
character. If the patient believes in his delusion so firmly, it does
not happen because of inversion of his powers of judgment, and does not
proceed from what is erroneous in the delusion; but in every delusion
there lies also a little grain of truth; there is something in it which
really deserves belief, and this is the source of the conviction of the
patient, who is, to this extent, justified. This true element, however,
has been repressed for a long time; if it finally succeeds in pushing
into consciousness (this time in disfigured form), the feeling of a
conviction clinging to it, as if in compensation, is over-strong and now
clings to and protects the disfigurement-substitute of the repressed,
true element against every critical impugnment. The conviction at once
shifts itself from the unconscious, true element to the conscious,
erroneous one connected with it, and remains fixed there as a result of
this very displacement. The case of delusion-formation which resulted
from Hanold’s first dream is nothing but a similar, if not identical,
case of such displacement. Yes, the depicted manner of development of
conviction in the delusion is not fundamentally different from the way
in which conviction is formed in normal cases, where repression does not
enter into play. All our convictions lie in thought-contents in which
the true and the false are combined and _they stretch over the former
and the latter_. They differentiate at once between the true and
whatever false is associated with it and protect this, even if not so
immutably as in the delusion, against merited critique. Associations,
protection, likewise, have their own value even for normal psychology.

I will now return to the dream and lay stress on a small, but not
uninteresting feature which establishes a connection between two
occasions of the dream. Gradiva had placed the white asphodel flower in
definite contrast to the red rose; the finding of the asphodel flower
again in the window of the “Albergo del Sole” becomes a weighty proof
for Hanold’s unconscious idea which expresses itself in a new delusion;
and to this is added the fact that the red rose in the dress of the
congenial young girl helps Hanold again, in the unconscious, to a right
estimation of her relation to her companion so that he can have her
enter the dream as “woman colleague.”

But where in the manifest dream-content is found the trace and
representation of that discovery of Hanold’s for which we find that the
new delusion is substituted, the discovery that Gradiva lives with her
father in the third hotel of Pompeii, the “Albergo del Sole,” which he
has not been acquainted with? Well, it stands in its entirety and not
even much disfigured in the dream; but I dread to point it out, for I
know that even with the readers whose patience with me has lasted so
long, a strong opposition to my attempts at interpretation will be
stirred up. Hanold’s discovery is given in full in the dream-content, I
repeat, but so cleverly concealed that one must needs overlook it. It is
hidden there behind a play on words, an ambiguity. “Somewhere in the sun
Gradiva sat”; this we have rightly connected with the locality where
Hanold met the zoologist, her father; but can it not also mean in the
“Sun,” that is, in the “Albergo del Sole,” in the “Sun Hotel” Gradiva
lives? And doesn’t the “somewhere” which has no reference to the meeting
with her father sound so hypocritically indefinite for the very reason
that it introduces the definite information about the whereabouts of
Gradiva? According to previous experience in the interpretation of real
dreams, I am quite sure of such a meaning in the ambiguity, but I should
really not venture to offer this bit of interpretation to my readers, if
our author did not lend me here his powerful assistance. On the next day
he puts into the mouth of the girl, when she sees the metal brooch, the
same pun which we accept for the interpretation of the dream-content.
“Did you find it in the sun, perhaps? It brings to light many such works
of art”; and as Hanold does not understand the speech, she explains that
she means the “Sun Hotel,” which is called “Sole” here, whence the
supposed antique is also familiar to her.

And now may we make the attempt to substitute for Hanold’s “remarkably
nonsensical” dream unconscious thoughts hidden behind it and as unlike
it as possible? It runs somewhat as follows: “She lives in the ‘Sun’
with her father; why is she playing such a game with me? Does she wish
to make fun of me? Or could it be possible that she loves me and wishes
me for a husband?” To this latter possibility there now follows in sleep
the rejection, “That is the most utter madness,” which is apparently
directed against the whole manifest dream.

Critical readers have now the right to inquire about the origin of that
interpolation, not formerly established, which refers to being made fun
of by Gradiva. To this _Traumdeutung_ gives the answer; if in
dream-thoughts, taunts and sneers, or bitter contradictions occur, they
are expressed by the nonsensical course of the manifest dream, through
the absurdity in the dream. The latter means, therefore, no paralysis of
psychic activity, but is one of the means of representation which the
dream-work makes use of. As always in especially difficult passages, our
author here comes to our assistance. The nonsensical dream has another
postlude in which a bird utters a merry call and takes away the lizard
in his beak. Such a laughing call Hanold had heard after Gradiva’s
disappearance. It really came from Zoë who was shaking off the
melancholy seriousness of her lower world rôle; with this laugh Gradiva
had really derided him. The dream-picture, however, of the bird carrying
away the lizard may recall that other one in a former dream in which
Apollo Belvedere carried away the Capitoline Venus.

Perhaps the impression now exists with many readers that the
interpretation of the lizard-catching situation by the idea of wooing is
not sufficiently justified. Additional support is found here, perhaps in
the hint that Zoë, in conversation with her colleague, admits about
herself that very thing which Hanold’s thoughts suppose about her, when
she tells that she had been sure of “digging up” something interesting
for herself here in Pompeii. She thereby delves into the archæological
series of associations as he did into the zoological with his allegory
of lizard-catching, as if they were opposing each other and each wished
to assume properties of the other.

Thus we have finished the interpretation of the second dream. Both have
become accessible to our understanding under the presupposition that the
dreamer, in his unconscious thought, knows all that he has forgotten in
his conscious, has in the former rightly judged everything which, in the
latter, he delusively misconstrues. In this connection we have, of
course, been obliged to make many assertions which sounded odd to the
reader because they were strange to him and probably often awakened the
suspicion that we were giving out as our author’s meaning what is only
our own meaning. We are ready to do everything to dissipate this
suspicion and will therefore gladly consider more exhaustively one of
the most knotty points—I mean the use of ambiguous words and speeches
as in the example, “Somewhere in the Sun Gradiva sat.”

It must be striking to every reader of _Gradiva_ how often our author
puts into the mouths of both the leading characters speeches which have
double meaning. For Hanold these speeches are intended to have only one
meaning, and only his companion, Gradiva, is affected by their other
meaning. Thus, after her first answer, he exclaims: “I knew that your
voice sounded so,” and the yet unenlightened Zoë has to ask how that is
possible, as he has never before heard her speak. In the second
conversation, the girl is for a moment puzzled by his delusion, as he
assures her that he recognized her at once. She must understand these
words in the meaning that is correct for his unconscious, as his
recognition of their acquaintance which reaches back into childhood,
while he, of course, knows nothing of this meaning of his speech and
explains it only by reference to the delusion which dominates him. The
speeches of the girl, on the other hand, in whose person the most
brilliant mental clarity is opposed to the delusion, are made
intentionally ambiguous. One meaning of them falls in with the ideas of
Hanold’s delusion, in order to enable her to penetrate into his
conscious comprehension, the other raises itself above the delusion,
and, as a rule, gives us the interpretation of it in the unconscious
truth which has been represented by it. It is a triumph of wit to be
able to represent the delusion and the truth in the same expression.

Interspersed with such ambiguities is Zoë’s speech in which she explains
the situation to her girl friend and at the same time rids herself of
her disturbing society; it is really spoken out of the book, calculated
more for us readers than for her happy colleague. In the conversations
with Hanold, the double meaning is chiefly established by the fact that
Zoë makes use of the symbolism which we find followed in Hanold’s first
dream, in the equivalence of repression and destruction, Pompeii and
childhood. Thus on the one hand she can, in her speeches, continue in
the rôle which Hanold’s delusion assigns to her, on the other, she can
touch upon the real relations, and awaken in Hanold’s unconscious a
knowledge of them.

“I have long accustomed myself to being dead.” (_G._ p. 70.) “For me,
the flower of oblivion is the right one from your hand” (_G._ p. 70). In
these speeches is given lightly the reproof which then breaks out
clearly enough in her last sermon when she compares him to an
archæopteryx. “That a person must die to become alive again; but for
archæologists that is, of course, necessary” (_G._ p. 102), she
continues after the solution of the delusion as if to give us the key to
her ambiguous speeches. The most beautiful symbolism appears, however,
in the question (_G._ p. 88): “It seems to me as if we had already eaten
our bread thus together once two thousand years ago. Can’t you remember
it?” In this speech the substitution of historic antiquity for
childhood, and the effort to awaken his memory of the latter are quite

Whence, therefore, comes this striking preference for ambiguous speeches
in _Gradiva_? It seems to us not chance, but the necessary sequence from
the preliminaries of the tale. It is nothing but the counterpart of the
twofold determination of symptoms in so far as the speeches are
themselves symptoms and proceed from compromises between the conscious
and the unconscious; but one notices this double origin in the speeches
more easily than in the acts; and when, as the pliability of the
material of conversation often makes possible, each of the two
intentions of a speech succeeds by the same arrangement of words in
expressing itself well, then there is present what we call an

During the psychotherapeutic treatment of a delusion, or an analogous
disturbance, one often evolves such ambiguous speeches in patients as
new symptoms of the most fleeting duration, and can even succeed in
making use of them, whereby, with the meaning intended for the
consciousness of the patient, one can, not infrequently, stimulate the
understanding for the one valid in the unconscious. I know from
experience that among the uninitiate this rôle of ambiguity usually
gives the greatest offence, and causes the grossest misunderstanding,
but our author was right, at any rate, in representing in his production
this characteristic feature of the processes of the formation of dream
and delusion.


With Zoë’s entrance as physician there is awakened in us, we said, a new
interest. We are eager to learn if such a cure as she accomplishes on
Hanold is comprehensible or possible, whether our author has observed
the conditions of the passing of a delusion as correctly as those of its

Without doubt a view will be advanced denying to the case portrayed by
our author such a principal interest, and recognizing no problem
requiring an explanation. For Hanold nothing more remains, it might be
asserted, but to solve his delusion again, after its object, the
supposed Gradiva, conveys to him the incorrectness of all his assertions
and gives him the most natural explanations for everything puzzling; for
example, how she knows his name. Thereby the affair would be settled
logically; as, however, the girl in this case has confessed her love,
for the satisfaction of his feminine readers, our author would surely
allow the otherwise not uninteresting story to end in the usually happy
way, marriage. More consistent, and just as possible, would have been
the different conclusion that the young scholar, after the explanation
of his mistake, should, with polite thanks, take his leave of the young
lady and in that way motivate the rejection of her love so that he might
offer an intense interest to ancient women of bronze or stone, or the
originals of these, if they were attainable, but might have no idea of
how to deal with a girl of flesh and blood of his own time. The
archæological fancy was most arbitrarily cemented into a love-story by
our author, himself.

In discountenancing this conception as impossible, our attention is
first called to the fact that we have to attribute the change beginning
in Norbert Hanold not to the relinquishment of the delusion alone. At
the same time, indeed before the solution of the latter, there is in him
an undeniable awakening of the desire for love, which, of course,
results in his asking for the hand of the girl who has freed him from
delusion. We have already shown under what pretexts and cloakings,
curiosity about her corporeal nature, jealousy, and the brutal male
impulse for possession are expressed in him in the midst of the
delusion, since repressed desire put the first dream into his mind. Let
us add the further testimony that in the evening after the second talk
with Gradiva a living woman for the first time seems congenial to him,
although he still makes the concession to his abhorrence of honeymoon
travellers, by not recognizing the congenial girl as newly married. The
next forenoon, however, chance makes him witness of an exchange of
caresses between the girl and her supposed brother, and he draws back
shyly as if he had disturbed a holy ceremony. Disdain for “Augustus” and
“Gretchen” is forgotten and respect for love is restored to him.

Thus our author has connected the treatment of the delusion and the
breaking forth of the desire for love most closely with one another, and
prepared the outcome in a love-affair as necessary. He knows the nature
of the delusion even better than his critics; he knows that a component
of amorous desire has combined with a component of resistance in the
formation of the delusion, and he has the girl who undertakes the cure
discover in Hanold’s delusion the component referring to her. Only this
insight can make her decide to devote herself to treating him, only the
certainty of knowing herself loved by him can move her to confess to him
her love. The treatment consists in restoring to him, from without, the
repressed memories which he cannot release from within; it would be
ineffective if the therapeutist did not consider the emotions; and the
interpretation of the delusion would not finally be: “See; all that
means only that you love me.”

The procedure which our author has his Zoë follow for the cure of the
delusion of the friend of her youth, shows a considerable resemblance,
no, complete agreement, essentially, with a therapeutic method which Dr.
J. Breuer and the present writer introduced into medicine in 1895, and
to the perfection of which the latter has since devoted himself. This
method of treatment, first called the “cathartic” by Breuer, which the
present writer has preferred to designate as “analytic,” consists in
rather forcibly bringing into the consciousness of the patients who
suffer from disturbances analogous to Hanold’s delusion, the
unconscious, through the repression of which they have become ill, just
as Gradiva does with the repressed memories of their childhood
relations. To be sure, accomplishment of this task is easier for Gradiva
than for the physician; she is, in this connection, in a position which
might be called ideal from many view-points. The physician who does not
fathom his patient in advance, and does not possess within himself, as
conscious memory, what is working in the patient as unconscious, must
call to his aid a complicated technique in order to overcome this
disadvantage. He must learn to gather with absolute certainty, from the
patient’s conscious ideas and statements, the repressed material in him,
to guess the unconscious, when it betrays itself behind the patient’s
conscious expressions and acts. The latter then does something similar
to what Norbert Hanold did at the end of the story, when he
re-translates the name, Gradiva, into _Bertgang_. The disturbance
disappears then by being traced back to its origin; analysis brings cure
at the same time.

The similarity between the procedure of Gradiva and the analytic method
of psychotherapy is, however, not limited to these two points, making
the repressed conscious, and the concurrence of explanation and cure. It
extends itself to what proves the essential of the whole change, the
awakening of the emotions. Every disturbance analogous to Hanold’s
delusion, which in science we usually designate as a psychoneurosis,
has, as a preliminary, the repression of part of the emotional life, to
speak boldly, of the sex-impulse, and at every attempt to introduce the
unconscious and repressed cause of illness into consciousness, the
emotional component necessarily awakens to renewed struggle with the
forces repressing it, to adjust itself for final result, often under
violent manifestations of reaction. In reawakening, in consciousness, of
repressed love, the process of recuperation is accomplished when we sum
up all the various components of sex-impulse as “love,” and this
reawakening is irremissible, for the symptoms on account of which the
treatment was undertaken are nothing but the precipitations of former
struggles of repression and recurrence and can be solved and washed away
only by a new high-tide of these very passions. Every psychoanalytic
treatment is an attempt to free repressed love, which has formed a
miserable compromise-outlet in a symptom. Yes, the conformity with the
therapeutic process pictured by the author in _Gradiva_ reaches its
height when we add that even in analytical psychotherapy the reawakened
passion, whether love or hate, chooses the person of the physician as
its object every time.

Then, of course, appear the differences which make the case of Gradiva
an ideal one such as the technique of physicians cannot attain. Gradiva
can respond to the love which is pushing through from the unconscious
into the conscious; the physician cannot; Gradiva was herself the object
of the former repressed love; her person offers at once a desirable
object to the freed erotic activity. The physician has been a stranger,
and after the cure must try to become a stranger again; often he does
not know how to advise the cured patient to apply in life her regained
capacity for love. To suggest what resources and makeshifts the
physician then employs to approach with more or less success the model
of a love-cure which our author has drawn for us, would carry us too far
away from our present task.

Now, however, the last question which we have already evaded answering
several times. Our views about repression, the formation of delusion and
related disturbances, the formation and interpretation of dreams, the
rôle of erotic life, and the manner of cure for such disturbances are,
of course, not by any means the common property of science, to say
nothing of being the possession of educated people. If the insight which
makes our author able to create his “Fancy” in such a way that we can
analyse it like a real history of disease has for its foundation the
above-mentioned knowledge, we should like to find out the source of it.
One of the circle who, as was explained at the beginning, was interested
in the dreams of _Gradiva_ and their possible interpretation, put the
direct question to Wilhelm Jensen, whether any such similar theories of
science had been known to him. Our author answered, as was to be
expected, in the negative, and rather testily. His imagination had put
into his mind the _Gradiva_ in whom he had his joy; any one whom she did
not please might leave her alone. He did not suspect how much she had
pleased the readers.

It is easily possible that our author’s rejection does not stop at that.
Perhaps he denies knowledge of the rules which we have shown that he
follows, and disavows all the intentions which we recognized in his
production; I do not consider this improbable; then, however, only two
possibilities remain. Either we have presented a true caricature of
interpretation, by transferring to a harmless work of art tendencies of
which its creator had no idea, and have thereby shown again how easy it
is to find what one seeks and what one is engrossed with, a possibility
of which most strange examples are recorded in the history of
literature. Every reader may now decide for himself whether he cares to
accept such an explanation; we, of course, hold fast to the other, still
remaining view. We think that our author needed to know nothing of such
rules and intentions, so that he may disavow them in good faith, and
that we have surely found nothing in his romance which was not contained
in it. We are probably drawing from the same source, working over the
same material, each of us with a different method, and agreement in
results seems to vouch for the fact that both have worked correctly. Our
procedure consists of the conscious observation of abnormal psychic
processes in others, in order to be able to discover and express their
laws. Our author proceeds in another way; he directs his attention to
the unconscious in his own psyche, listens to its possibilities of
development and grants them artistic expression, instead of suppressing
them with conscious critique. Thus he learns from himself what we learn
from others, what laws the activity of this unconscious must follow, but
he does not need to express these laws, need not even recognize them
clearly; they are, as a result of his intelligent patience, contained
incarnate in his creatures. We unfold these laws by analysis of his
fiction as we discover them from cases of real illness, but the
conclusion seems irrefutable, that either both (our author, as well as
the physician) have misunderstood the unconscious in the same way or we
have both understood it correctly. This conclusion is very valuable for
us; for its sake, it was worth while for us to investigate the
representation of the formation and cure of delusion, as well as the
dreams, in Jensen’s _Gradiva_ by the methods of therapeutic

We have reached the end. An observant reader might remind us that, at
the beginning, we had remarked that dreams are wishes represented as
fulfilled and that we still owe the proof of it. Well, we reply, our
arguments might well show how unjustifiable it would be to wish to cover
the explanations which we have to give of the dream with the formula
that the dream is a wish-fulfilment; but the assertion stands, and is
also easy to demonstrate for the dreams in _Gradiva_. The latent
dream-thoughts—we know now what is meant by that—may be of numerous
kinds; in _Gradiva_ they are day-remnants, thoughts which are left over
unheard, and not disposed of by the psychic activity of waking life. In
order that a dream may originate from them the co-operation of
a—generally unconscious—wish is required; this establishes the motive
power for the dream-formation; the day-remnants give the material for
it. In Norbert Hanold’s first dream two wishes concur in producing the
dream, one capable of consciousness, the other, of course, belonging to
the unconscious, and active because of repression. This was the wish,
comprehensible to every archæologist, to have been an eye-witness of
that catastrophe of 79. What sacrifice would be too great, for an
antiquarian, to realize this wish otherwise than through dreams! The
other wish and dream-maker is of an erotic nature: to be present when
the beloved lies down to sleep, to express it crudely. It is the
rejection of this which makes the dream an anxiety-dream. Less striking
are, perhaps, the impelling wishes of the second dream, but if we recall
its interpretation, we shall not hesitate to pronounce it also erotic.
The wish to be captured by the beloved, to yield and surrender to her,
as it may be construed behind the lizard-catching, has really a passive
masochistic character. On the next day the dreamer strikes the beloved,
as if under the sway of the antagonistic, erotic force; but we must stop
or we may forget that Hanold and Gradiva are only creatures of our


  _Printed in Great Britain by_


Footnote 1:

Freud, _Traumdeutung_, 1900 (Leipzig and Wien, 1911), translated by A.
A. Brill, M.D., Ph.B. _Interpretation of Dreams_, George Allen and
Unwin, Ltd., 1913.

Footnote 2:

The case N.H. would have to be designated as hysterical, not paranoiac
delusion. The marks of paranoia are lacking here.

Footnote 3:

See the important work by E. Bleuler, Affektivität, Suggestibilität,
Paranoia, translated by Dr. Charles Ricksher in N. Y. State Hospitals
Bulletin, Feb., 1912, and _Die diagnostischen Assoziationsstudien_ by C.
Jung, both Zürich, 1906.

Footnote 4:

Cf. Freud: _Sammlung der kleiner Schriften zur Neurosenlehre_, 1906.
Translated in part by A. A. Brill, M.D., Ph.B. Nervous and Mental
Diseases Monograph Series No. 4. Selected Papers on Hysteria and other
Psychoneuroses. N. Y., 1912.

Footnote 5:

Cf. _Bruchstück einer Hysterie-Analyse_, 1905.

Footnote 6:

Cf. Breuer u. Freud, _Studien, über Hysterie_, 1905. Leipzig and Wien,
translated by A. A. Brill, M.D., Ph.B. Nervous and Mental Diseases
Monograph Series No. 4. Selected Papers on Hysteria and other

Footnote 7:

_Sante de Sanctis_, I. Sogni. (Original in Italian.) Translated into
German, _Die Träume_, by Mr. Otto Schmidt, 1901, Hallé, a. S.

Footnote 8:

Compare the text of _Gradiva_, p. 21.

Footnote 9:

Cf. _Sammlung kl. Schriften zur Neurosenlehre_, V., and _Traumdeutung_,
p. 344. _Traumdeutung_ translated by A. A. Brill, M.D., Ph.B.,
_Interpretation of Dreams_, George Allen and Unwin, Ltd., 1913 (p. 441).

Footnote 10:

_G._ p. 57: “No—not talked—but I called to you when you lay down to
sleep and stood near you then—your face was as calmly beautiful as if
it were of marble. May I beg you—rest it again on the step in that

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