This chapter examines the influence of the dream and particularly Freudian dream theory on European avant-garde aesthetic and intellectual culture. In turning to Surrealism and Walter Benjamin it will consider how the idea of the dream provided a space for individual and collective agency that went beyond the clinical apparatus of psychoanalysis. Their work forms part of a broader history of what Elisabeth Roudinesco has defined as the cultural ‘implantation’ of psychoanalysis in France between the wars.1 While the Surrealists’ adherence to psychoanalysis formed part of the ‘lay’ reception of Freud into the ‘literary channels’ of French culture, the Surrealists were unique in terms of having absorbed, although ultimately rejected, the therapeutic cast of psychoanalysis.2 During the First World War André Breton served as a psychiatric intern, initially coming into contact with Freud’s ideas in a clinical setting through Régis and Hesnard’s La Psychanalyse des Névroses et des Psychoses (1914), the first book on psychoanalysis published in France. The book included a précis of Freud’s theory of the unconscious in relation to dream interpretation although by this point Breton had already immersed himself in an eclectic range of psychological material, including the work of Pierre Janet and Frederic Myers, as well as Alfred Maury, Hervey de SaintDenys and Théodore Flournoy.3 This reading list allows us to see how Breton’s fascination with dreams was initially drawn from a wide field of pioneering psychological work from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Although it was Freud that would eventually dominate his investigation of the unconscious and the role of dreams as a source for Surrealism’s aesthetic and cultural programme of renewal, the absorption of an eclectic dream archive facilitated Breton’s transition from a career in medicine to a life dedicated to creative activity. Breton’s experience as a medical intern and his immersion in contemporary dream writing ‘favored both an intimate knowledge of what was therapeutically at stake in Freud’s doctrine and a refusal to see it reduced to curative technique’.4