DreamCultures | Activities
Dream Cultures

Activities

Historizing the Dream / Le rêve du point de vue historique I

Workshop as part of the ICLA Congress (Vienna, July 21–27, 2016)
 
Convenors:
Bernard Dieterle (Université de Haute-Alsace) /
Manfred Engel (Universitaet des Saarlandes)
 

In this workshop we will try to analyze historical differences in the poetics of literary dreams. Our focus will lie on the time between 1500 and the present, but papers on Antiquity or the Middle Ages will also be very welcome. Presentations (20 minutes) should focus on no more than three literary (or non-fictional) dream texts and should compare either (a) dreams from different periods or (b) from the same period (with an attempt to identify general characteristics). Papers can but need not be comparative in themselves. We are hoping for a broad survey of as many periods of literary history and as many different cultures as possible. As always, our approach towards dreams will not be a psychoanalytical one; we are reading dreams within their historical context, i.e. the dream-theories of the author and his age. Congress languages will, as always, be English and French.

Cet atelier sera consacré à l’examen des différences historiques entre différentes poétiques du rêve littéraire. Nous nous intéressons principalement à la période allant de 1500 à nos jours, mais des contributions portant sur l’Antiquité ou le Moyen-Âge sont les bienvenues. Les communications (d’une durée de vingt minutes) doivent se limiter à deux ou trois rêves littéraires et mettre en regard soit des textes de différentes époques, soit d’une seule époque permettant de bien mettre en évidence sa singularité. Les communications ne doivent donc pas obligatoirement être comparatistes en elles-mêmes; nous comptons sur un survol historique et culturel aussi large que possible tout en restant fidèle à notre ligne générale qui consiste à mettre de côté l’approche psychanalytique au profit d’une mise en perspective historique (contextes théoriques, conceptions personnelles). Les communications doivent être présentées en anglais ou en français.

Kongress Wien

Programme

Monday, July 25, Room HS 16

                Part I. Synchronic

09.00       Dorothy Figueira (University of Georgia), The Dream in Sanskrit Poetry

  • Abstract

    In a further development of my inquiry into dream in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy and hagiography (presented in Mulhouse), I now turn my attention to kavya (lyrical poetry) and mahakavya in the form of drama. I will focus on how dreams interact with memory in Sanskrit poetry, particularly in Kalidasa’s Sakuntala and Bhasa’s Dream of Vasavadatta. I hope to examine the dreams described in these two plays in the context of other references to dreams in erotic poetry. Dream, as it relates to memory, is tied to the erotic mood (srngara rasa), since the Sanskrit term for memory (smara) also denotes love (smara).

09.20       Gregor Weber (Universität Augsburg), With or without Interpretation? Dream
                Narratives in Ancient Historiography from Herodotus to Ammianus Marcellinus
  • Abstract

    The paper deals with the rich dream material transmitted through ancient historiography. On the basis of three examples from different time periods – Herodotus’ Histories (5th century BCE), Tacitus’ Histories (1st/2nd century BCE) and Ammianus Marcellinus’ Res Gestae (4th century BCE) – it will be explored what function the dream narratives fulfil in each respective work, in which historic context they are located, and if significant changes can be observed over the centuries. Moreover, it will be asked why several of these dreams were not subject to explicit interpretation and were seen as self-explanatory even though there were many obvious ambiguities. These blanks were presumably filled in by the readers, which was part of the narrative concept.

09.40       Agnes Karpinsky (Universität des Saarlandes), Dreams and Knowledge in Medieval
                Literature
  • Abstract

    The paper will present three dream examples from three medieval literary texts: the Nibelungenlied, Geoffrey Chaucer’s A Nun’s Priest Tale from the Canterbury Tales and Der Nonne von Engeltal Büchlein von der Gnaden Überlast (a story about the monastery foundation of the cloister Engeltal, written around 1350). From each of the three texts, one dream example will serve to discuss various aspects of the prophetic dream and its usage within different literary genres and cultural contexts. A closer look will be taken on the following two aspects. Firstly (and shortly), I will analyze the specific function of the dream description within each text: What kind of knowledge do the dreams transmit to the protagonists? Secondly, the three prophetic dreams will be discussed in the broader framework of contemporary dream concepts: What kind of medieval dream theories can be traced in the dream descriptions? Which ideas on dreams and dreaming are formulated and reflected in the three texts?

10.00       Discussion

10.30       Coffee-break

11.00       Dietrich Scholler (Universität Mainz), De l’intercesseur au centre d’intérêt. Sur
                l’évolution de la place des rêves dans la poésie de la Renaissance italienne
  • Abstract

    Au début du XVIe s. le cardinal et pote Pietro Bembo éleva dans son écrit Prose della volgar lingua le Canzoniere de Pétrarque au rang de modèle de la poésie et de la langue italienne. Il rédigea parallèlement les Rime, un recueil de poésies dans lequel il reprend des éléments du Canzoniere et les renouvelle d’une part en variant les registres, d’autre part en développant des procédés présents chez Pétrarque de manière sous-jacente. Cela est particulièrement visible dans le triptyque onirique de Bembo, lequel constitue – dans le sillage de Pétrarque – une mise en abîme de l’ensemble du recueil libro di poesia. La fonction du rêve y est toutefois modifiée. Celui n’est plus un intercesseur entre l’au-delà et l’ici-bas, mais est érigé en centre d’intérêt sui generis et accueilli comme un ami au sein du poème. On assiste à une relativisation de la portée allégorique du rêve au profit de sa dimension esthétique.

11.20       Andreas Bähr (FU Berlin), Dreams of Siege: Vienna 1683
  • Abstract

    In 1686, Balthasar Kleinschroth, prefect of the singing school in the Cistercian Abbey of the Holy Cross in the Vienna Woods, wrote a diary giving account of his and the choristers’ flight from the “Turks.” One of the refugees was young Anton Liedtmayr, who in the aftermath of the flight fell ill and, in the end, unexpectedly died. In his diary, Kleinschroth tells us about a series of dreams revealing to him that Anton, despite his “sudden death,” had achieved eternal salvation. It was not until Kleinschroth received this divine dream message that for him the 1683 siege of Vienna came to its happy end. My paper analyses Kleinschroth’s dream narratives and their autobiographical functions, relating them to several mid-1680s literary texts which include prophecies of the Ottomans’ defeat and the decline of their Empire in the medium of a dream.

11.40       Manfred Engel (Universität des Saarlandes), Dreams in 19th-Century Realist
                Literature
  • Abstract

    At first glance, Realism may seem to be a period which does not favour literary dreams. The prevailing dream-theory of the second half of the 19th century explains dreams as meaningless reactions to external and bodily stimuli. And the aesthetics of Realism seems to abhor the poetics of deviation on which literary dreams are usually based. But many authors of Realism do indeed use dreams in their narratives and novels. Drawing on examples by Flaubert, Dickens and Dostoyevsky, I will try to show how they functionalize dreams in a new way and by doing so expand current dream-theories.

12.00       Discussion

12.30       Lunch

02.30       Gerald Gillespie (University of Stanford), Oneiric Joyce: Dreaming the Mystery in
                Finnegans Wake
  • Abstract

    Joyce left us with an enormous puzzle when he stipulated that Ulysses was a work about day, although it contains powerful dream-like moments, whereas Finnegans Wake was about the night realm, although it leads straight from dawn and through “all” of evolution and history, and only by virtue of a mystical marriage-death back into dawn, rebirth. While nature is supposedly dreaming God, she also emerges in the larger dream repertory of the novel as something He brings forth both as and in the world process, for example, through the human family. Yet there are internal discussants who appear as minor protagonists and comment on elements of the grand dream in progress; and jocoserious allusions occur both to long past and to unmistakably more recent or current persons and topics. Thus the collection of kinds of dreaming is subsumed in what becomes a synecdochic encyclopedia of allusions, a shadowy reflection of the ”real” world, especially of Ireland. This mélange is somewhat analogous to the interpenetrating collection of languages which combine into a dream-like representative babble. Joyce’s neo-Druidic occulted language, being itself prismatic, resists translation into any single natural language. Yet the Wake begs for interpretation in “normal” expression as if it is a communication from the unconscious. The question arises whether we readers can legitimately separate discoveries made through the revelatory process of dreaming from the shaman-artist’s admitted surrender to the “dark night of the soul.”

02.50       Caroline Frank (Universität des Saarlandes), Dream Elements in Surrealist Movies
  • Abstract

    Surrealist films strive for new cinematic representations of oneiric elements. These elements are sur-real, because they not only emphasize the magical but also the grotesque and taboo-breaking aspects of dreams. Directors like Georges Méliès, Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí, Maja Deren and others did not focus their interests on what metonymically and metaphorically encrypted dreams may mean according to psychoanalysis. Instead, their objective was a cinematic representation of dream images. The paper will compare Buñuel’s and Dalí’s Un Chien Andalou (1929) and Maja Deren’s At Land (1944) – two movies, which are regarded as surrealist by common standards of cinematic history – and analyze spatial and chronological specifications such as distortion and ubiquity as well as cinematographic techniques evoking an impression of phantasmagorical arbitrariness and fragility. Can these specifications help to distinguish truly surrealist movies from those with mere surrealist elements?

03.10       Christiane Solte-Gresser (Universität des Saarlandes), Cauchemars d’après-guerre.
                Écrire l’expérience historique à travers le rêve : Approches d’une poétique onirique
                (1953–1963)
  • Abstract

    Cette proposition se donne pour objectif d’étudier les motifs, les stratégies narratives et la rhétorique du rêve dans des textes littéraires publiés pendant les deux décennies qui suivent la Seconde Guerre mondiale (particulièrement entre 1953 et 1963). En tant que tentative d’écrire l’expérience historique, le rêve – notamment les cauchemars de la guerre et de la Shoah – prend une place importante dans la production littéraire européenne de cette époque. Dans une approche comparée, on analysera les rêves les plus significatifs dans trois œuvres (allemande, française et italienne) et leur fonction par rapport à la ‘réalité’ historique afin de saisir quelques éléments d’une poétique du rêve des années d’après-guerre.

03.30       Discussion


Tuesday, July 26th, Room HS 16

09.00       Julian Lucks (Universität des Saarlandes), The Dream in Contemporary US TV
                Series
  • Abstract

    Using dream sequences from the television serials Twin Peaks (USA 1990/91, David Lynch), The Sopranos (USA 1999–2007, David Chase) and Damages (USA 2007–2012, Todd Kessler), the presentation will focus on three closely intertwined aspects: firstly, how the dreams’ structural organization reflects the narrative complexity of their respective frame stories, secondly, what function they are assigned to regarding the dreaming protagonists’ personal progress and thirdly, that both construction principles rely heavily on the adaptation, metaphorization, ironization and even metaization of the rule-set of dream-work elaborated by Sigmund Freud. Current representations of dreams in television tend to utilize widely known concepts of dream psychology for the sake of plot development and artistic self-reflection, though they will also have to modify them to suit their purposes. I will also ask why in all of my examples the dream is used as a source of revelation within a detective story (or as Agent Cooper puts it in Twin Peaks: „My dream is a code waiting to be broken. Break the code and you solve the crime“), linking back to one of the earliest applications of Freudian dream theory in US cinema: Alfred Hitchcocks Spellbound (1945).

09.20       Tumba Alfred Shango Lokoho (Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3), Le rêve dans la
                littérature africaine francophone contemporaine
  • Abstract

    Le but ici est d’étudier dans la longue durée la présence du rêve, le lien entre les circonstances culturelles, historiques, politiques et leurs répercussions dans l’inscription du rêve dans la littérature africaine francophone contemporaine. Je prendrais pour modèle ou réflecteur le rêve dans l’œuvre d’Ahmadou Kourouma et Koulsy Lamko pour illustrer mon propos. En effet, le rêve littéraire ici surgit souvent dans des conditions de conflit intérieur du personnage avec le monde extérieur, avec l’histoire et avec la culture ambiante. La traversée c’est-à-dire l’exploration critique du rêve littéraire vise pour ainsi dire à mettre en lumière son rôle et sa place dans la constitution anthropologique de la littérature africaine contemporaine, entre autres.

09.40       Marc Maufort (Université Libre de Bruxelles), „The place from where I dance is an
                over place”: Dreamworld Epistemologies in Contemporary Maori Drama
  • Abstract

    The short quotation included in this paper’s title is borrowed from the conclusion of Briar Grace-Smith’s seminal play, Purapurawhetu. Spoken by the spirit of a dead child, this line foregrounds the contiguity between the supernatural and everyday life typical of Maori culture. In Maori epistemologies, such “dream-like” states are the closest equivalents to the literal dreams found in Euro-American surrealist literature. They suggest the continuing presence of Maori mythologies in contemporary life. This paper explores how these liminal states, often characterized by the use of magic realism, are articulated by Maori dramatists at the turn of the twenty-first century. Significant works from the past two decades will be therefore be examined, written by such playwrights as Hone Kouka, Briar Grace-Smith, Albert Belz and Miria George.

10.00       Discussion

10.30       Coffee-break

                Part II : Diachronic

11.00       Heiner Roetz/Marion Eggert (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), Dreaming History in
                East Asia: Notes on the Evolution of Dreams as Counter-Narratives
  • Abstract

    Among the classical dream narratives that shaped Chinese dream discourse of the centuries to come, one of the most influential is a brief passage in the Confucian Analects (Lunyu) which is in fact an indirect dream story: Confucius complains that it has been a long time since he dreamt of the Duke of Zhou, an earlier historical personage of the rank of a cultural hero. Our joint presentation will start by analyzing the implications of this passage both for the tension-filled uses of history in the founding phase of Confucianism and for early Chinese dream psychology. In the second part, we will make use of two full-fledged dream stories from the later Sino-Korean tradition – one of them also concerning a dream about the Duke – to trace the development of this nucleus (non-)story, arguing that it translates into representations of the dream as a pivot between historical memory, critical self-distancing from the present, and visions of (utopian) future.

11.20       Marlen Schneider (Universität des Saarlandes), Accéder au divin. La représentation
                du songe de Jacob entre Baroque et Romantisme
  • Abstract

    Depuis son apparition au quatrième siècle, le thème du songe de Jacob n’a cessé d’inspirer les artistes occidentaux et constitue ainsi une source importante du discours esthétique autour du rêve prémonitoire et son évolution historique. La représentation du patriarche, qui voit apparaître dans son rêve une échelle montant au ciel lui permettant d’apercevoir Dieu, connût des variations formelles et fonctionnelles importantes lors de la diversification du monde de l’art, permettant de retracer les ruptures, les adaptations et les continuités de ce thème ainsi que des idées qu’il véhicule. La vision d’une échelle établissant un lien entre l’être humain et le monde céleste évoque à la fois le statut du rêve comme expérience de transcendance et d’altérité ainsi que sa force créatrice. Néanmoins, les interprétations de cette iconographie entre le XVIIème et le XIXème siècle ne suivirent pas une évolution étroite, voir téléologique, mais témoignent d’une cohabitation de différentes approches du thème. Selon le contexte historique et culturel, mais aussi selon les circonstances de la commande et de la réception des œuvres, ces images pouvaient servir à la contemplation religieuse ou à la légitimation d’un pouvoir terrestre, exprimer les convictions artistiques et spirituelles de leur auteur ou bien remplir une fonction liturgique. Les artistes de l’entourage de Rembrandt, par exemple, révolutionnèrent la représentation du patriarche rêveur, en mettant en avant son contact immédiat avec le divin. Par contre, le songe de Jacob, tel qu’il a été peint en fresque par Tiepolo un siècle après à Udine, s’inscrit toujours dans une tradition plus ancienne, tout en s’adaptant au programme pictural éminemment politique pour lequel l’image fut conçue. Ce sont les artistes romantiques qui renouvelèrent à leur tour l’iconographie du songe en attribuant encore plus d’importance à son potentiel esthétique, sans jamais se détacher du contenu mystique et existentiel qu’elle véhicule.

11.40       Ricarda Schmidt (University of Exeter), Ideal, Conflict, Destruction. Lovers’
                Dreams in the 18th, 19th and 20th century
  • Abstract

    With reference to Wieland's Don Sylvio von Rosalva, Hoffmann's Die Elixiere des Teufels and Bachmann's Malina, I want to examine how the lovers' dreams map their respective historically different relationships to the world, themselves and their beloved, as well as their historically diverse notions of love. While Don Sylvio’s delightful dreams centre on ideals of a beloved inspired by fairy tales, his idealism is ironised by the comic depiction of his transference of the logic of dreams to reality. Nevertheless, the novel conceives the naïve protagonist as capable of rational insight and rewards him finally with the woman of his dreams. I want to show that Wieland depicts the relationship between desire and reason, dream and reality, with more complexity than the Enlightenment’s projected trajectory towards perfection is often credited with: a balance between intellectual clarity and emotional maturity, striving for the ideal and accepting human limitations, of distance and human warmth is the precondition for successfully marrying dream and reality in Don Sylvio. Hoffmann’s Elixiere, by contrast, explores the division within the individual between transcendental ideal and earthly desires and ambition (including the inability to decide which of two goals is the right one, H 2/2, p. 266) as a conflict which results in a zigzag course between crime on the one hand and guilt, remorse and atonement on the other. The confusion between dreams and reality takes on a nightmarish aspect, with dreams functioning as the repressed part of the self, acting out forbidden impulses or guilty memories in the Gothic genre, and sometimes reminiscent of paintings by Hieronymus Bosch. But the dream also has a prophetic function: it prefigures the road to redemption the protagonist still has to find via the death of the beloved. These two functions of the dreams in Elixiere point to the novel's roots in the transcendental idealism of Romanticism, and to its exploration from this base of the power of the unconscious, which was to become so dominant in modernism. In Malina, the dreams in the middle chapter of the novel embody Bachmann’s concept of ‘history within the subject’: intertextual allusions to poetry, novels, music, philosophy, history and psychoanalysis evoke a nightmarish kaleidoscope of the world, seen through the dreams of a fictional female character and focussed apparently on familial love, in particular on the destructive love between father and daughter. Yet the novel’s dreams are situated beyond the personal and autobiographical. They afford insight into both the external ubiquity and the internalisation of destructiveness and result in an ambiguous outcome: the survival of the dreaming subject’s alter ego Malina, but the murder of the female subject challenges the reader to make sense of dreams which map historical forms of violence onto a psychical reality.

12.00       Discussion

12.30       Lunch

02.30       Dorothea Lauterbach (University of Oxford), Dreaming the Revolution
  • Abstract

    In this paper I will analyze and compare the poetics of three revolution-dreams of the 19th and 20th century. The results will be seen in relation to some aspects of dream theories and/or authentic notions of revolution-dreams at the time. I will also investigate in which way the narrative structure of these dreams and some of their details are connected to some of those facts and realities (like the highly symbolic guillotine) of the historic revolution(s) which have shaped our cultural knowledge and understanding of – not only – the French revolution.

02.50       Murat Ates (Universität des Saarlandes), Philosophy in Dreams: Plato and Nietzsche
  • Abstract

    Can dreams have a philosophical meaning? Do philosophical dreams exist? According to the history of mainstream Western philosophy we may have to answer both questions with a “no”. Because dreams are irrational, incoherent, and abstruse, and because philosophy is concerned with the order of a rational reality, the world of philosophy and dreams are diametrically opposed to each other. In this paper, I will try to demonstrate alternatives to such dichotomous and antagonistic assumptions. Using different examples – particularly by Plato and Nietzsche –, I will show how dream-narratives can and do operate in decisive moments of philosophical thought.

03.10       Bernard Dieterle (Université de Haute-Alsace), Le rêve et les paradis artificiels
                depuis le Romantisme
  • Abstract

    Depuis Coleridge et De Quincey, l’exploration des mondes imaginaires, dont le rêve constituait un des paradigmes, a été approfondies par un regain d’intérêt pour des états conçus comme similaires à ceux du rêve et pouvant être induits par la prise de drogues. Le texte canonique en la matière, Les Paradis artificiels de Baudelaire, est une étape importante dans cet examen non seulement des images et des scénarios, mais aussi des processus de l’imagination dans des états para-oniriques. Au 20e siècle, avec Huxley et surtout Henri Michaux, l’intérêt pour des états seconds induits par des adjuvants et qui ont l’avantage d’être dans une certaine mesure observables, a pris une nouvelle tournure, qu’il s’agira de mettre en relief.

03.30       Discussion


Wednesday, July 27, Room HS 16

09.00-10.30      Business meeting of the Committee

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