Dream Cultures

Project Outline

The subject of our research committee is the cultural and literary history of the dream. In case studies of dream-theories, dream-notations and literary dreams from as many cultures, literatures and time-periods as possible we will try to work out common features and cultural specifications of dream-poetics, dream-discourses and historical developments in dream-fiction. Other than most research on the subject done up to now we (a) will not base our studies upon standard dream-theories of the twentieth century (e.g. Freud and Jung) but will try to read literary dreams as part of the cultural dream-work in which many disciplines (e.g. mantics/augury, theology, philosophy, medicine, psychology) and arts collaborate in trying to cope with the »other« of the dream; (b) we will not restrict ourselves to a specific time, area or culture but try to compare cultural dream-work in as many cultures and literatures as possible; (c) though our focus will be on texts (dream-discourses and dream-literature) we will also study dream-art in other media in order to sharpen our knowledge of the specificities of literary representations of dreams.

Our research group is an ICLA Research Committee whose work is annually monitored by the ICLA (International Comparative Literature Association; www.ailc-icla.org). There are only few of these (temporary) research committees which are installed after a detailed application has been assessed and approved by the ICLA Committee on Research. Their work may last up to 6 years (in our case: 2013–2019).

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