Poetics of the Medieval Dream
- Christopher Collins (see profile)
- Late Antiquity, Medieval Studies, Poetics and Poetry, Science Studies and the History of Science
- Civilization, Medieval, Dreams, Psychology and literature, Cognitive psychology, Poetics
- Item Type:
- dream, Medieval culture, Cognitive literary studies
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- The early Church regarded dreams as potential messages from God, private revelations that appear as visions while the soul is undistracted by bodily sensations. Sleep, with its accompanying dreams, was also believed to be the temporary state of the disembodied soul as it awaits the resurrection of its body at the Last Judgment. Not only did religious contemplatives devise methods of inducing these revelatory states, but they also applied the method of biblical exegesis to interpret them. In this paper I examine medieval dream theory in terms of contemporary cognitive neuroscience, then, returning to the Middle Ages, reexamine the theme of the dream-vision as a deeply subjective, imaginative state that in later centuries would inspire a renascence of secular lyric poetry.
- This manuscript, here formatted as a journal article, is taken from a chapter of a work-in-progress projected to become the third in a series of studies on the biological and cultural evolution of poetics. The previous volumes, both published by Columbia University Press, are Paleopoetics The Evolution of the Preliterate Imagination (2013) and Neopoetics: The Evolution of the Literate Imagination (2016).
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- 4 years ago
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