ENGL 207
Dream-Vision Spring 2015
Division I Writing Skills
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Class Details

As evidenced by the nearly constant production of dream manuals from the Middle Ages through the present day, there is something endlessly fascinating about what we do when we sleep. Moreover, the abiding popularity of the literary dream or visionary narrative attests to a longstanding interest in “dream space” as a territory where desire frees itself from the strictures of rational life. But as the visionary form also insists, dream worlds are not always what they seem. In this course, we will look at the history of Western dream narrative and will study literature at the interstices between fantasy and reality. From the Old English Dream of the Rood to Freud’s pioneering work on dream interpretation to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “dream,” humans have used the figure of the dream to recoup the past as well as plan for the future. In addition to working through a vast history of the dream narrative form (Chaucer’s “Book of the Duchess,” Emilia Lanyer’s “The Authors dream to Ladie Marie,” Samuel Coledridge’s “Kubla Khan,” Wilhelm Jensen’s “Gradiva,” Nathanael West’s “Dream Life of Balso Snell,” Ralph Ellison’s “Did you Ever Dream Lucky?”), we will consider contemporary scientific accounts of the function of dreaming along with recent social uses of dreaming, as shown, for example, in Amira Mittermeier’s Dreams that Matter (2011).
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 4108
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: four to five essays totaling 20 pages
Prerequisites: a 100 level English course, or a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement examination in English Literature or a 6 or 7 on the International Baccalaureate
Enrollment Preferences: sophomores and English Majors who have yet to take a Gateway course
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
Attributes: ENGL 200-level Gateway Courses
ENGL Literary Histories B

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