Dreams and Dreaming

Ann Marie Plane

in Atlantic History

ISBN: 9780199730414
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:
Dreams and Dreaming

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  • History of the Americas
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Dreams had a central place in the Atlantic World that they lost later in the nineteenth century. Scholars from a variety of fields have struggled to recover period-specific understandings and practices of dreaming in the societies of the Atlantic World. While there is as yet something of a lack of coherence in the historiography of this subject, some notable themes have emerged. These include the relationship of dreaming in the Early Modern period to longstanding practices of the Medieval Church; the impact of the Protestant Reformation on theories and practices related to dreaming; the use of dreams and visions in bolstering political opposition or advocating for the interests of subordinated groups and individuals; and the religious or supernatural role of dreams and visions, including, for example, their role in witchcraft prosecutions or spiritual autobiographies, especially the way their usage reveals the fluid boundaries of the early modern self. Because of the inherently interdisciplinary nature of dream research, scholarship represents a range of approaches from history, anthropology, religious studies, and literature. This bibliography emphasizes work with actual reported dream materials, rather than analyses of obvious literary dreams—purported dreams that are actually fiction—though these have drawn considerable attention in literature. The medieval “dream allegory” which was often used to lend authenticity to otherwise fictional narratives (such as The Romance of the Rose) continued in use through the early modern period as a rhetorical device, as evidenced, for example, in such a central work of Protestant polemic as John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, which is framed entirely as if it were a dream.

Article.  4840 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; European History ; African History ; History ; Regional and National History

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