Reading & Composition

Reading & Composition

Dream Visions
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Molly Bronstein
106 Dwinelle

In this course we will examine the development of the “dream vision” across a considerable span of literary history — from ancient Rome to medieval Europe to Victorian England and into the twentieth century — and consider what unites and divides various representations of dreams.  Some purposes underlying dream visions may appear remarkably stable (articulations of desire, encounters with the unknown, etc.), while others may shift considerably; for example, we might compare and contrast the allegorical dream model of the Middle Ages and Lewis Carroll’s more nonsensical dreamscapes.  Because the dream often functions as a sort of creative playground, its literary portrayals are accordingly quite varied, reflecting different authors’ efforts to negotiate and toy with the creative process itself and the limits of language and visual expression.

This is a Reading and Composition course (counting towards the second half of the university’s Reading and Composition requirement), and so there will be a strong emphasis upon literary analysis through close reading.  Given that this is also a Comparative Literature course, we will discuss how to situate texts from different literary traditions in dialogue with each other.  Thesis workshops will help you develop a unique and compelling argument, and peer review workshops will provide you with a critical lens that will help you to reexamine and edit your own work (as well as your peers’).  The final paper will also involve a research component.

Texts (and films) may include:

-Selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses

-Passages from medieval texts (The Romance of the Rose, Dante’s Commedia)

-Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

-Angela Carter, The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman

-Akira Kurosawa, Dreams

Satoshi Kon, Paprika