dream; dream vision; parasomnias; psychosomatics, narrative strategies, Pearl (14th c. poem); psychosomatics; Pearl (14th c. poem)
Peter Lang Verlag
J. Fisiak, M. Bator, M. Sylwanowicz (red.), "Essays and studies in Middle English : 9th International Conference on Middle English, Philological School of Higher Education in Wrocław, 2015" (S. 283- 297). Frankfurt am Main : Peter Lang
To say that dreams and visions were significant in the Middle Ages is an understatement, though laying too much importance on them was, in its time, fraught with the potency of transgression, as the very process of dreaming implied the loss of control over the direction of one’s anima. Likewise, just where and from whom exactly dreams came and what it was that they portended, if at all, were often debatable issues in Christian philosophy. While the Book of Deuteronomy expressly forbade to pay attention to dreams (18:10-11), they were intensely studied and, as dream visions, were a frequent vehicle of medieval poetic narratives. By applying contemporary clinical discoveries and discussions of various types of parasomnias, this paper intends to view medieval dream visions, in particular The Pearl, as exploring the narrative potential of parasomniac experience. The aim here is, therefore, to examine the influence of what tentatively shall be called here “narrative psychosomatics”, that is the influence of the parallels between parasomniac experience associated with sleep disorders and those elements of dream visions’ plots that may bear narrative semblance to them. Two chief questions are to be addressed in the course of this paper: to what an extent contemporary understanding of dream psychosomatics is applicable to a discussion of narrative techniques in medieval dream vision literature; and whether the potentially parasomniac elements of dream vision narratives increase, signify or admonish transgressive elements in dream visions.