Research Publication Title

The Medieval Tradition of the Dream Vision Form

Major

English

Faculty Mentor(s)

Craig J. Callender

Abstract

The traditional dream vision, or visio, follows a clear structure in which the narrator falls asleep, dreams, and wakes with a vow to remember the lesson of the dream, thus leading to the poem itself. The form became popular in the 14th century, was used heavily into the 15th century, and remains relevant to the modern concept of dreams within literature. Throughout my presentation I examine the dream vision form as a literary device grounded in a historical basis Ðfrom its origins to its usage during the Middle Ages by Langland and Chaucer. I start my research with particular attention to early texts, including Roman texts such as Scipio's Somnium Scipionis, which began the tradition of the dream vision form. These texts establish the traditional form and purpose of visionary literature. Roman texts such as the Somnium Scipionis lead to the discovery of five prominent types of dreams, which are later used to classify and understand Middle English texts. After establishing the history of the form, I examine Chaucer's use of the form in his earlier poem ÒThe Parliament of Fowls.Ó Chaucer uses the dream vision as a way for his narrator to gain tangible truth not readily available to him during his normal waking state through an allegory in the more imaginative landscape of the dream. Furthermore, I explore how the form of the dream vision has led to the use of dreams in contemporary storytelling to highlight points of the narrative unavailable to the character in reality.

Start Date

10-4-2015 1:15 PM

End Date

10-4-2015 2:15 PM

Location

HSB 202

This document is currently not available here.

Share

Import Event to Google Calendar

COinS
 
Apr 10th, 1:15 PM Apr 10th, 2:15 PM

The Medieval Tradition of the Dream Vision Form

HSB 202

The traditional dream vision, or visio, follows a clear structure in which the narrator falls asleep, dreams, and wakes with a vow to remember the lesson of the dream, thus leading to the poem itself. The form became popular in the 14th century, was used heavily into the 15th century, and remains relevant to the modern concept of dreams within literature. Throughout my presentation I examine the dream vision form as a literary device grounded in a historical basis Ðfrom its origins to its usage during the Middle Ages by Langland and Chaucer. I start my research with particular attention to early texts, including Roman texts such as Scipio's Somnium Scipionis, which began the tradition of the dream vision form. These texts establish the traditional form and purpose of visionary literature. Roman texts such as the Somnium Scipionis lead to the discovery of five prominent types of dreams, which are later used to classify and understand Middle English texts. After establishing the history of the form, I examine Chaucer's use of the form in his earlier poem ÒThe Parliament of Fowls.Ó Chaucer uses the dream vision as a way for his narrator to gain tangible truth not readily available to him during his normal waking state through an allegory in the more imaginative landscape of the dream. Furthermore, I explore how the form of the dream vision has led to the use of dreams in contemporary storytelling to highlight points of the narrative unavailable to the character in reality.