Dream and Writing (draft)

Dream and writing have often been intertwined. In the middle ages the figure of "the dreamer" appeared in many works (including works by Chaucer. Coleridge tried to bring the supernatural into the natural world (Wordsworth did the opposite). His "In Xanadu did Kubla Khan" poem supposedly came to him in a dream that was interrupted by a commercial traveler from Purlock. Yeats carefully recorded dreams and used them repeatedly in his work. 20th century psychologists developed theories of dream (e.g. Freud's "The Interpretation of Dreams", 1900) which influenced artists. Freud influenced Breton's Surrealism, Jung influenced "Deep Image" poetry.

The usefulness of dream to the writer can take various forms

Winterson has talked of writers being able to "dream with their eyes open", but if, as recently suggested, dreams are the byproduct of the brain's attempt to file the day's memories, or the result of random neuron activity then perhaps writers shouldn't take them too seriously. However, many writers keep a notepad at their bedside just in case.
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Updated April 2000
tpl@eng.cam.ac.uk